Vera Treit

Botox, or  botulinum toxin, is a “magic trick” widely used by women entering an age when wrinkles start to appear on their faces, a sign stating that time, unfortunately, is passing.

Of course, smoothing face wrinkles is not its only function. Botox is used for medical reasons, too. For example, in the case of spasmodic winking, doctors inject Botox to numb the eyelid and prevent it from ticking. In fact, in the last decade or so, there has been a discovery showing that Botox injections could be used to treat the symptoms of cerebral palsy (an umbrella term used to define disorders affecting movement, posture and balance) in children.

In other words, botulinum toxin is a very significant medicine—in the right hands. Cosmetic Botox is FDA approved for adults over the age of eighteen and children over twelve who have medical problems that can be treated with Botox, such as excessive sweating.  However, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 12,110 Botox or Dysport procedures performed on children under the age of 18 were registered in the US in 2009. Yes, teenagers. Not women in their forties, not men (yes, lads, according to Time.com, seven percent of Botox “users” in America are men,) but children from the age of thirteen upward. Is this a normal thing? One may not think so. But what makes a wrinkle-free teenager want Botox so bad?

Let us start with parents. They determine teenagers’ lives, and moms and dads are looked up to for wanting what is best for their children. Is it surprising then that in the UK, Sarah Burge, the “Human Barbie,” gave her consent to have the Botox procedure performed on her fifteen year-old? We must take into calculation the fact that Sarah Burge holds the world record for most cosmetic procedures: she spent approximately £500,000 on aesthetics. One year after the first procedure, she administered the injection at home into her daughter’s forehead in order to delay the dreaded date of the first wrinkle appearing. Sarah Burge’s daughter, Hannah, said the following when she was asked why she wanted to have Botox in the first place: “I wanted to have Botox for two reasons – it prevents wrinkles and everyone at my school was talking about having B.“

This means it has become an actual trend, like miniskirts or jeans, and when parents are encouraging it (they must be, because under the age of eighteen, the consent of the parent is usually needed for these kinds to have procedures), there is no knowing how much the number of “botoxees“ will increase.

Especially when teen celebrities are using botox to “freshen-up,“ too. Although one may not understand what is there to be “freshed-up“ on an eighteen-year-old, a star of Glee, Charice Pempengco, does apparently.

Another shocking story happened in 2009, when a mother bought Botox injections for her daughter‘s eighteenth birthday! Jodie became addicted to Botox and is still buying injections.  When asked by the Daily Mail, she said “so what if I’m a teenage Botox addict? I can’t think of anything worse than looking old.” (I can: drooping eyelids and drooling from your mouth…all possible side effects of Botox treatment.)

By now, it may be no surprise that Jodie’s mother has already had several plastic surgeries, including two breast enlargements, a nose-job, a tummy-tuck and a facelift.  Now, she is planning on a nose job for her daughter’s 21st birthday and possibly a breast enlargement. The comments at the end of the article (at http://www.momlogic.com/2009/05/mom_buys_botox_for_teen_daughter.php) are all against such an act. Most of them said that the mother was too plastic, and that she was implying to her daughter that she was ugly.

There may be some truth in the latter, but then the next question that springs to mind is: aren’t mothers supposed to see their daughters as beautiful? Or is that a long lost fairytale and we live in the age of “here, my dear, take this thousand dollars and go do something with your… face situation!”