Foreheads Rejoice: Is The Recession Loosening Botox's Death Grip?

Oh noes! Will boob jobs and Botox be felled by the mean old economy? Say it ain't soooo!

We knew the implant industry had taken a hit, but brace yourself: according to the New York Times, Botox, which analysts thought could weather any storm, is down. "The company reported that sales of Botox - both for wrinkle-smoothing and for medical problems like eyelid spasms - fell about 3 percent, to about $329 million in the fourth quarter, compared with the corresponding quarter in 2007." Also hurting: the face-plumping racket (which, in fairness, probably the same industry.)

As such, Allergan, the maker of Botox, is bring forced to lay off five percent of its workforce and use all sorts of incentives to entice people. "These include a $50 coupon on a Botox treatment and a $100 rebate if a customer buys two syringes of Juvéderm, a facial filler. The company has also just introduced Latisse, a $120 eyelash growth drug, which could help drive cosmetic consumers into doctors' offices." And sales are only expected to drop further.

What we'll be curious to see is how the industry rebounds. Sure, any hardcore Botox junkies aren't going to deny themselves, and as the Times points out, the bulk of Allergan's revenue comes from insurance-funded medical procedures. But as we know, cosmetic procedures can be addictive: what will happen to those people who have been forced to abstain from Botox and other such procedures and are forced to deal with their faces in their natural form, perhaps for the first time in years? Will they be appalled by the normal affects of living and time? Or will they, perhaps, come to deal with it - and even like it? We're hoping the latter. The Times calls this drop "Vanity's Downturn," but we're guessing the Seven Deadlies don't go that easy. More realistically, we're anticipating a major upswing in the "surgery-alternative" cream market.

Vanity's Downturn [New York Times]