Is Botox a Gateway Drug?

botox

Botox, or Botulinum Toxin, is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum. (Wow- that’s a mouth full!) Despite the fact that it is the most toxic protein known, it is used world over in minute quantities to treat muscle spasms. Administered properly, it prevents a muscle from contracting for three to four months at a time. Goodbye stubborn frown lines!

This is hardly breaking news.

Cosmetic procedures are not just for Hollywood Starlets and the uber-rich. With the popularity of reality shows and the abundance of plastic surgeons, the regular public is finding a nip, tuck or injectable quite accessible. Millions of women (and men) starting in their twenties and thirties use Botox regularly and are increasingly electing for more invasive surgeries to improve their appearance.

Dr. Prioleau, a Dermatologist on Manhattan’s Upper East Side*, is concerned with both the frequency of these procedures and the psychology behind them. He claims, “Botox is a gateway drug.”  Concerned that a patient may start with Botox and move to Restylane then possibly a face lift, he questions the reality of the motives of both doctor and patient.  “The injectables are annuities,” facilitating a consistent revenue source for the Plastic Surgeon. They only last for a limited time so patients have to keep coming back for more,” often times thinking that they need just a little something extra, creating an expectation that is never satisfied. “I see women who are on their third face lift. They come to my office looking so weird. They come in with guppy lips. And then tell me that they haven’t had any surgery.”  This, of course, is a small percentage of the population. I know many people that are completely happy with their quarterly injections and are not considering more procedures.

Our society puts a lot of pressure on us to stay young and beautiful. Lines and wrinkles are not considered signs of wisdom but indicators that we are no longer fresh and new. Although God knows there is very little wisdom without experience and experience is only gained through time. With the hectic life we live, time certainly is not on our side! Until we collectively change this attitude we will continue to feel the yearning to turn back time.

In recent months plastic surgeons have reported a sharp decline in services. Does this mean we are starting to feel better about ourselves as people and opting to grow old gracefully? Not likely. With the sagging economy many have to prioritize. In some cases, “Get my Botox or feed and clothe my kids?” People are no longer able to re-finance their homes to pay for the face lift. Monthly budget cuts are forcing the injectables to last 6 months instead of 3-4. Simply stated, we just can’t afford it.

No matter if you would never consider plastic surgery, are too scared to get it or you are not getting it because your pocket book does not allow, know that you do have options. The alternative does not yield instant results but puts you on a path to a healthier, more vibrant you. And in my opinion, healthy, vibrant skin looks youthful.

As we age, many of our systems slow down and change- particularly our hormones.  We know that waning estrogen decreases elasticity in the skin and is responsible for deepening crow’s feet and sagging skin. Aging is inevitable. However, we have the power to fight it every step of the way with or without a cosmetic enhancement.

Dr. Rebecca Booth, OBGyn and author of “The Venus Week: Discover the powerful secret of your cycle….at any age,” gives a few suggestions to stave off the advancement of the dreaded decline.

Try adding these collagen and elastin building tips to your daily life and notice a dramatic difference:

-Avoid collagen killers: smoking, sun, diabetes, poor nutrition, stress and poor hydration.
-Diet should be high in plant protein (soy protein, hummus, nuts, nut butters)
-Omega 3 fatty acids 2000mg/day
-Vitamin D 1000 iu/day
-Calcium 1000mg/day before menopause and 1500mg/day after. (Spread dosage throughout the day as        the body can only absorb 500-600mg at a time.
-Vitamin C 400mg/day.

This year for the first time, I have felt the effects of my age. My laugh lines are a little more prominent and my hyperpigmentation is rearing its ugly head. In my twenties, I thought I would never consider a cosmetic procedure- but of course, I was twenty- no fine lines and no wisdom! As I am embracing my mid thirties, I will do my best to keep it natural with supplements, diet and exercise. But if there is one thing I’ve learned is “never say never.” I wasn’t going to have any children either and here I am- a very Modern Mom!

Kimberly Rockefeller is the owner of “Thrive! Body and Skin” and single mom to Corbin in San Diego. www.kimrockskincare@gmail.com

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