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How Much Botox Will You Need?

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.

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  1. Love this piece, Brenda. I feel exactly the same way. When researching poisons for a writing project, the information on Botox’s source gave me the chills. I know it works beautifully for half the women I know but it’s not for me either. Xo

      • There are dermatologist who have a “light touch” with the Botox needle. On the flip side, we’ve all seen celebrities who have the resources to find and go to the best, who look awful. While looks are important, knowing how sensitive I am to medication is what scares me most. Great to see you here, Hilda! Brenda

    • Jen, A friend of mine left a comment on Instagram that if Botox was harmful, she’d be dead by now. So far, she’s one of the lucky ones, but her story isn’t over, so we can’t say that definitively. xoxo, Brenda

  2. Amen! I don’t think there is enough info on the long term effects of Botox and people in their 20’s are using it! I’ll take my lines and wrinkles too – they tell my story!

  3. What a great piece. I too have toyed with the thought of Botox but you have confirmed my hesitation. I am embracing the wrinkle, the sag, and the gray I wear with pride as I have laughed and cried my way to each. Don’t want to erase my patina of a life well-lived. xx-hb

    • A fellow patina girlfriend!! Yes! We’ve earned it. Wouldn’t it be tragic if trying to deny our wrinkles did something more harmful than how we got them in the first place? Thank you, Holly! xoxox

  4. When I first started reading this and looking at the image I thought this was the answer to all of my bird problems (crows feet, chicken neck). I had to get dentures a few years ago and since I’m home ALL OF THE TIME I seldom wear them since I hate them so much anyway. They are delegated to leaving the house or company only. Since I don’t wear them a lot I have been noticing the new lines around my mouth popping up on a daily basis. Then I read the rest of the post and remembered why I’ve never tried it. Something about injecting myself with neurotoxins doesn’t seem like a well thought out idea. Lines or death…I choose lines too!

    • I know a lot of women who get Botox and look great. Then there are the women who are walking Botox billboards… When first thinking about Botox, that was the look I feared, but you’re so right… What if it boils down to lines or death? Thanks, Rena.

  5. I completely agree! After a botched ‘tummy tuck’ I will never let a plastic surgeon or anyone touch my face! We have a weather person here who’s probably early 40’s and you can always tell when she’s had her latest injections. Her face looks plastic. Mind you, she’s a beautiful woman who does not need this. But, in the industry she’s in it’s a lot different for women and, it’s going to get tougher over the next few years until sanity returns to our country.

  6. What an interesting article. I was thinking of getting the smile lift but have been hesitant because of some side effects. Apparently, there is more to the Botox story that is seldom talked about. Unfortunately, we live in a country where youth is idolized. In France or Italy, a beautiful older women is appreciated for a live well lived.

    • Until recently I thought it took courage to age naturally. Now, after reading a lot about Botox, I think it takes courage to load your system up with something that may turn on you. Thanks, Joanna!

  7. Tough choice. We are in the workforce longer than previous generations and have to keep up our perky, youthful appearances. But neurotoxins creep me out and needles scare me, so I haven’t done Botox. Yet. I can’t say for certain whether or not I will have to try so I can’t judge other women for their decisions.

  8. I’m with you! Wrinkles, here I come! Having looked death in the face with cancer, why on earth would I want to do something that could cause serious health issues unexpectedly? And simply for vanity? I’ll pass! Thanks for posting this!

    • I imagine many of our wrinkles and droops here and there were caused by cancer, cancer treatment and being scared, plus we each have our own personal things that have contributed to it. You’ve put the whole issue in perfect perspective, Beckye! Big thanks! xoxox

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