Botox, Side Effects in Young Women

Botox , or Botulinum treatments are being used at an increasingly alarming rate, especially by young women in a quest to achieve facial perfection. Recently I viewed a news broadcast featuring the story of a mother who injects her 8 year old daughter with Botox treatments before beauty pageants. The young girl stated in the interview that she saw results after the injections, and that her face appeared “better than before” because her wrinkles were diminished, though the injections were painful. There are even pictures circulating on-line showing this young girl with ice on her face to alleviate her swelling. Wrinkles?! On an 8 year old girl?! I frankly doubt it. I can’t even begin to fathom why such a young girl would even think she had wrinkles to begin with!

The broadcast prompted me to further investigate not only the validity of Botox use in the young, but also the potential side effects to a young woman’s health and self-esteem. Granted, society urges the use of many cosmetics as women are inundated with advertisements of fashion trends all poised to strike straight to the heart of a young woman’s self worth. That being said, there is a certain distinction between having a healthy sense pride in yourself and your appearance, and resorting to methods that may be unsafe to achieve a perceived perfection.

After I watched the news broadcast about the 8 year old beauty pageant contestant, I had to ask myself whether Botox was safe at all. I did some research on its potentially harmful side effects. Below is a sampling of my findings.

2 Articles I found during my research containing information on Botox side effects-

1.I stumbled upon a Newsweek article about recent research on the side effects of Botox . The article was highly interesting and focused on Botox tests and safety in its cosmetic use. It acknowledged that rigorous preclinical tests were performed on laboratory animals prior to those performed on humans, but also pointed out that Botulinum is one of the deadliest toxins in nature. Due to the dilute doses used, Botulinum was transformed in 1989 to the substance now known as Botox . The article did cite that Botox labels carry information regarding possible side effects of treatment. As with any medication, Botox does not always act as we initially thought. Of course that fact can apply to the use of any medication or medical procedure if administered incorrectly, however, Botox was originally thought not to enter the brain. Now, newer research suggests that the toxin may travel from neurons located at the injection site to the brain in lab animals. The article does provide references and a spokesperson, Cathy Taylor, was quoted as saying that “This study is not conclusive”, which I assume means additional research is needed, or there is information that simply cannot be disclosed?

After reading the Newsweek article about this new research on Botox , I certainly could not justify its use in a young woman. Like taking medication for a cold you don’t have! Of course I personally can’t see any reason why a child or young woman should use this procedure simply for cosmetic purposes at all. I can’t imagine the latent effects on a young woman’s self-esteem or self worth, let alone the long term effects on her physical health. Several questions come to mind: Is the perception of a perfect face worth the health risks involved? Do we really know how toxic Botox is with long term use? What makes a young woman believe she needs Botox to achieve facial perfection? Why would a young woman or child ever believe she had wrinkles or imperfections at all, especially ones that require the administration of painful injections that can cause bruising? Shouldn’t we be teaching our young women the importance of increasing their skills and talents, that looks do fade and that there is more to life than just having a beautiful face? In previous centuries such as the 17 th and 18 th centuries, even into the 19 th century, morality and inner beauty was was a major focus for women. Not that women of those times didn’t partake of the fashions of the day, but, a virtuous character was the embodiment of a woman’s beauty.

2. Upon further investigation I also found a Wikipedia article, though I understand nearly anyone can provide information to this site, that details Botox’s helpful uses and also its possible harmful side effects. The article begins by stating that Botulinum Toxin is produced by a bacterium, Clostridium Botulinum and is highly neurotoxic . This certainly leaves me with the impression that this is an extremely toxic substance that effects the human brain. The article includes details of Botox’s being successfully used to treat a number of diseases and disorders that are not merely cosmetic. The article also talks about proper dosages and provides information as to when Botox overload may be lethal. Of course, for cosmetic purposes the dosage should remain fairly small as to simply result in decreased muscle activity and to paralyze facial muscles in order to diminish wrinkles. I don’t know about you, but I just can’t help but picture the ” Stepford Wives” when reading about the neurotoxic side effects of this product.

Further investigation about Botox and links to self esteem.

Numerous web sites such as upi .com suggest that the use of Botox may boost ones self-esteem. They argue that self esteem is generally higher as a result of a more beautiful appearance. On the surface this makes sense, of course we all feel good when we look our best. I personally feel great when I’m well dressed, clean and put together, but this is not the center of my self worth. I do have a sense of self-pride, but it is an inner sense that projects itself outward. I still have to beg the question why a young woman or child, especially one who has not yet developed any wrinkles or medical conditions, would feel she needs Botox in order to feel good about herself? Though it is rare for death to be listed as a side effect of Botox , it has been documented. Most side effects are nothing close to life threatening, but can cause bruising, swelling and muscle weakness. Would most women prefer a perceive wrinkly, or a bruised face? Most side effects range from headache, to droopy eyelids and nausea. I strongly feel that the use of Botox in a young woman or child can even disrupt the development of proper self-esteem because too much emphasis at a young age is placed on her looks alone.

As I find myself slowly approaching middle age I am happy to say, though I am not a Supermodel in looks, I am healthy and vibrant, and I feel quite attractive without the use of cosmetic procedures. This does not mean I do not apply makeup before my work day, but I do not feel the need to improve myself by way of potentially harmful or toxic means. I can understand why certain cosmetic procedures are used, and do not condemn them all, however, I do condemn their unnecessary uses. I feel there are far better ways to teach our younger sisters, daughters and friends how worthy they really are. Though physical beauty is important in this modern world, it is not as important as developing our inner strengths, which I feel are important especially to women’s rights today.

(Please keep in mind this article is my based on my personal opinion after reading about the adverse effects of Botox . It is not my intent slander any company or individual and if administered properly there have been successful uses of this substance documented. Please use your own discretion before having any cosmetic procedure performed. Please always consult your physician).

Sources.
http://www.newsweek.com/2008/04/12/a-new-reason-to-frown.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botox
www.upi.com/… Botoxselfesteem/
http://veracitystew.com/2011/05/12/botox-to-a-child-the-destruction-of-female-self-esteem-video/