Has Botox jumped the shark?

botox use dropsJennifer Aniston said she tried it once but didn't like how it made her face feel. Her BFF Courteney Cox Arquette felt the same way after one injection. And Oscar winner Kate Winslet has said she refuses to try it because she "wants to be able to really show the expressions" on her face.

What are these beautiful actresses talking about? Botox, of course. Could these women be the vanguard to a backlash against the nerve-freezing compound?

Figures for Botox did dip in 2009, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). In 2008, more than 5 million injections of botulinum toxin type A were performed, compared to 4,795,357 in 2009, a 4% drop. In contrast, minimally invasive procedures, which include Botox, increased by 1% in that same period.

But don't think all your favorite actors and actresses have decided to forgo fighting Mother Nature. Given the slow economic recovery, they and many Americans continue to go under the needle, perhaps on a more wallet-friendly plan.

"The recession has caused many people to rethink their luxury purchases, such as cars, vacations and, yes, Botox," says Dr. Anthony Youn, a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in Michigan. "The average cost of a Botox session is approximately $500, which is considered a luxury item by most people. I'm finding in my practice that most patients are not discontinuing Botox altogether, but instead are having it performed less often -- twice a year vs. three times a year -- or are having it injected in smaller amounts to 'spread the wealth' and save some money."

Dr. John A. Perrotti, a board certified plastic surgeon based in Manhattan, agrees, saying he sees a similar drop in his practice. He too believes price is the culprit, adding, patients "are trying to increase the interval between procedures to save money."

Meanwhile, in the heart of Southern California, Dr. Alexander Rivkin, founder of Westside Aesthetics, says that he and his colleagues have not seen any such slowdown because Botox is so entrenched there.

Still, Rivkin says he's glad that Botox isn't in as high demand as before in other parts of the country. "There have recently been several stories in the media about Hollywood casting agents and directors choosing the 'natural' look over the 'done' look that too much Botox and overfilled lips produce. I can only hope that this trend continues and the overinflated, paralyzed Heidi Montags of this world are relegated to our cultural Dumpster."
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