Everytime I consider having some “work done,” I learn something that makes me pause. Last month Anna, my aesthetician, gave me a facial. We’ve been friends for 20 years. I love visiting Anna because she’s a voracious reader and researches organic versus non organic foods, vitamins and skin care. She’s a walking encyclopedia concerning anything you put on the skin and into the body.
As I’m going on about how with each passing day I look more like my mother, and I’m thinking about Botox, Anna stops working on my face and says, “Uh huh… “ Not the kind of “Uh huh” that reconfirms she’s listening, but the kind of “Uh huh” Sherlock Holmes might have uttered as he processed a new clue. I love it when she does that, because I know she’s about to give me a kernel of well-researched information.
“Like everything else we put on our skin, did you know Botox is processed by our liver?” Anna makes it sound like more of a statement than a question.
Anna treats males and females, teenagers and old people—and while she never reveals a name, she sometimes passes along their cautionary tales. She tells me enough that I can’t ignore a possible… probable… correlation between cosmetic Botox injections and serious health problems.
The first thing I did when I got home was research health problems related to Botox. There’s a lot of negative information online, including a Botox Support Community for people who’ve experienced serious side effects following Botox injections for crows feet, chicken neck, even bladder problems. Some problems manifest themselves immediately, while others are cumulative. The long-term effects are still unknown… Scary.
In an attempt to gain more information, I called three dermatologists in my area—one was “my” dermatologist. All three gave me the party line: Botox injections are relatively safe when performed by an experienced doctor, and you may experience a few nominal side effects.
When I pushed further about a correlation between Botox and everything from prolonged, debilitating muscle weakness to severe immune disorders and death, all three declined to comment. Since Botox has probably paid for more Colorado ski condominiums than Retinol, I understand why these dermatologists shied away from answering my questions.
Whether it’s purchasing a washing machine or getting Botox, we must always be vigilant, informed consumers. Don’t let the “everyone’s doing it” Botox parties keep you from doing your homework. After all, we’re talking about being injected with one of the most lethal neurotoxins known to man.
Since birth, I’ve been an extreme real life “Princess and the Pea,” reacting badly to 80 percent of everything from anesthesia and prescription drugs to caffeine. If you knew my medical history, you’d understand why I’m going to pass on Botox and let my jowls droop and my frown lines deepen until I look like a piece of dried mystery fruit. I’d rather look my age than have my health deteriorate due to vanity.