The American Scene: Why Are Young Women Using Botox?

I was intensely staring at some beautiful women this weekend. That is not unusual but this time I had a good reason. I was participating in another weekend seminar at Georgetown University but the students were distracted with all of the excitement regarding the health care debate. We want them to be interested in the legislative process and we delayed class so they could watch the debate and news coverage.
This gave me an opportunity to speak informally with some of our younger faculty members and students. The very popular Botox treatments dominated their conversations. I had heard of Botox but assumed it was a product for women in my age group (the AARP crowd).
The women who told me they were receiving regular Botox injections ranged in age from 28 to 36. None of them were using Botox to plump up lips, and because their skin was so flawless, I asked if they had problems with wrinkles in the past.
The answer was no, but they viewed this as a preventative measure. Botox involves botulinum toxin being injected into wrinkle lines to freeze facial muscles and temporarily remove frown lines. The injection temporarily paralyses muscles in the face so it is virtually impossible to frown or raise your eyebrows. Once the preserve of cosmetic surgeons, Botox is now offered by dermatologists and medical spas, and the price has been reduced significantly.
According to the Georgetown group, the whole focus of anti-ageing treatments is changing. It is now about young women wanting to stay youthful. They do not want to see the first signs of ageing and are not prepared to wait until they do. One of our younger faculty members has Botox injections into her forehead and around her eyes three times a year. She also has fillers on her face and regular laser skin treatment. She is 36 years old.
A 28 year old student told me she was receiving Botox every three months to prevent deep wrinkles from forming later on. “My mother has some really strong frown lines and I want to prevent that,” she said. She admitted part of the reason was peer pressure and she would go to the spa treatments with her friends.
To me there appeared to be no reason why this woman would be concerned about wrinkles at her age. One of her 28 year old friends said “I see it as a step up from face cream. I know some people are against it, but many of them have facials. This is a lot better.”
A 33 year old teaching assistant said she had recently started noticing wrinkles around the edge of her upper lip and eyes. “I use to model so I am aware of that volatile and highly pressured business. There are so many women younger than me now. I think it is necessary to keep a younger, fresher look. I want to stop the ageing process for as long as possible.”

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