Source: cotton bro | Pexels
You may text your friends about everything from Bumble dates to birth control, but do you spill the details of your Botox or filler treatments to your group chat, too? And what about when it comes to those who share their lives on Instagram—do influencers have a responsibility to talk about getting Botox with their followers? While Botox may have been seen as less of a commonplace procedure in decades past, it’s now frequently mentioned in the media and is administered everywhere from dentists’ offices to medical spas. In fact, recent findings from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reveal that Botox was the most common type of minimally invasive cosmetic procedure performed in 2020.
Curious to get the scoop on who is sharing the details of their treatments with whom, I spoke with six women about their decision to openly speak about Botox and what led them to this point.
On setting realistic standards…
Anna Page, a 28-year-old full-time influencer in New York City, is happy to share with her 114,000 followers that she does indeed receive Botox treatments. “I wanted to be open about getting Botox because growing up, it was a very taboo subject, and not for any good reason,” Page reflected. “I think being open about it sets a very realistic beauty standard and lets people know they’re not alone in having the desire to get Botox or fillers.” Page hopes that others with substantial Instagram audiences can be equally transparent. “I wish people with platforms would be more open about what they have had done so it’s not as mysterious or scary for people who aren’t as experienced but would like to have it,” she said.
On demystifying the process…
New York City influencer Hattie Kolp, 29, also posts about her experience with Botox on her social media channels. “I want other women, young and old, to know it’s an option, and if it’s something they’re curious about, wanting to do, or already doing, I want them to feel comfortable asking me questions about my experience or just talking to me about it,” she shared. “As with anything we do with our bodies, it’s a very personal choice, and I think it’s so important to talk about all things health and beauty to bounce ideas off each other.”
On rethinking beauty standards…
Washington, D.C. resident Kelly McCoyd started getting Botox at the age of 29 and was sold on the treatment from the get-go—but she held back on singing its praises from the rooftops for some time. “I remember initially wanting to keep it a secret to avoid judgment,” the 34-year-old reflected. “But as I’ve gotten older—and likely overall more confident and self-assured—I realized by keeping it a secret, I was only further contributing to the close-mouthed culture and unrealistic beauty standards women place on themselves.” McCoyd, who maintains a fashion and lifestyle Instagram account, has posted about her treatments on her page. “Of course, some might say by participating in cosmetic procedures, I’m further fueling the unrealistic standards,” she said. “But I think by being honest, I’m able to shed some light on how much time and money I’ve spent to get my skin where it is today.”
On destigmatizing beauty treatments…
When she met her now-husband in 2017, 43-year-old Alexandra Gilbert had already been getting Botox treatments for three years. However, it wasn’t until last summer that she told him about this habit. “I had grown up in a culture where I had learned you don’t share beauty ‘secrets’ with your partner,” the Austin, Texas resident noted. “I don’t think I’ve shared with my family,” she added. “I think that has to do with also growing up with the message that we shouldn’t spend a lot on our appearances and that we should age gracefully.” Now, as the stepmother to a 19-year-old, Gilbert looks back on her own young adulthood in wonder. “I grew up in a culture and time where so much of what happens with a woman’s body had to be kept a secret—our periods, wearing a bra, and even deodorant!”
On redefining what results look like…
After being pleasantly surprised with her Botox experience, 26-year-old Chicago resident Jorian Lenik said she “all but sent out a mass text to all my contacts about how excited I was.” She added, “I think there’s this idea of Botox, and it’s super outdated and stereotypical, and if I can open someone’s mind to seeing it differently, that’d be cool.” Lenik was thrilled that Botox could help with her jaw clenching without resulting in an unnatural, frozen appearance. “My best friend, mom, and grandma were genuinely shocked about my experience and how ‘normal’ of a thing it was to do,” she said. “They truly thought Botox was just for rich, bored housewives, and I thought it would be cool to educate them about the fun medical upsides Botox has.”
On developing confidence…
Meg, a 32-year-old living in Fairfield, Connecticut, also withheld the details of her treatment from her partner for some time. “I discuss using Botox with my girlfriends, but I initially avoided telling my boyfriend in fear of coming off as vain or wanting to augment my appearance,” she said.
Like Jorian, Meg noted that despite Botox’s prevalence, it still comes with its share of preconceived notions. “When it comes to Botox, my experience is that a lot of people don’t understand the difference between Botox and fillers. Both are often affiliated with celebrity examples of extreme use, so there is definitely a stigma of Botox that I try to avoid,” she commented. “After time, I have felt more confident in the subtlety of getting Botox injections and have widened the pool of who I discuss with.”
In a world of Instagram filters and heavily edited selfies, talking about procedures and tweaks to the face can still be seen as taboo. But while some of the women we spoke with shared an initial fear of coming off as vain or too beauty-focused should they reveal their Botox habits, these feelings slowly—but surely—dissipated over time.
I Got My First Botox Treatment at Age 25—Here Are My Thoughts
Botox In A Bottle: The Best Anti-Aging Skincare Ingredients, According to Injectors