This video on CNN makes me sad. According to CNN, 12,000 Botox procedures were performed on teenagers last year, up 2% from the year before. I would like to know who these teenagers’ parents are! Are they aware of the many unnecessary dangers they are exposing their kids to? In fact, in 2009 the FDA ordered Botox to carry the black box label, as the New York times reported:
“The F.D.A. said such drugs must carry warning labels explaining that the material has the potential to spread from the injection site to distant parts of the body — with the risk of serious difficulties, like problems with swallowing or breathing.
Requiring a drug to carry a box with bold-face risk information — a so-called black-box warning — is one of the strongest safety actions the F.D.A. can take. Black boxes are typically reserved for medications known to have serious or life-threatening risks. Antidepressants, for example, carry black boxes warning of the increased danger of suicidal thoughts and actions.”
I can’t see any doctor promoting this with a straight face. Actually I can. Dr. Bill Johnson in the CNN video does a pretty good job of convincing us that Botox injections are a formidable anti-aging procedure for teenagers. There are already so many dangers that we expose ourselves to on a daily basis, so is this really necessary? Although Botox is not permanent like plastic surgery, I can imagine it becoming an addiction of sorts, where a person finds other flaws and continues to want more work done.
The underlying issues involved here are clearly psychological and involve self-esteem. Case in point: 19 year-old Marlene, who got Botox around her right eye in the CNN video. The reporter asked “you put a lot of pressure on yourself to be perfect and beautiful?” “Quite a bit,” responded Marlene. oh man, that broke my heart. In some ways, I do blame the parents (who are clearly paying for this and therefore endorsing this kind of thinking). But I also think some of the psychological issues stem from the culture we live in today. Duh.
Sadly, I can understand where Marlene is coming from. The focus on celebrities and appearance has increased dramatically from even fiver years ago! Five years ago I was in college, pretty oblivious to frown lines, crows feet etc. Now I have become acutely aware of all of that. Not because they appear on my face (I am 25), but because of the focus anti-aging plays in the media these days. Seriously, I wish I could get all of those Hollywood celebrities to shut up and those stupid hosts on the celebrity news shows who fawn over these celebrities to shut up too for promoting that crap. And all of those anti-aging products that DO NOT work…go away… I am sick of seeing ads with airbrushed models everywhere!
All of it has made me a little anxious too. So anxious that I too have asked my doctor friends what they would recommend to prevent aging, except of course Botox or plastic surgery. And they all say the same things: eat a healthy and balanced diet, drink water, exercise, avoid stress, get enough sleep, don’t smoke and use sunscreen. One of my dermatologist friends told me that retinol (a derivative of vitamin A) is one of the few anti-aging ingredients that has proven to be effective, but that at my age, all I really need is a good moisturizer. In the end, I wish I never even felt the need to inquire with my friends. The advice they gave me should be mantras on how to live an overall healthy life. And really, that is the most important thing!