To say I've been tempted to jump on the Botox bandwagon is an understatement. As a beauty writer and New Yorker who's nearing the bitter end of her 20s, it's safe to say that I'm surrounded by the seemingly untapped benefits of the wrinkle reducer.
More than half of my close friends and colleagues have gone under the needle, and most of the trusted skincare experts I interview on a constant basis talk endlessly about the long-term advantages of what's being called "preventative Botox." Basically, the idea is that if you prevent the muscles from moving at a young age, the cells "atrophy," or shrink after years of not being used. Thus, you don't develop those deep lines or wrinkles.
It sounds promising, and I'm definitely not one to turn down the chance to try something — especially if it's at no cost to me (a very lucky perk of working in this industry) — but there's just something about Botox that I'm not ready for. Along with this decision has come a great deal of anxiety. Am I missing out on an opportunity to try something I should be doing anyway? Are the few lines I notice on my face getting worse every second that I pass up the chance to let a doctor inject me with the stuff?
Encouragement from others to give it a try doesn't help. I know their comments are harmless, but when a friend said, "You should get Botox — just a little in your forehead," months before my wedding, how was I supposed to take it? Plus, it got me thinking, if these conversations are happening around women my age or younger, what are women a decade or two older talking about? And what is the next level once we're tired of Botox?
I also found myself constantly thinking about who might have gotten Botox and who was taking the all-natural route instead. Some say you can tell if people have had it done or not — but, truly, I'm no expert in detecting it. Sometimes I find myself looking at a beautiful older woman on the subway and I wonder, "Is her skin so nice because she's been getting Botox for years?" This is probably the most upsetting part for me — instantly assuming that because a woman has good skin, she's probably had work done.
We need to stop thinking that we need Botox or any other physically altering enhancement to be any more beautiful than we are in our natural state. For those who get Botox and like the results, all the power to them. The beauty world is clearly behind those who decide to indulge, and my opinion is that if it makes you feel more confident and happy in your own skin, go for it. I just personally choose to care for my skin in different ways (at least for now), mainly through the use of quality products, regular facials, and chugging down several glasses of wine — I mean water! — daily. And I'm far from alone.
I asked women of all ages — from their early 20s to their late 80s — who have never had Botox why they've avoided injections and what tricks of the skin trade they're using to care for their skin.