Plastic Surgery Nation


We are a nation obsessed with stalling the aging process, turning back the hands of time, finding the fountain of youth, or whatever other euphemism you can think of for not growing old. It’s not that we’re totally shallow, superficial wretches either. We want to find ways to feel better longer, to be able to still do the things that we enjoy, to live a fuller, more prosperous and fulfilling and serving life to others.

However, the bulk of the attention always seems to go to the cosmetic aspect of staying young for longer. What this means is we are preoccupied with finding out ways to turn back the hands of time as they apply to those things we call wrinkles on our faces and other parts of our body that are a dead giveaway of our time here on earth, or somewhere thereabouts, depending on how “hard” a life we’ve lived.

This brings to my mind one word. Character. One thing that bothers me about our obsession with keeping our faces looking smooth and wrinkle free is that we’ve sort of stripped away this thing called character.

And if we were all to go under the knife and get facelifts or get Botox injections to keep our faces literally frozen in time, would we not be taking away the very thing that makes us unique individuals, with our faces telling a different story about our trials and tribulations, our emotions, and our life’s achievements?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m what you call a compulsive maintenance freak with my skin. I’m 34 years old, and I have at least ten anti aging products and skin care treatments that I’m religious about using.

This isn’t as much about not showing my age as it is just having nice, luminous skin that I feel more accurately reflects me as a person, and I’ve always just believed that great skin is an indication of good health. However, since I’ve started to see the signs of crow’s feet and fine lines around my eyes, I must admit that getting those little pin pricks here and there has become somewhat of a temptation.

The thought of Botox injections becomes especially tempting to me when I’ve had a long night out amongst close friends, laughing all night, expressing my joy and joviality. What always comes with a long night of laughing – for me at least – is much more pronounce lines around my eyes.

I tend to express myself with my eyes quite a bit and I squint a lot when I’m laughing, so when I come home from a night of tons of laughing, although I’m more than grateful for the great time, my lines around the eyes are much more noticeable.

We are our own worst critics, and I could just picture my mom (as well as some of my friends) saying “oh now what are you supposed to do, not smile and laugh and have a good time!? I’m not complaining, or even inferring that I’d be willing to give up my life’s enjoyment to simply have less wrinkles.

I’m merely being honest about an observation I’ve made and the subsequent understanding of why so many women my age choose to start getting Botox injections. It’s a great way to prevent wrinkles from happening in the first place, and from making them literally not be able to appear in those areas that they tend to pop up when your face is contorted a certain way.

After all, wrinkles are by their very nature, created by expression. If you had no expressions ever during your lifetime, you would have a virtually line free face. However, you would have also most likely not had very much fun or joy in your life, which is not a fair trade by any stretch of the imagination.

Botox has done for women and men what other invasive procedures could not do, and that is to give a natural, more well rested, less lined look to the face while also providing preventive maintenance against further lines. Some people still are under the impression that Botox will make them look “frozen”, and I can definitely cite a few entertainment personalities who have only furthered that perception by going way far off the deep end with Botox injections.

However, there are plenty of doctors out there that are well versed in natural looking techniques where the muscles that create expression are barely relaxed rather than totally paralyzed, which makes for a natural look instead of the appearance of an area of the face being “frozen”. The key to getting the natural look is to have your doctor use less of the toxin, and to get it to the right depth in the muscles that create expression.

Now, onto the real problem I still have with Botox, even with all the temptations I’ve admitted to. I still am uncomfortable with the idea of injecting something into my face that could potentially paralyze local areas around the injection site. I mean, let’s face it, botulism is not something we would have voluntarily injected into our bodies just ten years ago, and now we act like it’s nothing. I’d like to wait longer and see what the long term effects of Botox may be.

While there have been no adverse long term effects reported that have raised significant alarm, and the side effects reported now are admittedly very rare rendering the product extremely safe for use, I’d be more comfortable as time passes so we could get a real idea on whether this could be doing any unforeseen damage .

After all, since you have to get these injections about every 3-4 months, you are essentially periodically adding more and more to your body. Does it travel to the brain or other vital organs and store itself there? These are questions that we don’t have any definitive answers to yet, and I’d feel more comfortable in the future when we do have more definitive answers.

Until then, I think I’ll let the new Botox nation of followers leave me behind. Of course, ask me that in five more years when those crow’s feet have edged even further down my face!