When lawyer Angela turned 45, she felt something unsettling creep in: She’s... 45.
“Society is obsessed with youth. In my opinion, youth is equated with beauty,” she said, “and I’m not going to lie, I miss the younger-looking face I had when I was 25, 30. I’m not one typically to be self-conscious, because if something bothers me about myself, I fix it. [If] I don’t like my hair, I fix it. But age is different. It is very difficult for me to acknowledge.”
Shortly after her 45th birthday, Angela began to consider an array of cosmetic surgery procedures, such as an eyelid and brow lift. After much thought, she eventually opted away from going under the knife and decided for a less invasive procedure.
She went for Botox.
The prescription drug, known as onabotulinumtoxinA in medical-speak, is injected into facial muscles to temporarily reduce the appearance of lines.
As the Botox Cosmetic website details, the medicine works by blocking nerve impulses, reducing the muscle activity responsible for causing creases between the brows or other areas of the face.
On average, Botox treatments hover around several hundred dollars, depending on the desired results. The procedure -- the effects of which last three to four months -- is performed via injection with a tiny needle.
“[The] standard number of injection sites vary with the number of areas being treated, but five for the frown lines -- between the brows -- [and] five to eight for the forehead and three to four around each eye for crow's feet is typical,” said Radha Mikkilineni, MD, medical director of University Dermatology Associates, PLLC.
Though the sensation may be paired with mild stinging or burning, Dr. Mikkilineni describes that the process more or less feels like a pinprick and is generally very well-tolerated. Patients, however, can request a numbing cream be applied beforehand, and icepacks are effective in reducing any swelling.
Botox can be used by women and men between the ages of 18 to 65. The product can also be used as a preventative measure against aging, even for those still in their teens.
Despite Angela’s enthusiasm about Botox, her best friend Shawna finds the procedure and other age-preventative products absurd. At 48, Shawna doesn’t get what all of the wrinkly-fuss is about.
“What’s the problem with a wrinkle or two?” Shawna asked. “Why are products and drugs like these being mass-marketed to our youth? Do you think it’ll get to the point when high schoolers aren’t talking about the latest tube of lip gloss while lined up at their lockers in the morning, [but instead] that they’ll be talking about the latest cosmetic procedure? What about the side effects?”
As with most drugs, there are risks to note beforehand. According to Botox's website, serious life-threatening side effects can occur, like difficulties swallowing, speaking or breathing. Loss of strength, loss of bladder control, dysarthria and blurred vision are additionally among the adverse effects.
Regardless of any of the potential risks, though, Angela is happy she paid the money and went through with the procedure.
“For the price of an outfit, I spent my money differently, and I tell you -- I feel better about myself right now than I would, had I have purchased something that would have gotten tossed in the back of my closet,” she said.
Shawna, disagreeing, insists on having the last word on the matter. “Embrace aging,” Shawna said to Angela. “The process of life is beautiful.”