Botox or No-Tox?
Botox, Beauty and The Art of Feeling Good
“Will Botox make me feel good? Is Botox harmful? Are there long-term effects?”
These are some of the questions that might pop up in your mind when contemplating Botox for the first time.
You may even be concerned about receiving a flood of comments like:
- “Why can’t you just embrace your age?”
- “It’s better to be natural!”
- “You will look like plastic!”
- “Won’t your eyes be droopy?”
If you’re reading this, thinking “that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling!”, I’m here to help.
Let’s unpack the confusion around what Botox is, why it can make you feel good, and if it’s something you might benefit from.
What is Botox?
Botox is a form of botulinum toxin. When it is purified and used in smaller doses in a targeted area, it minimizes muscle contractions for a few months. When the muscles reduce activity, the skin either wrinkles less or not at all.
After the Botox has worn off, often fewer wrinkles remain as the Botox has weakened the muscles in the area.
Why Do We Desire Botox?
There is no denying that a major attraction to Botox for a lot of women is its ability to reduce wrinkles, something many women struggle to find confidence in.
Although Botox offers an incredibly diverse range of positive health impacts far beyond the aesthetics, there is a lot of buzz around anti-aging, leading a lot of us to turn to Botox as a means of holding onto youth.
This is heavily influenced by media in today’s society, which seems to portray youthfulness as the most important form of a woman’s beauty.
We are constantly fed the idea that beauty ends when youth is over, and this causes women to put too much pressure on ourselves to hold onto our youthfulness, leading many of us to feel a friction between the idea of ‘staying youthful’ and ‘aging gracefully’.
So let’s unravel the nuanced and complex commentary surrounding women, Botox, and how to make sure we maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves and our bodies.
Feel Good in Your Skin, Literally & Figuratively
When I was 13, I remember being annoyed by the wrinkles between my eyes when I frowned. The wrinkles didn’t make me feel old… I just simply didn’t like them.
We all have things we love about ourselves and things we don’t. This doesn’t mean we have to change them. But if we want to, we have every right to.
Painting your nails, dressing in your own style, dying your hair a different color, wearing funky eyeshadow, using your favorite eyelash serum are all ways you might choose to express yourself a as woman.
Having creative expression and making individual choices about how we present ourselves to the world is empowering and can make us feel good. Self-expression is fluid and moves beyond cosmetic treatments.
Every woman should be free to undergo the number of beauty treatments they desire without fear of judgment. We all have a different line to draw, and a different comfortability level with changes regarding our external appearance.
However, as a health and longevity coach, my primary concern is always with creating a healthy balance.
I want women to feel empowered by the choices they make, and to really understand why they are making these choices. My work is focused on helping women cultivate a positive aging mindset so that they can feel confident in their own skin, at each and every age.
I would like for you to reflect on whether you are making choices because they make YOU feel good, or because of society’s conditioning regarding how you should look.
There is nothing wrong with feeling beautiful. We are indeed in physical bodies. Let’s appreciate the beauty there. However, we need to strike the balance and understand when this balance is tipping a little too far in the wrong direction.
So what is the wrong direction?
This scale tips too far when we start letting an older age define us negatively. When anti-aging seems to consume us. Or when we don’t feel quite as balanced on the inside because we are spending so much energy on the outside.
No matter what outer beauty treatments we do, what’s essential is that we feel confident and worthy. That we feel whole, balanced, and aligned to our inner being. Embracing our inner and outer beauty in parallel!
We can learn different ways to boost our health, longevity, and prevent cellular aging, all the while learning from those who are healthy and happy in their older years. They can teach us a lot about positive thinking and how to make life more fulfilling, internally, as we grow older.
Does Botox Have Other Benefits?
Botox has the power to introduce you to a happier version of yourself.
There are two reasons for this.
- The first is the one we all expect. If we look better, we feel better. Feeling good about our appearance has a mood-boosting effect, and with fine lines being reduced after Botox, many women report a boost in confidence within themselves.
- The second reason is by far my favorite! According to Charles Darwin’s facial feedback hypothesis, our facial expressions send signals to our brain that directly produce corresponding neurotransmitters.
Our facial expressions can change the way we feel.
Facial movements associated with expressions such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear trigger a corresponding reaction in our brain. In other words, a beaming smile can actually make you feel happier, while frowning has the power to put you in a bad mood.
Heart rate, blood pressure, and sweating are all modified by contracting facial muscles.
So what does this have to do with Botox?
A combined analysis of three randomized controlled trials, on patients with depression, concluded those who received Botox (134 patients), showed their depression scores (BDI scoring method) decreased by 31% over the placebo group (P ≤.0001).
What’s fascinating is that most of the subjects involved in the studies had little or no frown lines before the Botox treatment. Their enhanced mental state didn’t come from aesthetic improvement.
Let me say that again in different words. Not being able to frown, contributes to more positive brain responses. There were hardly lines to begin with. So, their happiness was a direct result of Charles Darwin’s hypothesis; Our facial expressions can dictate the way we feel.
Another way to recreate the effect of Botox is to simply smile more and frown less, a lot more often!
Botox Treats More than Wrinkles
At present, the scope of Botox extends far beyond just aesthetics. It is also commonly associated with treatment for migraines, as it blocks the neurotransmitters that cause pain. It is not the initial line of treatment. I always recommend speaking to your doctor to address potential causes first.
Botox also helps to reduce sebum production (a common cause of acne-prone skin), to calm excessive sweating, or even to treat spastic movement disorders such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
Botox Side Effects
A published review sums it up nicely: “Treatment with botulinum toxin is widely viewed as safe, effective and largely devoid of serious side effects.” You can be assured there are no life-threatening effects of Botox treatment. The risks are temporary and mild.
After Botox, most side effects don’t differ from side effects after other types of injections. In fact, many people don’t experience any side effects at all.
The risk of possible complications can be reduced by thoroughly analyzing your medical history, and using the appropriate dose and technique for the injection. It’s also important to ensure your practitioner is experienced. Possible side effects include:
- Mild bruising (affects 11% to 25% of patients). This can be reduced with ice prior to – and post-injection.
- Localized Pain – this can be reduced by numbing creams.
- Hematoma – which can be prevented by avoiding certain medications prior to the injection.
- Headache/flu-like symptoms – this is due to initial muscle spasms before the muscle relaxation kicks in.
- Droopy eyelid – this symptom is quite rare (frequency is estimated at 1–5%)
- Crooked smile
- Eye dryness or excessive tearing
- Muscle weakness
- Vision problems
- Trouble in speaking or swallowing
- Respiratory problems
- Botox is contraindicated when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. It should also be avoided in people who are allergic to cow’s milk protein.
The Key to Fulfilment, Beyond Botox
By and large, Botox is a safe anti-aging procedure with benefits exceeding far more than just its cosmetic prospects.
Whether you opt to receive Botox or not, I want you to walk away with the below messages.
- You are worthy, awesome, and loveable no matter how many wrinkles and years you have aged.
- Beauty lies within. Harnessing & radiating our inner beauty is so damn attractive (and important!!), regardless of whether we do Botox. I recently authored a piece on Collateral Beauty, if you’d like to delve a little deeper into it.
“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature. Beautiful old people are works of art.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
- Outer beauty exists at every age. You can re-train your mind to see beauty in older people as well., as I’ll be teaching in my HypnoAging course You can start now by taking note of the people who are aging gracefully around you.
- Every decision about your body is your own. Whatever beauty treatments one decides to do is completely up to them. It’s liberating to release any judgment about others’ beauty choices.
Most importantly, we can increase our radiance with age, regardless of whether we do Botox or not. 😊
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