I love British newspapers, I really do. For the second time in just over six months, the Daily Mail has run a story on Botox—and it's not the kind of rah-rah, everyone-should-do-it type of piece you're likely to find over on this side of the pond.
No, the article is about a beauty writer who started getting Botox injections 18 years ago, at the age of 29. (Funnily enough, it was for a magazine article and therefore probably gratis—that's how you start to get hooked on these things, I tell you!) Anyway, at first it worked... but then things went horribly wrong—wrong enough that she decided to give it up for good.
Now I'm not really against Botox—heck, I just got some myself at a media event about a month ago (I'll be posting a video soon with some tips from the docs). But the fact that it can backfire and actually make you look WORSE really scares me. This is the thing Nobody Talks About. (Or at least nobody in North America.) So let's!
Probably the most common thing that happens when Botox goes wrong is a little thing called "Spocking." As in brows that do this:
I hate, hate, hate when I see women going around with these weird brows—because it means their doctors didn't do proper follow-up, in person, with Before and After photos. (Apparently a certain percentage of the population will "Spock" but it can be corrected by injecting more into the right place to drop them back down.)
And then there are the "bunny lines" I wrote about back in May. In some sort of sick revenge, these NEW wrinkles develop when you paralyze the surrounding muscles.
As if those weren't enough, the poor Daily Mail writer developed other issues. Her doc injected it to correct sagging along the jawline, but it completely changed her smile:
"I normally had a wide beam in which my upper lip became quite straight. Now, my upper lip drooped in the centre, giving my smile a strange, slightly sinister curve."
Sinister? Couple that with the Spock brows and you could scare small children.
Other strange side effects included a forehead that looked preternaturally smooth but brows that became "too heavy." And then she went to the dentist, but couldn't open her mouth properly because it was, well, frozen. And not from anything the dentist did.
Crazy! Here she is WITH Botox ("wrinkle-free but expressionless," says the Daily Mail):
And here she is after she gave it up:
Seriously—the only wrinkles in the no-Bo shot that I can detect are around the eyes. (And hello? If your eyes don't crinkle a bit when you smile, you look like an alien.) Also note that her face in the second pic is fuller—so don't spend too much time at the gym because fat plumps up wrinkles, ladies!
As for celebrities, Kylie's sisterDannii Minogue, who is a big star in the UK and whose first name has a couple too many consonants and vowels, is maybe the only one I'm aware of who has gone on record saying she gave up Botox. (Many other stars, including Rachel Weisz and Kate Winslet, have spoken out against it, but I haven't heard whether they used it and then stopped... or just never did it at all. Or maybe they are all lying.)
Anyway, apparently Dannii was urged by her facialist to give it up because it was actually making her look OLDER. Can you believe?
Here's her Freeze Face before:
And now, au naturel:
Again, I kind of dig the eye crinkles—do you?
Now, apparently some docs—in the UK at least—are ALSO starting to realize that "Botox 4 All" isn't necessarily a good thing. Especially for women in their 40s or older. I thought this excerpt from the article was interesting:
"Vicky Dondos of the Medicetics clinic in London says that she is super-careful with Botox with older clients: ‘A completely smooth forehead can create a huge contrast to any sagging and wrinkling on the lower half of the face, making it look worse.
‘Botoxing between the eyebrows can eventually increase the space between them so the eyebrows look too far apart and the skin becomes saggy.
'I'm longer convinced that Botox works wonders as beauty treatment for the over 40s'
‘Also, some doctors try to raise the eyebrows too much with Botox, leaving the eyelids looking stretched and with too much creepy skin on show.
‘It gives a “tugged” look which is very ageing.’"
I post all of this not because I don't think anybody should ever get Botox, ever, but because I want you, if you DO get it, to realize the risks and then make an informed decision. These days, it feels like everybody and their mother is offering Botox shots, but it's still a serious medical procedure. And it's much, much better to under-treat than to over-treat. We've all seen the Heidi Montag clones who work at plastic surgeons' or even dermatologists' offices... let them be a cautionary tale.