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Melanie Morris: C'mon, Botox deniers -- what's the big deal?

Last week, whilst in the throes of judging the annual IMAGE Beauty Awards, we all got embroiled in a heated discussion about a particular night cream that launched on the market last autumn with a price tag of €490.

After quickly agreeing that it is an excellent product, the conversation moved on to its price tag. Rather than asking how in tune this particular cosmetics company is with the state of the current global economy, one very bright, influential doctor mooted a very simple question. For a similar price, why not just book in for some Botox and/or fillers which will certainly do the job, possibly with longer-lasting effects.

It's a good point. If any woman (or man) is considering shelling out almost €500 on a face cream, it's fair to say they're prepared to invest in their appearance. And yet it seems almost politically incorrect to suggest that they might look to the needle for a solution.

The devil in me would love to bring up this topic of conversation within my social group, because I know that the ones who'd be most shocked or offended by the suggestion would most likely be the ones who won't admit to popping in to their dermatologist for regular syringes full of 'help'.

Frankly, I'm astonished by the amount of women who blatantly attribute their glowing skin and youthful looks simply to a healthy life and whatever they might pick up in Boots. Humph. These are probably the same yummy mummies who keep their immaculate figures 'rushing around after the kids'. Yeah, right.

As a former beauty editor, and self-confessed human pin cushion, I'd like to think I'm pretty savvy to the telltale signs of something more than good genes, sleep, water and moisturiser.

Botox, and the use of it, has come a long way since the early 'frozen face' days, but those little wrinkles around the nose (or 'bunny lines' as they are called in the industry), and 'commas' on the eyebrows unmistakably hint in one direction.

Likewise, you don't have to have a trout pout to show the signs of a little labial filling.

Most noticeably though, all one needs to do to see proof of age intervention among Ireland's social ladies is to compare photographs in the diary pages of recent magazines to those from five years ago. Enough said.

While no woman has to broadcast their beauty regime, I think a vociferous denial of anything injectable is equally annoying. I have at least two friends who confide in me, asking about latest jibs and jabs, but then swear me to secrecy -- mostly so that their husbands don't find out what they're up to.

These men have helped their wives through multiple childbirths, and have witnessed many rough mornings after a big night out. They even buy their ladies expensive creams as pressies. So what's the big deal about a bit of dermatology?

While we'd all love to let ageing take its natural course, how many women don't invest something in fighting it? We shouldn't be ashamed of our desire to take action. No, I'm not advocating everyone goes under the knife, but if a bit of tooth whitening here, or a freezing of a muscle there means we can face the day with our heads held a little higher, what's the biggie?

As someone who's tried everything from laser skin resurfacing to a ridiculously ineffectual procedure that took skin from behind my ear, grew the collagen cells in a lab and injected them back into my face, I don't mind anyone knowing what I've been up to. I think sharing my knowledge with those around me is caring. We all like the inside track and I hope I'll get other great tips in return.