What 2020 Did To Our Opinion On Botox


Do you remember those eight weeks we spent in lockdown last year? Stupid question. Of course you do!

Well, I think those two months afforded us some much-needed clarity on a few things: We’re not as passionate about cooking as we thought we were. Anything can be “dinner” if you put your mind to it. Hillary Barry has the same calming effect as a weighted blanket off Amazon. We don’t need a $50-a-week gym membership to stay healthy but we do need it to retain basic social cues like making eye contact. When faced with that illusive “spare time”, many of us don’t actually want to “read more”. And, following countless hours spent on Zoom with friends and colleagues, a lot of us had no idea what our faces looked like.

Before 2020, never before had we spent so many consecutive minutes staring at our own reflection; watching the way it moved, creased and stretched as we spoke, laughed, and listened. For some, this meant finally deciding to get a fringe, for others it meant a commitment to frowning less, and for more than a few it meant dipping their toes into the world of injectables for the very first time.

You know it as Botox, your doctor knows it as “botulinum toxin”, and global Botox provider Allergan knows it as the clear liquid that brought them in over half a billion dollars in revenue last year. And yet, despite its increasing popularity, the decision “to Botox, or not to Botox”, as New York Times fashion editor Vanessa Friedman put it, remains shrouded in stigma. Despite it’s unfortunate name, botulinum toxin is a naturally-occurring purified protein which was FDA-approved in 2002 for use in cosmetic medicine globally – including New Zealand. You’re probably most familiar with its ability to reduce and prevent fine lines and wrinkles but its uses extend far beyond vanity, having been used for therapeutic issues like excessive sweating, jaw clenching and migraines since 1989.  

New Zealanders have definitely become more open to appearance medicine treatments like injections and filler, as well as being aware of the benefits of doing these as preventative treatments. A highly-respected place like Prescription Skincare or Lovely by Skin Institute combine superior technology with a highly-trained team of registered nurses, all with the affordability and convenience of being located within central Auckland suburbs and even a few shopping malls. And in a lot of ways, I guess it’s not dissimilar to getting a manicure or bikini wax at your local Westfield (actually, most women will attest that Botox is far less painful than a Brazilian) – a client can be in and out of Prescription Skincare or Lovely by Skin Institute on their lunch break if they wanted to.

But, price and comfort aside, these are still medical procedures that come with risks; complications can include a Spock eyebrow or a dropped lid from injecting the wrong muscle, only further emphasizing the importance of working with a clinic or treatment centre you trust.

The other problem is that Botox isn’t well-suited to everyone.

Personally, I like to think of Botox like getting a fringe: lovely on most, transformative on some, barely detectable on a handful, and a downright disaster on an unlucky few. I will never tell you that you shouldn’t want Botox on account of “loving the skin you’re in”, because while that sentiment is well-intentioned, it’s clear to me that there is a huge amount of shame heaped on those who choose to undergo cosmetic surgery, which seems to work in direct contrast with the message being peddled by the same women who claim to be feminists. The idea of shaming a woman for wanting breast implants or Botox is far more anti-feminist than the procedures themselves.

So, maybe I’ll freeze my forehead and you’ll leave yours to your own devices. Maybe I’ll grow out my grey hair when the time comes, and you’ll dye yours within an inch of its life. And we’ll both commit to spending less time on Zoom – for the sake of our sanity.

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