As many of us were growing up, we were slowly lured to think that there is an ideal body image that is acceptable to society. There were times that were mindful about the way we look, even at a young age. Around the world, people have been consuming media that developed a sense of ‘what is beautiful’ in the subconscious. TV programs and commercials showed celebrities with the perfect body shape. Magazines and billboards contained faces that are fair and blemish-free. And now, in social media, the pressure continues as we see influencers and famous people showing off their flawless skin and bodies.

Today, the public’s desire to look good increases, with many turning to cosmetic procedures to ‘fix’ the problems one might have on their physical appearance. Statistics support this, with over 17.7 million procedures done last year in the U.S alone. From this number, 7.4 million of the procedures administered are Botox. This is a 3% increase from the Botox treatments done in 2017, and a massive 845% increase from 2000.

Why has Botox become so popular? For one, it can solve many problems on the face, including wrinkles, crow’s feet, lines around the mouth, gummy smile, and dimple chin, to name a few. Indeed, Botox is angled towards treating the symptoms of aging that show on a person’s face. Secondly, it’s a fast procedure, it’s minimally invasive, and has no downtime. It ticks all the boxes. Remember, though, that you should only get Botox from licensed medical professionals. This is still a medical procedure and you are going under a needle.

Surprisingly, it’s not just the wonders Botox can do physically that ultimately sells it to masses. More than the banishment of wrinkles, people get Botox because of the instant confidence boost that comes with it. That’s what it is – empowerment in a syringe. It’s about loving the way you look when you see your reflection in the mirror. It’s that added lift in your soul, the feeling that you are more confident when you walk around town. With the promise of amazing results, Botox has the power to ease stress and make a person feel happier and more beautiful.

Today, Botox, as well as other cosmetic procedures, are being normalized. Gone are the days when it was only those in the spotlight who regularly visit aesthetic clinics. No longer do people have to talk about getting something ‘done’ in hushed tones. In fact, Botox patients are getting younger and younger; and substantially more open about the topic even on social media.

And while many use Botox as a personal choice to improve physical appearance, there is a sad reality for some. Teenagers sometimes beg their parents to allow them or ‘gift’ them a Botox session to avoid bullying. Adults, on the other hand, get the treatment in order to get ahead professionally and give their career a boost.

If one wants to get cosmetic treatments, whether once or on the reg, the important thing is to know when to stop. Society is imposing unrealistic beauty standards which may pressure a person to obsess over his/her physical appearance. Check yourself. If you feel that you are constantly obsessed about minimal blemishes and quick-fix procedures to the point where it’s unhealthy, you may be suffering from body dysmorphia. This mental condition is increasingly observable today, urging cosmetic clinics to do a mental health check on all patients before allowing them to undergo a procedure.

The normalisation of cosmetic treatments may have positive and negative effects, but it all comes down to a person’s choice. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to do something that makes you feel more beautiful and confident, as long as you know you’re mentally stable with or without treatments. Just keep in mind that aging is a natural process one must embrace. After all, it’s our character, not our appearance, which really defines who we are.