Many — perhaps even most — women wear make-up. Personally, I don’t like it or even approve of it — it’s disgusting and it hides the real person — but if women (or men) wish to wear it, that’s perfectly okay. Hair coloring, colored contacts, and even piercings are more serious, but still acceptable in today’s society. Even plastic surgery and Botox is rather ho-hum these days. But does that apply to kids too? Apparently, a British woman who bills herself as the Real Life Barbie thinks so — her daughter has already started using Botox at 16.
I hope to discourage my daughter from getting into the whole beauty/makeover scene but I don’t really expect to be successful. And I’m okay with that. Botox, however, is a completely different story. Botox is, after all, just a trade name for botulinum toxin a.k.a. botulism. Yeah, it’s a deadly toxin. And one mother, who uses it regularly on top of having hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cosmetic surgery, is now injecting it into her 16-year-old daughter.
“Appearance is important to me and I don’t want to look haggard and ugly by the time I’m 25,” said Hannah Burge, who asked for the treatments. “Some of my friends told me that the earlier you start to have [Botox], the fewer wrinkles you’ll have as an adult.”
I’m not sure, but I suspect that “some of my friends” rates a fair bit lower even than Wikipedia on the old credibility scale. And that’s where a parent’s guidance and better judgment is supposed to come in. One would think that a mother would know better than to inject a toxin into her daughter for the sake of looks. Sarah Burge, on the other hand, disagrees. “I was thrilled Hannah was open and honest with me about having Botox,” she said. “I’d much rather know about it than have her do it behind my back.” She sees it as protecting her daughter from “back-street rip-off merchants.” Burge is a trained aesthetic practitioner.
While I understand the dangers of unlicensed meds of any sort, I think Mrs. Burge’s justification is no different than the parent who provides their teen with alcohol because they know they’ll get it elsewhere if they don’t. Certainly, kids are resourceful, but part of a parent’s job is to come down clearly on the side of what’s right rather than condoning something simply because it is inevitable. In addition, the potential dangers — Botox has never been tested on teenagers and its affects on future fertility are unknown — far outweigh any possible benefits, especially when those benefits are only skin deep.