I just finished reading the book “Beauty Junkies: Inside Our $15 Billion Obsession With Cosmetic Surgery” by Alex Kuczynski, a New York Times reporter and freelance writer. If you’re fascinated by plastic surgery/cosmetic surgery, cosmetic medical procedures, and America’s obsession with achieving eternal youth, you will like this book. The book is not extremely entertaining, since there is so much detail about the history of beauty and plastic surgery, and there are so many facts and figures that might bore a lot of people. I was drawn to this book because I saw Alex on TV, and she said that she’s never planning on getting Botox or other cosmetic Dermatology or cosmetic surgery procedures again. I bought the book to see why, and I hoped to gain some deeper insight into why I am so concerned about aging, and how I can stop my own obsession with it.
There are stories about people obsessed with cosmetic surgery and Botox (aka “pretty poison”), which I love reading about because I feel mild compared to these people! I’m scared of surgery, so until I start seeing major things going wrong on my face or body, I won’t consider surgery. The book contains lots of horror stories about procedures going wrong, so it’s crucial to find a skilled doctor that is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Alex touches on my personal pet peeve – society’s new obsession with a fake Pamela Anderson/pornstar symbol of beauty – breast implants, hair extensions, trout pout puffy lips, chicklet white teeth, and super tanned skin.
Alex and I do share a similarity in our outlook on beauty – we don’t deem ourselves obsessed with beauty – we just want to look good for our age, and this requires “maintenance.” However, towards the end of the book, Alex realizes that she is indeed obsessed with beauty, and she is a beauty junkie. She starts out by getting Botox, photo facials, microdermabrasion, Juvederm, and spends all of her money on these procedures. She takes her obsession a bit further when she gets liposuction and an eyelid lift. Finally, her obsession nears rock-bottom when she attends her friend’s funeral, but runs out halfway through so that she can keep her coveted appointment to try Restylane in her lips for the first time. An adverse reaction (which I’ve never seen at my Medical Spa) leaves her with grotesquely swollen lips, and she can’t speak for several days.
Since writing the book, Alex has sworn off Botox, Restylane, and cosmetic surgery. She found the whole beauty obsession to be distracting, while not producing the goals she sought – happiness and satisfaction. At this point I am still a fan of Botox and will not swear it off anytime soon. My ultimate goal is to be happy enough with my looks and the aging process so that I don’t feel the need to prevent wrinkles and prevent aging. I would like to not worry about my looks and just be happy with myself and my accomplishments. I’m not there yet…