The first time I tried an injectable wrinkle reducer, I chronicled the entire appointment via my Instagram® Stories. As someone who documents her entire life on the ‘gram (my bio actually says “oversharer”), it was a no-brainer. I’m a beauty editor, it was a medical aesthetics treatment, and posting about it seemed no different than any of the other facials, products, or treatments that I’d been sharing for years.
What was different, though, was the response. My DMs were flooded with messages from people asking questions, sharing their (mostly positive) opinions, and thanking me for sharing my experience. The conversations that it sparked were open, honest, and important, and it made me realize just how vital it was to be authentic — for real — about what I was doing to my face. It’s been two years (and four injectable treatments) since that first post, and I haven’t walked into or out of a dermatologist’s office without sharing my experience. Here are three reasons why I’ll never stop.
Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They should not be used more frequently than every three months. Like any medical treatment, they have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you.
I have nothing to be ashamed about, because I’m in good company.
In the 2019 Allergan 360° Aesthetics ReportTM, more than half (60 percent) of survey participants around the world between 21 and 35 years old said that they would consider getting an injectable wrinkle reducer treatment at some point in their lives, and 15 percent of them already have. In other words, I am hardly alone in my decision to get injected. There are plenty of other women out there who are doing the exact same thing as I am — or who are, at the very least, thinking about it — so why should any of us feel any shame surrounding it?
For what it’s worth, I’m hardly the only one who’s talking about getting injected on the ‘gram. Plenty of my fellow beauty editors and a number of influencers have also spilled on their experiences for the sake of being real with their audiences. “The younger followers who are following women all over the net who are getting [injectable wrinkle reducers], nose jobs, lip injections, and more, and then wondering, ‘Why don’t I look like that?’ is more bothersome to me than getting some [injections] and being honest about it to my followers,” Megababe® founder and influencer Katie Sturino told SpotlyteTM.
Not posting about injectables feels like a big, fat lie.
It would be disingenuous of me to claim that the appearance of wrinkles on my forehead somehow magically smoothed out with only the help of some miracle-working moisturizer. No matter how diligent I am, topicals have their limitations — there are certain moderate to severe lines and wrinkles that even the most powerful retinol simply won’t fix. And yet, plenty of people on social media are still pretending that they do. “Some women and most celebrities don't cop to what they have had done,” says Sanam Hafeez, MD, NYC-based psychologist. “They claim ‘good genes,’ ‘healthy eating,’ and ‘great skincare,’ [which] can be really frustrating for women who are taking excellent care of themselves, but still have wrinkles and sagging.”
Retinol shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.
While most of us know to take celebrities’ claims of having had “no work done” with a grain of salt, the same isn’t necessarily true when it comes to the “real” women we see in our everyday lives. Considering that in the U.S., women are more likely to base their definitions of beauty on friends and family than on celebs, it feels like I have a responsibility to say, “FYI, I wouldn’t look like this without the help of a very steady-handed dermatologist.”
“Whether someone chooses to partake in injectable wrinkle reducers or not, the fact that other women know the truth about how you look at a certain age is comforting,” says Dr. Hafeez. “It makes other women feel less inadequate because there is a concrete reason why the other woman looks that way as opposed to a perceived ‘failure’ on her own part.”
I’m sick and tired of the stigma around injectables.
Real talk: the old taboo around getting (and talking about!) injectable wrinkle reducers is ridiculous. So, so many people are trying them — in 2018, almost 7.5 million treatments were carried out, and the numbers have only risen from there. Yet, while the conversation has certainly started to shift in the last few years, we’re still a long way from it being totally stigma-free. In sharing my experience openly, it’s been my hope to normalize it as much as possible, so that other women feel comfortable doing the same. Why should any of us have to be embarrassed about doing something that we want to do?
Ultimately, smashing this stigma is a step forward for all of us. “The more honest women are with each other [in person] and on social media, the fewer issues women [may] have with self-esteem as they age,” says Dr. Hafeez. And I completely agree.