real life

Protox: The professionals turning to Botox - and not because they want to look young.

The procedure of having something called botulinum toxin – one of the most poisonous substances on planet earth – injected into one’s face, has become one of the most popular cosmetic practices of the 21st century.

Australian’s are spending more than one billion dollars a year on Botox, a treatment that uses a neurotoxin to paralyse muscles.

And with every prick, whether it be to the forehead, the ‘crows feet’ or even into the arm pit, the procedure becomes just that little bit more normal – like dyeing your roots, or bleaching your teeth.

It is easy, of course, to roll our eyes and mutter something about ‘vanity’. If only, we fantasise, women could all hold hands, and commit to leaving our faces alone, embracing the inevitable process of ageing.

But that is not going to happen.

And, in fact, with every woman (or man) who chooses to get Botox, comes an entirely new and complex set of motivations, which are rarely as simple as ‘vanity’.

Earlier this month, James Adonis wrote a column for The Sydney Morning Herald, titled ‘Is Botox good for your career?’.

Adonis argues that Botox has come to profoundly influence everyday life, “possibly nowhere more so than your place of work”.

An employer, it is often reasoned, does not want to hire someone ‘old’ and ‘tired’. They want energy. A certain freshness. They need charisma, and what does charisma mean if not ‘attractive’? And what does attractive mean if not ‘young’?

But ‘protox’ (Botox for professionals) in some cases, has absolutely nothing to do with the desire to maintain a youthful appearance.

Listen: The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss the rise of protox. (Post continues…)

Kate told Mamamia that she lamented how one-sided the conversation about Botox had become.

“Protox has definitely impacted my career for the better and it has nothing to do with looking younger,” she said.

“Having Botox means my expressions are softened and means I don’t reflect the immediate panic I might be thinking.”

Kate said men in the workplace are respected for being calm in times of crisis, and the skill to remain level-headed is a favourable trait in all leaders. Botox means you don’t look concerned or worried which, Kate believes, makes you better at your job.

“It makes me a better manager and more trusted by my staff as I appear more relaxed, mature and knowledgeable,” Kate added.

Before undergoing the procedure, Kate recalled listening to a colleague explain a problem, before saying – rather startled – “I didn’t think it was that bad?”

Her expression had conveyed a level of concern, she said, that was far more severe than the situation demanded.

Image via Getty.

Simply, Kate would recommend the procedure to anyone.

Her justification is echoed by cosmetic surgeons like Dr Esho. He says there have been a wave of patients who want to reduce their facial expression, particularly people with naturally hyper-expressive features.

"I’ve seen a particular trend in professions such as law and banking, where patients in these careers feel that they will be taken more seriously," Dr Esho told The Independent

Similarly, plastic surgeon Dara Liotta told Refinery 29"My friend, who is a psychiatrist, said she spends so much time while patients are talking to her trying to not contract [her facial] muscles, so as to not appear judgemental, that she barely hears what they're saying.”

Botox was the solution.

Detectives and politicians are also seeking out Botox, is an attempt to hide their emotions, nerves or even a sweaty brow.

Listen: You can listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud, here:

The question here is not about 'right' or 'wrong' or 'superficial' or 'brave'.

When a cosmetic procedure like Botox experiences the unprecedented boom we've seen in the last two decades - the most important question is 'why'?

We're not vacuous or narcissistic.

We are just people, doing our best, making a choice that makes sense to us at a particular moment in time.

And it would be ridiculous to begrudge someone for that.