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To Botox or Not to Botox

By Amalah

Hi Amy,
I’ll cut right to the chase here: What are your thoughts on Botox? I will be 40 this year, and I have noticed, one by one, my friends are starting to succumb to the lure of Botox, and dammit, it looks good. This would be so much easier for me if it didn’t work, but it really does. And now everyone around me is reverse-aging, and here I am, the only one left who looks her age. Cheaters!
I’m on the fence. Morally, I want to believe I am so above Botox because it’s what on the inside that counts, but truth be told, I’m as vain as the next girl. So I sort of want it, but I don’t want to want it. I guess I’m looking for some guidance, and who better to ask than my favorite beauty guru? Is Botox something you yourself would consider at forty? Is my naturally lined face going to be as eccentric and quirky as gray hair?

I’m of…hmm….seven different minds about Botox, give or take a mind. Like you, I want to think that I am and will always be above the stuff, because EW. And like you, I’m vain as hell and often sigh loudly at the sight of my crow’s feet and was the spot in between my eyebrows always this squishy?
But then I think…BOTULISM. INJECTED INTO YOUR FACE. HOW DID THIS BECOME A GOOD IDEA? And I look at photos of frozen-faced over-injected celebrities with inflated trout-pout lips and think that I’d rather take the wrinkles.
But THEN, like you, I see women who have had it done well (read: by a professional and not over-done) and hey, they look great and seem happy with it and I CAN appreciate the difference between a shot of Botox and a surgical face-lift…plus I’ve already informed my husband that after I’m done birthing 10-pound babies he’s treating me to a tummy tuck and I was only sort-of halfway kidding about that.
So in the end, I am still not entirely sure how I feel about Botox, other than a tepid never say never, no matter how easily that word might fall out of my mouth now. It’s just not on my radar right now and I’m happy to not have to think about it that much. If, in 10 or 15 years, Botox is still common and there haven’t been any horrific reports of death doom destruction that have resulted in the stuff being yanked off the market entirely, I suppose I could see myself…possibly maybe thinking about it.
In the meantime, I harbor absolutely no uppity judgement for any woman who decides to try it out…deep down, yes, I do wish we could all flip the collective bird to the youth-worshipping culture and feel absolutely no need to artificially iron out the lines from our foreheads. I also wish we could all look like the fabulously needle-free Helen Mirren, while we’re at it.
So…eh? Don’t get it done just because your friends are having it done, lest you force me to drag out the “if your friends all jumped off a bridge to test the buoyancy of their 36DDD implants” metaphor. Don’t get it done because you’re afraid your husband will pick up a Spitzer habit if you don’t, and for the love of God, don’t get it done by some random guy at your neighbor’s next Tupperware party. Remember that there IS such a thing as too firm and too youthful. Remember that a fabulous $400 handbag will last a lot longer than two to six months.
…and that $400 could also pay for the education of 100 students in Ethiopia or the training of 10 teachers in Afghanistan, in case you’d like the issue to be just a tad more loaded and morally shaming.

Published March 31, 2008. Last updated March 31, 2008.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • mdvelazquez

    March 31, 2008 at 9:53 am

    BOTULISM! Facial injections! That is why I won’t do it. Needles make me sick to my stomach.

  • kalisah

    March 31, 2008 at 11:00 am

    I heard and NPR interview w/ Tracey Ullman recently, and she said that she was at a dinner sitting next to a Hollywood actress who has famously undergone Botox treatments for a while now, and that the woman had all these GREEN SPOTS around her mouth and eyes and forehead. B/c the bloodflow is cut off to those areas that are treated and eventually the cells just DIE and you have all these GREEN SPOTS OF DEAD FACE. So no.
    I’m probably MORE vain than the next girl, but what are you going to do w/ your vanity when you’re stuck with all these green spots of dead face? Then what, huh???

  • Suzy Q

    March 31, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Gah. My sister wants me to do this with her. Because when you go for Botox, from a licensed professional, you buy the whole vial, whether it’s used or not.
    But…but it’s botulism toxin!!
    And yet, I was at a friend’s house a few months ago wherein I was the ONLY woman amongst 6 who hadn’t been Botoxed. These were all 40-ish professional women and, yes, they looked good. But the way they spoke of it so rapturously made me ill. My friend had just been done and the next morning when the top half of her face was frozen, she was *thrilled.* I was stupefied. (Oh, and these women all go to a friend of theirs who is an endodontist and does this on the side. Yick.)
    And yet. I have wrinkles. Big, honkin’ forehead wrinkles that have been there since high school. I fear I may be about to succumb to the needle, because I AM curious to see what the results would be.

  • mommastantrum

    April 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I am 31 and have had Restalyne and Botox. I love the Botox because it totally made my migraines go away for 5 months. I also love that it made my squinty mad face not so squinty. I wouldn’t be going every other week to get it done…because it does hurt, and you don’t want to look like a freak, but if you want to do it for you do it. Don’t do it because your friends are doing it. And please please please go to a CERTIFIED doctor’s office to have this done…not your neighbor’s pool party.

  • fran

    April 2, 2008 at 11:06 am

    this 47-yr-old’s still in the “nuh-ah” camp, although I’d totally do the knife for the neck wattle if I could justify it.
    But i did think of an excellent joke this morning, something on the lines of loving the aging part where my forehead crease is now deeper than my cleavage. If “forehead cleavage” is not yet copywritten then I’m claiming it here.
    Long live amalah.

  • Meghan

    April 2, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    I’ll add my own Botox intention, for what it’s worth. I don’t know if I’ll ever want to get any in my face, but I have every intention of getting Botox injections in my armpit a month before I get married. (Which is in the very far off future, as I am not currently even dating anyone.)
    I am one of those people who will unfortunately sweat through (and ruin) almost every shirt I own. I’ve tried Certain Dri, Mitchum, Secret Clinical Strength, every OTC and Rx deodorant out there. Right now the Secret Clinical Strength is enough for a day-to-day basis, but when the time comes to get married, where I’ll be wearing a lot of nice (and expensive) dresses, meeting new people, going to fittings and other busy running around, I want the peace of mind that I’m not going to ruin everything I put on, for at least a little while.

  • eadesq

    April 2, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I was thinking about doing this as I approach my 30th birthday (I work in a frowny industry). The place where I get my brazilian laser treatments done does botox and I was tempted to just “charge it to my account.”
    BUT! I saw this article TODAY:
    It will go into your BRAAAIIINNNN and then your SOUUULLL. Okay, only your brain. And… only if you’re a rat.
    Still! I need the brain. Otherwise, I can’t work in my frowny job.

  • abs

    April 2, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    First off, I am 25. I was always under the impression that women who are in their 40’s and above were the ones feeling the pressure to get botox, and I thought that was even getting to be out of hand. I am pretty blown away by the comments about women in their late twenties and early thirties who have had it or are thinking about having it in the near future. That said, I have migraines too and have heard it helps. Plus, I was just pointing out to my sister and mother this weekend a deep frown line between my eyes. I must admit that the idea of having botox someday in the far away future has crossed my mind. However, I’m not sure I could talk myself into it.
    Anyway, my whole point was that it just drives me crazy that so many young women, myself included, are either having it done or thinking about it. Wrinkles and botox shouldn’t even be on my radar.