Last week I got a haircut, which is a momentous occasion for me since I only do it once or twice a year. While waiting on line at the register to pay, I happened to overhear a conversation happening right next to me among some of the ladies (who were probably in their late 40s or 50s) and the manager behind the desk. They were talking about how they were so happy that celebrities like Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston are saying no to injections now, and are promoting a healthier, more positive outlook on aging and beauty instead of “anti-aging.” They also talked about how Suzanne Sommers has been an advocate for health and natural beauty for many years now, and how Gwyneth Paltrow is doing so well linking health/wellness to beauty with her GOOP brand.
The lady who was on line next to me mentioned how she tried Botox® once because she thought she *had* to–that she needed it, and she had an allergic reaction. She said that she’s worried, because so many women think they need Botox–but at the same time, she was relieved that she was allergic to it because she didn’t feel good about it in the first place. She was worried about whether or not it was a healthy thing to do–injecting botulism into her face.
She mentioned how the doctors say it’s fine, and safe, and all that. But then again, they are profiting from it like crazy. She also expressed concern about the fact that some young women in pop culture and social media claim that they need Botox and fillers at a younger age so that they won’t need more extensive cosmetic procedures when they get older.
What kind of message does this send to the young women and girls who follow and look up to these influencers?
I chimed in by talking about how living a healthy lifestyle and taking great care of your skin on a consistent basis is all you need to have vibrant skin at any age. I talked about how important it is to eat healthy, nutrient-dense whole foods, use herbal skincare products, drink water, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly for beautiful skin.
The women nodded excitedly, saying things like “yes! I’ve read about that!” and “yes! That’s what they were saying too!” and also with “what’s that?”–at which point I listed them out so they could save them on their phone to look up later. (You can just click on the links above to learn more if any of this is new to you!)
More women came over and listened to the conversation. Everyone seemed so excited at the fact that there are so many alternatives to injections and cosmetic procedures. We talked about how the term “anti-aging” is damaging to women of all ages, and that we really need to reframe that whole mindset. I honestly think that most women over 40 really don’t want to do the injections and cosmetic procedures, but they think they *have* to. They think they need Botox to be beautiful, valuable, and worthy as they age. The women at the salon actually got emotional about it.
When I made the bold statement that really, NO ONE NEEDS BOTOX, I actually heard sighs of relief.
Because it’s true. No one needs Botox. No one needs fillers. These are not actual needs. They are things people think they need to have to have society value them as they age, because Western society has conditioned us all to believe that beauty and youth are more valuable than age and wisdom.
Yesterday I was on Instagram and happened to see a post by Jessica L. Yarbrough (follow her, by the way–she’s awesome), which was about a similar topic: How people are now getting botox and fillers as forms of “self care.” Here it is if you want to read it.
That really struck a nerve with me to the point that I felt I needed to respond. I said:
“I was literally just talking about this. Such a huge topic now. We must stop thinking we need to hurt ourselves in order to care for ourselves, love ourselves, or be loved and valued by others. We do not. There is beauty at every age, and we must stop this attack on aging (especially on aging women). As an educator of aestheticians and other skin wellness practitioners, teaching my students to help their clients value aging and care for their skin in a way that honors it is a huge priority. There are so many more loving ways to help ourselves look and feel our best without the pain or shame.”
I want you to know that you are beautiful, whole, and valued no matter what you look like–whether you have smooth, clear skin, fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, dark circles under your eyes, or whatever else.
Doing something drastic or invasive to alter your skin won’t change who you are on the inside, or necessarily how you feel about yourself. As I wrote in my book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, if you don’t learn to love and value yourself at whatever you perceive to be “your worst,” once you fix that one thing you think you hate that’s holding you back from receiving the love, validation, or approval you seek, you’ll likely just find something else about yourself to hate.
Just so you know, I’m not judging you if you have had Botox or a cosmetic procedure. You own your skin and you are in charge of your body. If you get those things done and you feel amazing, then you do you.
But if you do it because you believe you need to do it–for any reason at all other than to bring yourself joy–then I’m talking to you right now. I just want you to know that there are other ways to get beautiful results that feel much better both on the skin and in your heart and soul.
You can’t hate your way to self-love, and you can’t hurt your way to beauty.
Can we please stop using the term “anti-aging?”
My company, The Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance has taken a firm stance that we will no longer use the term in any of our blog posts, other than to write about why we don’t use it. I strongly encourage my Create Your Skincare Professional Edition students and consulting clients also to not use the term “anti-aging” to describe their skincare products–even though it’s a marketing buzzword.
I’ve written about why I feel this way in the past (I was particularly proud of this blog post), and I’d like to write an update since topics like this seem to be coming up so frequently now.
I would love to know how you feel about it, so please leave me a comment below. Maybe I’ll quote you in an upcoming blog post 🙂
You are beautiful and worthy of love–and you don’t need Botox to make you that way, no matter what your age is or what your skin looks like.
Healthy, glowing, clear, vibrant skin starts from within, with what you put into your body nutritionally, and what thoughts you allow in your mind. It’s important to care for your skin on the outside too–to protect it from the elements and toxicants with antioxidant-rich herbal skincare. When you do that regularly, you will look and feel your best.
Don’t wish away time, or cling to the past. The future is a gift that not everyone gets to live.
Remember the past–giggle at the pictures of your glory days when you were having the fun that created the stories behind the laugh lines that appear when you smile today. Remember the hard work you put in when you earned your degree, or got that promotion, or birthed that baby that put the elevens or frown lines on your forehead today. Don’t fear them or be ashamed of them.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting your skin to be smooth, clear, and firm–but there’s also nothing wrong with visible signs of aging that proof of a life well lived.