Today, regretfully, I went into one of those “skin rejuvenation” places that seem to be popping up everywhere, hoping to get a few cream samples for the dry winter months. The “dermatologist” brought me into the back room, suggested a few creams, and then she asked me to smile.
Immediately and in front of her secretary, in a voice of total authority she stated, “Yep, you’re going to need preventative Botox soon.”
“Excuse me?” I said. ”I’m only 22!”
"It’s just preventative, honey. If you get Botox before the lines fully crease, then it stops them from forming," chirped the secretary, offering her expert, profoundly superficial advice. Uh oh -- she too had drank the Kool-aid, or rather, the Juvederm.
Thinking, like most people my age, that it would be a few good years until I needed any kind of work like that done, my spirits immediately dropped. Resorting to humor, my usual default when handling uncomfortable situations, I told them that I was a broke student and that I didn’t want to look like Joan Rivers at 22 (trust me, I’ve seen girls my age with Botox, and it’s scary).
Despite the fact that I had just told them I had no money for that sort of thing, and wasn’t interested, they continued to try and convince me, citing bullshit scientific experiments that confirmed what an incredible difference it makes. Cue the “identical twins Botox experiment” horse and pony show.
In a daze of fear and inadequacy, I left and made my way to my car. Once inside, I completely broke down. They had succeeded in making me feel like complete shit. However, after the sadness subsided, anger took over: What the hell is a trusted “medical professional” doing telling someone in their early 20s that they need to inject their face with a serious neurotoxin?
Not only do young women have to deal with seeing thousands of images a day of perfect women (a phenomenon I have extremely contradictory feelings toward, as I am not against celebrating beautiful women, although a bit of diversity would be nice), and ads that repeatedly beat it into us that we need to improve ourselves, now the professionals we turn to in hopes that they deal with these insecurities in a responsible and ethical manner, exploit them in an even more disturbing way than advertisements do.
After speaking to someone who knows an industry insider, and doing a light search on Google, I discovered that this kind of practice is completely standard in these places, and that “preventative Botox” has increased by a jarring 10 percent in the last year.
What’s more frightening, is that so far there is no scientific evidence to prove that “preventative” injections actually work, and that they may actually do more harm than good. Frequent users may develop immunity toward the injections, and they are also shown to be damaging to the psyche, becoming extremely addictive (no surprise there).
In the medical community, this is pretty much equivalent to prescribing someone a drug when they don’t actually have the condition the drug is intended to treat. After telling this story to my father, a renowned scientist, he dubbed what these places were doing as “medical malpractice.”
A Google search on “skin rejuvenation clinics” in Vancouver (and most other big cities), wields endless pages of results. More and more people with a background in medicine and beauty are going into these industries in order to turn a quick buck. Everyday, women get duped into having serious procedures they don’t need, and so far it seems as if regulation over these “clinics” is seriously insufficient.
While this experience was horrible, and a hideous reminder of how insane the beauty industry has become, it has inspired me to do a more in-depth investigative piece on this phenomenon. That said, if you or anyone you know has had similar experiences, please share.