I leapt at any chance to keep my youthful looks but my latest obsession had a price…
By Aimi Veness, 40, from St. Leonard’s-on-Sea
Smoothing my expensive moisturiser into my skin, I ran my fingers over the corners of my eyes.
I was looking for the smallest sign of a wrinkle. It had become part of my daily routine.
I’ve been obsessed with keeping my youthful looks since my 20s, long before I had anything to worry about.
At 26 I started having regular botox jabs, just to keep the ageing at bay.
Then I had breast implants too, to keep my chest looking perky.
Even back then I was insecure. Women do get judged on their looks, and I wanted to make sure I was judged positively.
I was working as a dancer and every inch of my appearance was up for scrutiny. So since my 20s, I’d never looked back.
I was a sucker for the latest lotions and potions. I figured everything was worth a try! Honestly, I was a beautician’s dream client.
But last August, with my 40th birthday on the horizon, my paranoia reached new levels.
“Don’t be silly, you look beautiful,” my husband of four years, Marc, 40, said, catching me sneaking a peek at my face in my hand mirror.
“You won’t be saying that when I look haggard,” I replied, only half joking.
I wanted to be a sexy wife!
Plus my best friend is only 30. We loved socialising in upmarket bars and clubs and I didn’t want to look like her mother.
The thought of turning 40 really touched a nerve with me. Then, one evening Marc came home from the gym.
“There’s this new thing all the guys are trying,” he told me as we tucked into our dinner at home in St Leonards-on-Sea. “They’ve bought some injections and they’re supposed to make you bulkier.”
“Oh yeah?” I asked, my interest peaked by the latest thing on the vanity market.
“They’ve said it’s good for the skin too. Rejuvenates the cells or something…” Marc explained.
Now this sounded like it was right up my street! “I need you to get me some, I want to try this,” I begged Marc.
So, after dinner I got straight onto the internet to find out more. Growth hormone injections, I typed in.
As the results sprang up on my laptop screen, I grinned. They’d been dubbed the ‘fountain of youth’ and celebrities in America loved the jabs.
I read that Demi Moore was supposedly a fan, and Madonna apparently swore by them.
“Well if it’s good enough for them…” I thought.
It’s hard not to feel the pressure when you see beautiful famous women going to any lengths to maintain their looks.
But when I carried on my research my heart sank. The injections weren’t quite the miracle wrinkle cure I’d hoped for.
They were potent… but they had side effects too. The drugs had been said to cause diabetes, joint pain, and they’d even been linked to cancer.
Plus, in the UK they’re only sold on the black market so you can never be sure what you’re buying.
It was enough to make me stop and think. I was torn. But, talking things through with Marc, I managed to rationalise the risks.
“Everything gives you cancer these days. Plus I’ve used sunbeds all my life, and that hasn’t killed me,” I said.
“Well I suppose if everyone else is trying them they can’t be that bad,” Marc replied, wavering.
“I don’t smoke or take other risks. I want you to get me some jabs,” I pleaded.
So, a few days later Marc came home from the gym with a little box of vials and powder.
I sent him down to the local drugs clinic to get the sterile needles too.
Then, later that evening, I carefully mixed the powder with the sterile water, and flinched with pain as I pushed the needle against my tummy.
I had done my research, and 2IU (international units) was apparently the recommended daily dose.
Some of the bodybuilders were taking up to 10IU, but I didn’t want to turn into the Hulk.
Marc even tried a jab too, swayed by my insistence that they’d be safe.
The next morning I was back in front of the mirror, closely inspecting my face for the slightest change.
To be honest, there wasn’t much to see. Miracles don’t happen overnight though, so I stuck to my daily routine.
I’d get up in the morning, brush my teeth, inject the growth hormones, and then set about beautifying myself for the day ahead.
Within a couple of weeks I was truly converted. My skin felt plumper and softer, and I’d even lost around a stone.
The hormones fire up your metabolism too so my stomach was the flattest and most toned it had been since I was a teen.
The only downside was that the jabs were bruising my stomach, so I swapped to injecting in the fleshiest part of my bum.
“Doesn’t that feel fantastic?” I asked Marc, pulling his hand up to stroke my face.
“To be honest, I can’t tell the difference,” he admitted. He’d long since given up the jabs himself too, not convinced that they worked.
I was hooked though.
When I treated myself to a nose job for my birthday in November, I had to stop the injections for a few weeks.
I couldn’t wait to start the treatment again though.
I’ve now turned 40, and I know I look great for my age. I’m spending up to £200 each month on my supplies but it’s well worth it.
I know the growth hormones might not be safe, but I won’t give them up. Marc thinks I’m crazy, and my mum is worried too.
But as far as I’m concerned, when your time is up it’s up. Plus, at least I’ll look good in my coffin!
I would be absolutely devastated if I got cancer, and only had myself to blame. But I just keep telling myself that it won’t happen to me.
I’d rather risk cancer and look fab at 40.