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Beauty

Op Ed: Can Self Love & Botox Co-Exist?

Can I really love myself if I hate my frown lines?

I did two new things I’ve never done before today. I held a silicone breast implant for the first time that acted as a stress ball, and I had Botox injected into my forehead.

In my line of work, I’ve learned that you gain the best experiences (and you get to re-tell the most entertaining stories at parties) if you have the ‘I’ll try anything once’ attitude. I’ve stepped into a chamber that went as low as -106 degree Celcius in my birthday suit to give my body a circulatory response that creates a rosy glow. I’ve gotten a facial where I got electrocuted for the sake of beauty. And today, I walked out of Epion Clinic in Tudor Court with Botox in my forehead at the ripe, old age of 32.

I don’t have deep set lines in my forehead, neither do I have tiny wrinkles from laughing too much that I don’t love. I do have droopy skin under my eyebrows that make me look permanently sleepy but as I held on to the breast implant-turned stress ball, I found myself wondering — can self-love and aesthetic enhancements co-exist, or are they two entirely separate entities altogether?

After having no time to myself for about 1.5 years after having had a child, I got myself a facial a few weeks ago and was told a lot of things I didn’t like. And suddenly, my list of two to three things that I’d like to change about my skin became a list, littered with concerns: wrinkles, age spots, dryness, oiliness and blackheads. Everywhere. It’s bad enough that my post-breastfeeding boobs meet my belly button — I really didn’t want a future where I could be cast as an extra on the remake of The Witches.

It’s no surprise of course that the US recently made it compulsory for cosmetic procedure clinics to screen customers for mental health issues before administering Botox and fillers. Dr Rachel Ho of La Clinic shared her insight, “The purpose of this screening of patients is to identify patients who have a psychological disorder called Body Dysmorphic Disorder who constantly seek treatments to correct their perceived flaws and typically remain extremely unsatisfied with their appearance.”

“Personally, I feel that formally screening patients for psychological disorders is a necessary measure as the doctor should already assess your history and concerns and evaluate your facial or body features in relation. To subject every patient to a formal screen for mental health issues would also negatively affect the doctor-patient relationship. The additional resources involved would also bring up the costs of treatments for patients,” she adds.

I’ve always been all for cosmetic enhancements as long as you still look like yourself. Whether it’s a needle injecting something into your face, or tools scraping your skin to give you some semblance of eyebrows, we’re all in pursuit of looking better, and cosmetic enhancements, whether surgical, or one without downtime like Botox, the results need to look like yourself — but better.

So the question still remains — can you love your body and indulge in vanity at the same time? Absolutely. As long as you know it comes from a place of self-love and not self-loathe. That it doesn’t matter that you don’t look like all the girls on Instagram, and meet the arbitrary standards that society has have set — because well, ultimately, you’re you and you’re just trying to look like a better version of you whether it’s through Botox, breast implants or even something as minor as eyelash extensions.

At the end of the day, if there’s one thing I’m sure, it’s that self-worth lies outside the realm of what is visible. I may not love my body all the time, but I love living in it — even if it’s with a much less expressive forehead for the next four months or so.

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