By Carole Mikita, Deseret News
Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011 6:50pm MDT
SALT LAKE CITY — The story of a California mother who is giving her 8-year-old daughter Botox injections so she’ll do well in beauty pageants has become the water cooler story all over the web.
It seems that everyone is talking about it.
“Shocking,” “outrageous,” “dangerous” were some of the reactions from Utah plastic surgeons and pageant directors Thursday.
Kerry Campbell said she dreams of her daughter, Brittany, becoming a star.
“I know one day she will be a model, actress or singer, and having these treatments now will ensure she stays looking younger and baby-faced for longer,” she told the British tabloid The Sun last year.
Kerry said she is an esthetician, a person who does cosmetic skin treatments. Utah doctors were asking questions Thursday, wondering if she is licensed and wondering who supplies the Botox.
“I was very surprised. That’s the first time I saw something so strange. I was appalled by the news,” said Utah plastic surgeon Dr. Renato Saltz. “Like any other drug, it has risks. When you think that someone without adequate training and without perhaps any safety precautions is injecting in a child, to me it sounds criminal.”
A Utah pageant director is also questioning the practice.
“A child is not an adult, a child cannot make that decision on their own. So I just feel like that is not an appropriate thing for a mother to do for a small child,” said Renita Revill, executive director of the Miss Utah Scholarship Pageant, a program that places girls with older contestants and together they perform service projects.
“Little girls are beautiful just the way they are,” she said. “Why would you ever want to change that? How can a Botox injection be beneficial in any way to a little girl?”
Campbell claims “everyone is doing it,” meaning other little girls in pageants. She also says she waxes her daughter’s legs and bikini line.
“I haven’t seen an 8-year-old, and I have children, who have any wrinkles that need to be paralyzed to start with, so that is just totally nonsense,” Saltz said.
Some young women do get Botox treatments, but there is a recommended age.
“We recommend only 18 and older to be treated with Botox.” Saltz said. “It’s a recommendation from the manufacturers, a recommendation from the FDA and we just follow that. I think you have to be an adult to make an adult decision.”
Revill echoed that sentiment.
“There is always the exception of someone who thinks. ‘Oh, I am not good enough the way I am. I’ve got to win, I’ve got to have the perfect hair, I’ve got to have the perfect body and if I have to have help getting that perfect body, I will,’” she said.
“If she’s an adult woman, that’s fine. But the majority of the girls are beautiful just the way they are and they learn to take what they have and expand and make themselves better.”