What Is It About Botoxed Faces?

I first really started to notice botox faces in non-celebrities when I was at a weekend workshop in 2009. A woman who was also attending struck up a conversation in my group during a break. I was fascinated that her face was almost immobile, apart from her lips which were very plump and seemed to be the only part of her face that could move. I do work hard at not judging other people’s choices, and was really challenged to not stare at her face, trying to find a sign of life. To be fair, it was the first time I’d really noticed up close that ultra-smooth completely still effect.

I’ve been noticing it more and more since then – even on the few old-favourite TV shows I watch, like The Bill, it seems 90% of the older cast have those frozen faces.

And that, it occurred to me this morning, is what I find most uncomfortable about the whole botox movement. Aside from the dangers – yes statistically few, but I’d not want one of my good girlfriends being one of the 28 people who died in 2008 from botox side effects.

Let’s not forget this stuff is a highly dangerous toxin, and choosing to add a poison to your body really makes me wonder about how well a person regards themselves. I know the argument is ” it makes me look younger”, but is that a good reason to poison your body? What are the long term side effects? No one knows, because the stuff hasn’t been used in this way long term – how will your paralysed muscles be performing in 10 years, 15 years? Think it’s not likely you’ll still be using it in 15 years? Think again: I read in the Courier Mail last week about a 21 year old woman using botox, to prevent wrinkles!

What the?

And clearly there’s a bit of concern about the side effects of botox, if this Google screen capture is anything to go by – I captured it today.

But back to the original point of this post – the look of botoxed faces.  It seems most people get botox injections around their eyes to smooth out the crow’s feet; foreheads to iron out the frown lines, and around their mouths to erase the smile lines.

End result: perfectly smooth face. Perfectly expressionless face.

Now most people aren’t aware that studies say more than 70% of our communication happens non-verbally (some researchers say even more!). So most people might not KNOW that they’re picking up non-verbal signals, but they are picking them up, interpreting them, responding to them, and giving back a bunch of their own. It’s how we’re wired, we just do it, it’s an important way of connecting with one another.

And for me, it explains why I feel so uneasy around all these expressionless faces that are popping up everywhere – it’s like they’re wearing a mask, and what’s really going on – is hidden. Apart from the fact that I feel like I’m talking to a plastic doll, I know that I definitely feel like I don’t actually know how to respond, it’s disconcerting! What does this mask do to our communication with one another, how does it undermine understanding, which is already difficult enough!

But then I think a person is worth so much more than simply the way they look. That’s not to say it’s okay to be a slob, though if that’s what you want, then no one has the right to tell you otherwise. Eating foods that nourish your body, using products that don’t poison the environment, moving your body regularly and enjoying time in the sun and fresh air, and living with an open heart are the keys to good health and long life, in my opinion.

Choosing to inject toxins into your body – how does that fit in to being comfortable with who you are and how your body looks? Does it say that you care about how you look? Does it say more that you care about what others think about how you look? What do you think it’s doing to your health? I’m really curious to know, because this is such a foreign idea to me that I can’t imagine the circumstances under which I’d make that choice.

What do you think? (You can comment below)

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5 Comments

  1. anistin@botoxinfo on June 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Botox injections are commonly performed and generally safe. Just like any other medical procedure, Botox is not without its share of side effects. The side effects are not life-threatening but they can affect your quality of life. If Botox side effects occur, they’re usually temporary starting within the first days of injection, but may persist for several months.

    Jennifer Anistin
    For more information please contact me 🙂

    • Sandy on June 5, 2010 at 9:30 pm

      Hi Anistin. I get that botox is regarded as safe. My big issue, other than the fact that it immediately causes these expressionless faces that, in my opinion, put a mask in between a person and the world which wishes to communicate with them, is this:

      I can’t get away from the fact that when someone stops using a muscle, it atrophies. That is, it shrinks and dies. I am minded of a colleague at the centre where I work, she is anextremely fit and strong exercise physiologist who owns the gym in the centre. She recently broke a leg and it is in plaster for three months. She is keeping us all updated on the wasting of the muscles in that leg because she cannot use them. After just seven weeks her thigh muscles are visibly smaller, and she is actually able to move her thigh a little, which she does, carefully, working with another therapist every day.

      In that context, what happens to the muscles in the face when they are paralysed by botox for months if not years on end? The muscles in our faces give our faces shape and contour. Over time they must surely shrink from being unable to move, leaving loose skin. And then we can helpfully slice open our bodies to have that loose skin removed, where all we needed to do in the first place was keep the muscles active. There are many exercise programs that specifically target face muscles and they claim to significantly reduce wrinkles over a few months, and that reduction is permanent, as is the improvement in the muscle tone, bringing a vibrant health to the skin.

      But of course that’s a long term life-supporting measure, unlike botox which is a quick fix, and bugger the long-term problems (including death). And thank you also for pointing out that botox is a MEDICAL PROCEDURE, not the same as putting on foundation or moisturiser.

      But thanks for sharing your point of view.

  2. britt1 on October 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Some people look strange who have had this procedure.

    • Sandy on October 5, 2010 at 4:17 am

      Yuh, the more they have it, the stranger they look… the stories emerging from over a decade of it now are real horror stories too! Muscles that have completely died, and surgeons stretching now-limp skin over just bone…. yeh people, that’s what happens to muscles that don’t get used, they die…. awful though 🙁

      • Britt on October 24, 2010 at 10:43 pm

        It seems that people want to go to great lengths to look young. Young is good old is bad in our culture. I know there are legitimate uses for botox, but I don`t consider this one of them.

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