At the age of 34 I was living and working overseas in Hong Kong, and the thought of getting Botox had never entered my mind for a second! In fact for me, I think like a lot of people, the word "Botox" just represented anything and everything that women wasted their money on injecting into their face as they got older. It just wasn't on my radar.
I have a relatively young-looking face as it is. A bit of age would actually help in business settings, where I was often perceived as younger than my real age. Yet it was almost on a whim that I decided to try it when accompanying my wife to one of her regular laser sessions at a medical salon in Hong Kong.
I don't even remember what caused me to decide to try it. Maybe it was part "we're spending so much money on her skin and face, why not get a little something for me" mixed with a bit of curiosity, opportunity (I was already there in the clinic), and me just starting to notice those very first mid-thirties creases starting to appear around and above my eyes.
So I said "What the heck!" sure, I'll try it.
I don't remember how many units I got nor what the price per unit was. After 6 or 8 mild pokes in the forehead, I was done. The treatment itself was a piece of cake. The flu shot is more uncomfortable.
The next day all the wrinkle-causing muscles in my forehead were frozen. It was a strange feeling at first when I tried to move them, but it felt like nothing when I wasn't paying attention to it.
What surprised me the most was that the skin that didn't even really have wrinkles also appeared much smoother somehow. It has an instantaneous effect on your appearance once it's kicked in, and not just a preventative effect that keeps you from squinting and squeezing and making wrinkles and creases worse.
(I realized only a year later that I had actually gotten Dysport the first time, a very similar neurotoxin that works the same way as Botox but kicks in in about a day. Botox takes up to 7-10 days to take effect, but it tends to wear off more slowly ie last longer than the other neurotoxins in the market. Xeomin and a relatively new product called Jeuveau finish out the four neurotoxins with FDA approval in the USA.)
A Secret…or not really
I took a year off work (and Botox) before moving back to Southern California in 2018, and since then I have been a regular user. Like when I look in the mirror and just realize it's time for a haircut, every few months or so I now have the same realization that it's time to top up on the "'tox".
After talking to people here in SoCal and paying more attention to the industry, I began to realize that not only are more women getting Botox than I thought...sometimes starting as early as 18, 19, 20… so are men!
According to an Allergan representative I spoke to, the male market for Botox from 2017 to 2018 grew 122%! While the overall Botox market grew about 22%. Even 22% growth is phenomenal for most mature products, but men are jumping on the train, finally, that women have been on for a while now.
In fact, a quick web search will find articles from 2016 and 2017 with titles like "'Brotox': It's Time For Men To Come Out Of The Closet" and "Has Botox For Men Gone Mainstream?".
The Last Piece
The last leg of this journey of discovery, in my eyes, is the lingering (or perhaps PERCIEVED) social stigma. "Everybody does Botox" is often thrown around, but the fact that a) it's safe b) it actually works and is a great product and c) "I do it too!" are like poorly kept secrets that are finally getting the veil lifted on them. People aren't afraid to admit it… Celebrities don't have to sneak in the back door of their clinic. Nowadays whenever I tell someone that I get Botox (even someone that I don't expect gets it themselves) I almost only ever get one of two replies: "Oh me too", or “Really? Yeah, I think I probably should try it too”.