There is no doubt that the introduction of Botox back in 2002 was a game changer for the beauty and cosmetic-surgery industries. Fifteen years in, its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the number of younger women (aged 19-34) receiving injections has actually soared 41% since 2011, according the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
It's those young women who might be feeling a "crack-like addiction" to injectables, one researcher says. In her new book Botox Nation: Changing the Face of America, Dana Berkowitz, PhD, wonders if doctors are creating (and enabling) lifelong customers by suggesting they start younger and younger.
"The problem is that Botox only lasts for between four and six months, so once you start seeing those lines form again you go back," explains Berkowitz. "Women I interviewed talked about it in terms of it being addictive. One said she was 'crack-like' about it."
It's not just the temporary nature of Botox that keeps women coming back; it's also the Sisyphean task of trying to stop or erase every sign of aging, including those that haven't even appeared yet.
One 30-year-old told Berkowitz, "I love Botox, but the only problem is that now the attention is taken away from my forehead and I'm starting to notice my parentheses around my mouth. I feel like I want fillers there."
While Botox has a myriad of uses—like obstructing over-active sweat glands and maybe even easing depression—Berkowitz's book attacks the whole "preventative" concept as an insidious tool of the beauty biz, another way to make women feel inadequate.
Hmm, major food for thought. Just don't think too hard...it might cause a forehead wrinkle.
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