Is Botox only skin deep?

What a paradox! Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have now approved botulism toxin, historically one of the world’s deadly killers, for use as a cosmetic treatment.

The result? Thousands of aging baby boomers, TV stars and others are lining up to have this well-known poison injected into their skin to bring back their youth. And in ditzy California, they’re even organizing Botox parties!

Not new drug
Botox is not a new drug. The FDA approved its use years ago to treat certain medical conditions, such as facial spasms and crossed eyes. Now, it’s being used to treat migraine headaches and chronic low back pain.

But the idea of Botox for cosmetic use started 15 years ago. A Canadian doctor using Botox to treat eye conditions noticed its paralyzing effect also removed wrinkles.

 The idea remained dormant until recently. But in a society that does not want to grow older, the rush to restore youth is on.

Diluted form used
One plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif., has already performed a few thousand Botox procedures. And he recently arranged a Botox party at the Pas Casino Resort in Las Vegas, where guests talk about plastic surgery, receive their Botox injections together, sip champagne and have a massage. How much better does it get?

But how can you inject such a potent poison without causing harm?

Botox is a refined strain of the toxin, and only a diluted form is injected into facial muscles that control wrinkling.

During the following four days, the toxin paralyses the muscles and—presto—wrinkles are gone.

Effect wears off
Patients must remain upright for four hours following the almost painless injection. The treated areas should not be touched, and it’s important not to have a facial massage.

A major problem is that the Botox effect gradually wears off, so repeat $400 injections are needed in four months.

Some patients experience a slight headache, which lasts a few hours, after the injection.

But a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association claims that about one per cent of patients suffers a debilitating headache that can last a week or even two.

An anti-frown injection in the wrong place can also cause troubles, such as a droopy eyelid or a lopsided smile.

Next page: Mania is illogical

Mania is illogical
So what do I think about this procedure for cosmetic reasons? I wouldn’t touch Botox injections with a 10-foot pole.

Common sense tells me that it’s totally unnatural to inject a well-known poison, even in dilute amounts, into the body. And how many times in the past have approved drugs eventually been shown to have unforeseen complications?

I have no quarrel with trying to look your best. But today’s mania for cosmetic surgery, as temporary as it is and with its exorbitant cost, is illogical.

In this instance, Samuel Beckett was right when he remarked, “We are all born mad. Some remain so.”

Can’t stop aging
As in all cosmetic nips and tucks, the terrible downside is devastating. Sooner or later, the injections must cease. After all, you can’t stop an aging face forever. And vanity exacts its price. The wrinkles not seen for many years then descend with a fury on your face and psyche.

Men had better be careful these days whom they marry. On her wedding day, she may have the looks of Venus de Milo, but when she discontinues her Botox, she may look more like a Shar-Pei, the Chinese dog with loose, wrinkly skin.

Would I ever agree to Botox? You bet. I’d gladly pay $400 or more when they find a Botox solution to eradicate the internal wrinkles that eventually kill us. Until then, I’ll keep my money.