Hi, my name is Shanna, I am 37 years old, and I am proudly sporting deep forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet.
However, I did not always proudly sport forehead creases and smile lines.
In fact, I hated them.
If you follow along my blog or social media, you know I am pretty darn open about how much I’ve changed my nutrition and lifestyle over the past year and a half after hitting my rock bottom.
I truly feel like a different person today.
One of the changes I made a year and a half ago when I said, “Enough! I am sick and tired of being sick and tired?”
Today I am sharing a part of my AIP life: why I stopped getting botox.
The Science Behind the Dangers of Botox
Maybe you read the title of this article and are hoping I am plan on taking a deep dive into the science behind the dangers of Botox along with a medical cost/benefit analysis.
I am not. I do not feel qualified to do the subject justice, but I will point you to my go to health-related science expert Dr. Sarah Ballantyne. I’ve been hoping, wishing, and waiting for Dr. Sarah to come out with some information on Botox, backed by scientific studies and research.
As a result, I felt thrilled when her and Stacy Toth released an entire Paleo View podcast episode dedicated to “Must-Know Botox Info.” It’s an hour long, and packed with information EVERY woman who is considering Botox, or getting Botox, should know!
In fact, if you are short on time, stop reading this blog post, and go give their “Must-Know Botox Info” podcast episode a listen! THAT’s how important I feel it is to know the potential dangers related to Botox, backed by studies and research. I promise it is worth the time!
So if I am not touching on the science/dangers of Botox, what the heck am I doing here? I am simply sharing my experience with Botox, my reasons for getting it done previously, and why I stopped.
My History with Botox
I started getting Botox around the age of 35. Living in Southern California, it felt like EVERYONE got Botox. In fact, I received invitations for a number of Botox parties in the years prior to starting Botox. I held off on getting Botox for a number of years because I innately felt I should not, since I already experienced a number of undiagnosed health symptoms.
So, why did I end up doing it anyway?
For a couple of reasons, most of which are embarrassing to admit…
Living in Southern California, surrounded by wrinkle free, sun worshipping goddesses, I became increasingly aware of my smile lines and forehead creases over the years.
As humiliating as it is to admit, it seemed like everyone received Botox injections with no negative side effects…so I finally caved.
In my defense, I did try to go to the best places I could, and I did ask questions about the dangers of Botox prior to receiving the injections. Each time, I received a brief explanation that Botox has been around for “years and years,” is safe, and the only dangers are minimal.
I coughed up the money a number of times, and received Botox for maybe a year and a half or two years…until I hit my personal rock bottom at the end of 2017.
Side Rant: Botox is Pricey!
At the time, Botox seemed worth every penny.
My thoughts now? For the money I spent on Botox, my husband and I could have stayed in a suite on a Caribbean cruise for over a week!
The woman I am now is smacking her hand on her forehead, and would choose the cruise, hands down, ALL day long.
Back then, I handled our finances by myself, and I felt embarrassed by how much money I spent on Botox.
I did not hide it from my husband, but I did not advertise it either.
Instead, I rationalized it. I considered it worth every penny to feel beautiful.
The truth? The money I spent on Botox did not buy myself self-confidence.
Lies I Did Not Realize My Sub-Conscious Told Me
When my forehead wrinkles and smile lines were gone, my attention then turned to other imperfections.
All of a sudden, my lips seemed too thin. Maybe I should try lip injections.
The skin under my chin now bothered me. Maybe I should get an injection there.
I stopped at Botox, and did not get any further injections, but I wanted to at the time.
When I stopped getting Botox, I analyzed my reasons for getting it in the first place, and realized my sub-conscious lied to me.
What lies did it tell me?
Lie #1: “You are not good enough…but you will be IF you get Botox.”
I want to give that Shanna a BIG hug, and a slap in the face, all at the same time.
I AM good enough and my self-worth has everything to do with who I am as woman, and nothing to do with the way I look.
I am a Child of God…daughter of my Heavenly Father. As a result, I am of infinite worth, and my worth has nothing to do with what I see when I look in the mirror.
I do not need anyone else’s approval except that of my own and my Father in Heaven. My own approval should have nothing to do with the depth of my smile lines, and everything to do with who I am as a person.
Lie #2: “You need to get Botox so your husband stays with you.”
My husband is about to turn 40 in a couple of months, and STILL gets mistaken for being in his twenties….not early thirties, but twenties!!
How is a woman supposed to keep up with that?
For cryin’ out loud!
As if to add insult to injury, my husband is hotter than the day I married him.
No wonder my sub-conscious told me I needed Botox for him to stay with me.
My self-confidence at that point in time, in case it’s not crystal clear by now? Pretty darn non-existent.
My decision to get Botox had everything to do with how I felt about myself, and my own fears and insecurity.
The reality? What is my husband’s opinion of me? He told me I am beautiful / hot / or some version of a manly grunt of approval when I’m getting dressed practically every day of our 18-year marriage. Even when I gained 60 pounds with my pregnancies. Even when the weight was SO slow to come off after having our second. However, I could not hear him over the voice in my head saying otherwise.
My husband never disapproved of me or my body. He’s only ever said positive things about my body, and he cannot keep his hands off me even now.
Why couldn’t that be enough for me? Why couldn’t I trust him? Why did I waste most of the 18 years of our marriage brushing off his loving comments and instead listen to my own insecure inner voice?
It had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me.
What Helped Me?
Honestly, I did not have a moment where I declared “no more Botox.”
It was more of a gradual evolution.
Prior to starting my wellness journey, I spent years getting acrylics on my nails, pedicures as often as possible, and fake eyelashes filled every two weeks.
I did it all in the name of “self-care” and doing something for myself. I love the concept of self-care and taking time out for myself, and those were my stepping stones to what I consider self-care today.
When I started my wellness journey, I realized getting Botox, my nails done, and fake eyelashes just did not feel like self-care to me anymore…and at my rock bottom I could not keep it all up. I could barely function, let alone go get my eyelashes filled.
Instead, I started doing things like taking Epsom salt baths, getting reflexology massages, going on walks in nature, meditating, and journaling.
Eventually, my new self-care habits crowded out the old. I cannot remember the last time I went to get my nails done or went for a pedicure. Not because I think there is anything wrong with them..there are even non-toxic, organic nail salons with great options! I just only have so much time in the day, and I truly love doing other things instead.
That may change again. Who knows. If a friend called me up to go get a mani/pedi, I’d love to go simply to spend time with a friend. So please do not think I am judging any of those things. I promise I am not! I am simply sharing how much I’ve changed my mindset surrounding my appearance.
My game changers? Self-awareness through self-reflection, meditation, journal writing, and working with a professional.
Being aware of WHY I am making choices is key to my health and wellness.
I wish I could say I’ve nailed the whole “self-confidence” thing. I have not. I continue to work on building my self-confidence, and learning to feel comfortable in my skin in any situation.
I am a work in progress.
Did I Experience Any Botox Side Effects?
I cannot say for sure.
I will say my autoimmune symptoms did increase after I started getting Botox, and some of my autoimmune symptoms overlap with Botox side effects. However, I cannot confidently say Botox caused it. I am confident, in my case, Botox hurt my health to some degree but I can in no way prove it.
I will also say that my autoimmune symptoms gradually improved after I stopped receiving Botox injections a year and a half ago (or longer). However, I also overhauled my nutrition, started the autoimmune protocol, and adopted a number of wellness practices. Therefore, I cannot say quitting Botox improved my symptoms. I am confident, in my case, it did help. Again, I cannot prove it.
If you suspect Botox may be negatively affecting your health, please make time to listen to The Paleo View podcast episode “Must-Know Botox Info.”
Despite how it may sound, I promise I am not judging anyone who chooses to get Botox. I am simply explaining MY reasons for getting Botox, and my reasons for stopping Botox.
Further, I am not saying my opinion is right, or that no one should ever get Botox. There are medical reasons to get Botox, and a cost/benefit analysis is necessary.
We are all different and on different paths. If you are all about getting Botox like clockwork every three months, I pinky promise I am not judging you. At all!
I am simply sharing my realizations about what I consider an expensive habit that possibly resulted in some degree of negative health effects.
Diet, lifestyle, and exercise impact skin health and aging. My forehead wrinkles and smile lines may be back in full force, but I am continuing my wellness journey. I know that as I keep living according to the autoimmune protocol (AIP) template, and focus on wellness practices, my skin health will improve.
My smile lines remind me of all of the good times, happy moments, laughter and joy…and that I am choosing to LIVE despite my health struggles and autoimmune disease diagnosis.
I will admit I miss my wrinkle free face, but I love the new me!