Scary things that can happen to your face when you use too much Botox (or have a doctor who sucks at it)

Star Trek Spock Leonard Nimoy

I love British newspapers, I really do. For the second time in just over six months, the Daily Mail has run a story on Botox—and it’s not the kind of rah-rah, everyone-should-do-it type of piece you’re likely to find over on this side of the pond.

No, the article is about a beauty writer who started getting Botox injections 18 years ago, at the age of 29. (Funnily enough, it was for a magazine article and therefore probably gratis—that’s how you start to get hooked on these things, I tell you!) Anyway, at first it worked… but then things went horribly wrong—wrong enough that she decided to give it up for good.

Now I’m not really against Botox—heck, I just got some myself at a media event about a month ago (I’ll be posting a video soon with some tips from the docs). But the fact that it can backfire and actually make you look WORSE really scares me. This is the thing Nobody Talks About. (Or at least nobody in North America.) So let’s!

Probably the most common thing that happens when Botox goes wrong is a little thing called “Spocking.” As in brows that do this:

Spock brows Scary things that can happen to your face when you use too much Botox (or have a doctor who sucks at it)

I hate, hate, hate when I see women going around with these weird brows—because it means their doctors didn’t do proper follow-up, in person, with Before and After photos. (Apparently a certain percentage of the population will “Spock” but it can be corrected by injecting more into the right place to drop them back down.)

And then there are the “bunny lines” I wrote about back in May. In some sort of sick revenge, these NEW wrinkles develop when you paralyze the surrounding muscles:

nicole kidman botox bunny lines Scary things that can happen to your face when you use too much Botox (or have a doctor who sucks at it)

As if those weren’t enough, the poor Daily Mail writer developed other issues. Her doc injected it to correct sagging along the jawline, but it completely changed her smile:

“I ­normally had a wide beam in which my upper lip became quite straight. Now, my upper lip drooped in the ­centre, giving my smile a strange, slightly sinister curve.”

Sinister? Couple that with the Spock brows and you could scare small children.

Other strange side effects included a forehead that looked preternaturally smooth but brows that became “too heavy.” And then she went to the dentist, but couldn’t open her mouth properly because it was, well, frozen. And not from anything the dentist did.

Crazy! Here she is WITH Botox (“wrinkle-free but expressionless,” says the Daily Mail):

Leah Hardy Botox Scary things that can happen to your face when you use too much Botox (or have a doctor who sucks at it)

And here she is after she gave it up:

Leah Hardy no Botox Scary things that can happen to your face when you use too much Botox (or have a doctor who sucks at it)

Seriously—the only wrinkles in the no-Bo shot that I can detect are around the eyes. (And hello? If your eyes don’t crinkle a bit when you smile, you look like an alien.) Also note that her face in the second pic is fuller—so don’t spend too much time at the gym because fat plumps up wrinkles, ladies!

As for celebrities, Kylie’s sister Dannii Minogue, who is a big star in the UK and whose first name has a couple too many consonants and vowels, is maybe the only one I’m aware of who has gone on record saying she gave up Botox. (Many other stars, including Rachel Weisz and Kate Winslet, have spoken out against it, but I haven’t heard whether they used it and then stopped… or just never did it at all. Or maybe they are all lying.)

Anyway, apparently Dannii was urged by her facialist to give it up because it was actually making her look OLDER. Can you believe?

Here’s her Freeze Face before:

Dannii Minogue with Botox Scary things that can happen to your face when you use too much Botox (or have a doctor who sucks at it)

And now, au naturel:

Dannii Minogue without Botox Scary things that can happen to your face when you use too much Botox (or have a doctor who sucks at it)

Again, I kind of dig the eye crinkles—do you?

Now, apparently some docs—in the UK at least—are ALSO starting to realize that “Botox 4 All” isn’t necessarily a good thing. Especially for women in their 40s or older. I thought this excerpt from the article was interesting:

“Vicky Dondos of the Medicetics clinic in ­London says that she is super-careful with Botox with older ­clients: ‘A ­completely smooth forehead can create a huge contrast to any ­sagging and ­wrinkling on the lower half of the face, making it look worse.

Botoxing between the eyebrows can eventually increase the space between them so the eyebrows look too far apart and the skin becomes saggy.

‘I’m longer convinced that Botox works wonders as beauty treatment for the over 40s’

‘Also, some ­doctors try to raise the eyebrows too much with Botox, leaving the eyelids looking stretched and with too much creepy skin on show.

‘It gives a “tugged” look which is very ageing.’”

Just… WOW.

I post all of this not because I don’t think anybody should ever get Botox, ever, but because I want you, if you DO get it, to realize the risks and then make an informed decision. These days, it feels like everybody and their mother is offering Botox shots, but it’s still a serious medical procedure. And it’s much, much better to under-treat than to over-treat. We’ve all seen the Heidi Montag clones who work at plastic surgeons’ or even dermatologists’ offices… let them be a cautionary tale.

Anyway! Like I said, a video is coming soon with some tips on how to make sure you get a good result from injections… but in the meantime, I think we should all watch this vid from Justine Bateman (yes, THAT Justine Bateman):

Have you ever tried Botox?
Do you think the Daily Mail writer and Dannii Minogue look better with or without the Bo?
What about Justine Bateman—is her perspective refreshing or do you think she should at least try an anti-aging cream?


Friday, November 5/2010 at 5:15 pm

The only place where I would consider botox is my forehead, between the eyes. I would never touch anything else. It just looks weird and too obvious around the lips.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 1:02 pm

Yep, I agree. Well, okay, maybe also a bit around the crow’s feet as I don’t think that really distorts your face. And I have zero problem with people using Botox to erase those “11′s” (frown lines) between the eyes that make them look angry or pain, sad, etc. all the time.

But when docs start trying to use Botox to “lift” other areas of the face, that’s when I think bad things can happen…


Friday, November 5/2010 at 11:05 pm

Wow. Just, wow. Best post ever. Thank you so much for this.

I am the same age as Justine and there are times when I see the lines, the hollows etc and wonder- do I need to inject? To plump? All I can say is thank goodness for my incredible children- if I get insecure they tell me I am beautiful and that they would be so sad/mad if I dared to “change” my face.

Bless Justine for her maturity. For being so grown up and for not taking the BS that Hollywood dishes out. She is beautiful.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 1:09 pm

Oh my gosh thank you Jane! I love that Justine Bateman video, don’t you? It’s kind of scary the way society is moving… like having wrinkles is no longer normal! But you are SO right – children know you are beautiful just the way you are! As I said to Anya above, I really think Botox’s main benefit is taking away the “angry” look some people get. Using it to lift and change your face is scary.

Plus you can definitely do a lot with makeup. I just interviewed a makeup artist the other day for a magazine story I’m working on and she had TONS of tips for dealing with lines, sagging etc. I’ll make a note to post some of her advice – it was good!


Saturday, November 6/2010 at 5:32 pm

I’m definitely not a fan of Botox though it’s a personal choice, and I won’t look down on anyone who does it. The idea of getting it injected into my face scares me, I’m pretty sure I’d be the horror story about an allergic or adverse reaction. I can’t think of any “with” vs “without” pics where I’ve thought the “with” pic looked better. Maybe in extremely small amounts it can work but I’d rather stay away. I’ll probably haqve moments where I hate my wrinkles as I get older but I’d rather take care of myself and age as gracefully as I can than fight it and end up worse off.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 5:46 pm

You hit the nail on the head – the real key to aging gracefully is taking good care of yourself. I see so many people who never sleep, eat crap, drink pop, smoke, booze it up etc and they have to know that will show up on their skin sooner or later. I think if you’re living well then you probably won’t *need* to make drastic corrections later on with injections. But yeah – like I said I don’t have a problem with a tiny bit here or there.


Saturday, November 6/2010 at 6:39 pm

First off – the lady in the UK paper….looks so much more normal with no-bo. With bo….something artificial….
I mean, in Toronto you see alot of it, espically around the places I hang out (I play tennis) and the women look stiff, their facial movements look like someone imitating a laugh or a smile. I can see the temptation …but some of the mistakes look more terrifying than any wrinkles.

2nd….Justine Bateman rocks. She is still beautiful, but in the grown woman way now. She looks her age.

Great article.

I am not a fan of botox….I have seen some scary looking women….so I would rather just age with grace. :-)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Sunday, November 14/2010 at 9:05 pm

Love your comment Kathy, thanks! (I am dying to know where you play tennis, haha!)

I agree about there being something unnatural with regular Botox users – it’s like you can’t put your finger on exactly what or where it is, but you know the person has fiddled with their face. And the funny thing is that all those so-called flaws are likely not even noticeable to anybody else!

That said, I do know one person with heavily sun damaged skin, who looks waaay older than she actually is, and I DO think a tiny bit of Botox would actually be a great improvement. But definitely moderation is the key. And a skilled doctor.


Monday, November 8/2010 at 12:10 pm

Botox creeps me out! Aging gracefully beats Botox any day!


Monday, November 8/2010 at 3:50 pm

The with/without shot of the writer: WOW! The writer looks SO much better without it!! I wonder why she ever thought she needed to use it in the first place?

I am on the fence about The Bo. I’m the same age as the writer was when she started getting injections (29), and I can’t imagine starting that at my age! I’m BARELY starting to see signs of wrinkles, and I’m def not worried about it. But I’m not at an age where wrinkles are really an “issue” yet so who knows what’ll happen in the future. But honestly, I think I’d rather blow the money on shoes or purses … or a months’ rent.

As for other people, they can do what they want. But really, take a look in the mirror and tell me if you think the frozen forehead looks good.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Sunday, November 14/2010 at 9:10 pm

Hey Gimped – I’ve talked to a lot of derms about when is the “right” age to think about injections and they all say there is none… it’s really about what bothers you. They say starting early can ‘prevent’ lines from getting deeper and more permanent… but I personally think that’s a) crazy expensive and b) putting yourself on the fast track to being a Frozen Face!

Agree re: forehead lines. Getting rid of them just looks unnatural.


Monday, November 8/2010 at 6:54 pm

It all depends on your face structure and the skill of the doctor injecting you as well as what kind of expectations. I think it can do a lot, I don’t have anything against it, I might try some in 10 years, but less seems to be more in this type of thing.

I also wouldn’t mind trying out some juvederm or restylene in my nasolabial folds in a few years.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Sunday, November 14/2010 at 9:14 pm

You’re so right – everyone needs a good doc + realistic expectations about what results are possible on your own face. I’m not sure if it’s the docs or the patients who start to over-reach and inject in more and more places. They need to have some restraint!

The other thing that worries me is how Botox is available everywhere these days. It’s definitely more risky in terms of results to have a nurse injecting you, or a doctor who doesn’t specifically specialize in aesthetic medicine. I’ve heard horror stories of many so-called “top” docs so people really need to do their research.


Wednesday, September 19/2012 at 8:23 pm

I’m only 20 years old but my cheeks are already sagging. I think this was probably due to my dramatic weight loss when I got sick before. I look much older than my age because of this. Is there any remedy for this?? Help me please. And NO surgeries or botox, please. Thanks in advance!


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