There is a lot of tendencies related to things that society supposes to be normal or abnormal when it comes to health. Considering a lot of changes that take place in such sphere of human activity as healthcare, it is necessary to think about the problem of medicalization that has a significant impact on people’s everyday lives and, to some extent, on self-awareness as it manages to change people’s assumptions related to normal and pathological conditions they may experience. The advertisement that I have decided to review is aimed at popularizing such drugs as Botox that allows mitigating the negative consequences of many medical conditions (Skinexpertstalk, 2013).
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In this particular advertisement video, Dr. Shannon Humphrey who is a dermatologist tells the audience that Botox injections may be used in order to achieve a lot of goals related to beauty and health; among other things, this drug remains an essential part of treatment aimed at dealing with hyperhidrosis, one of the conditions that have been medicalized recently. Using this term, specialists denote the condition related to abnormal sweating. It is known that perspiration allows us to fulfil a very important function as it helps to use body water in order to cool the skin if there is a need to regulate the temperature of the human body. At the same time, it can be said that in some cases the human body tends to produce too much sweat; therefore, the cooling system of the body does not work in the right way.
Hyperhidrosis has been medicalized recently; although it can be stated that excessive sweating may significantly decrease the quality of life of patients, make them worry about the way that their body looks and smells all the time, and cause a lack of self-confidence, such condition has not been regarded as abnormal earlier. As for the particular factors that may be regarded as important when it comes to the medicalization of this condition, it is necessary to mention that a lot of people experiencing excessive sweating have increased stress levels (Robinson, Loizidou, & Baker, 2015). Besides, it is known that this condition may also have a negative influence on physical health as it increases the risk of infections and causes skin diseases. As for specific trends related to the condition, it can be mentioned that hyperhidrosis can be of different types; sometimes it affects only certain parts of the body. Nowadays, it is known that it is closely interconnected with other diseases and it occurs more often in people suffering from endocrine disorders and vegetovascular dystonia. To some extent, it may be said that the condition may be related to income level as it often occurs due to the use of clothes and footwear made from cheap materials.
I found the chosen video on YouTube where it was posted about four years ago. As for the target audience for this media, there is no doubt that it is primarily used by younger people possessing computer literacy. Speaking about this particular video, I suppose that it was created in order to make people aware of one more method used to manage this medical condition and encourage ones suffering from hyperhidrosis to visit the health care center where it was filmed. Personally, I suppose that this video is targeted at younger people with relatively high incomes who suffer from hyperhidrosis. I make such a suggestion due to the fact that Botox injections are not cheap.
The drug advertised is very popular in many countries all over the world as its effects are used to treat different conditions and fight certain signs of aging such as wrinkles. This substance is produced by Clostridium botulinum and it was discovered more than a century ago. Apart from the discussed condition, Botox is used in order to mitigate the consequences of painful muscle spasms and alleviate chronic pain. Therefore, it can be stated that this very drug can fulfil a wide range of functions.
As for the advertisement, there are certain visual images used in it that are supposed to convince viewers that the use of Botox can bring only positive results; for instance, at the beginning of the video, we are shown the picture illustrating the effects of Botox injections for face. This picture shows a woman before and after the series of injections and this picture is also supposed to encourage people to try this medical procedure. Besides, the video is divided into several parts. Between them, there are a few sentences that appear on the screen and help viewers to understand the target message of the advertisement. I do not believe that this very video tells a lot about the condition itself; it does not show the process of treatment.
Nevertheless, it may happen due to the fact that a lot of people suppose injections to be a very unpleasant experience and such an image would not help to attract more clients. As for the link between visual means used and the targeted audience, it can be stated that there are two people who appear on the screen; both of them are white young good-looking women with fair hair. I suppose that the images shown in the video are connected with the target audience because there is certain financial inequality between people of different races, and white women tend to earn more which makes them able to afford such procedures. Although treatment of hyperhidrosis is available for people of both sexes, I suppose that men will be less likely to use this method due to certain stereotypes concerning personal care and beauty practices that influence both women and men.
Apart from physiological sources, a lot of diseases are connected with the range of social ones and the methods of treatment that are advertised. Speaking about hyperhidrosis, it is necessary to mention that it cannot be regarded as a health issue that is associated only with physiological problems; instead, excessive sweating is closely interconnected with the concepts created by the human society. Such concepts include beauty, attractiveness, and self-reliance. As for the discussed condition, a lot of people having hyperhidrosis tend to pay more attention to possible harm that it does to their appearance and the fact that it may influence the way other people see them. At the same time, those suffering from this condition do not seem to be as worried about the negative impact that it can have on their health. Taking that into consideration, I suppose that advertisers rely on this fact and manipulate the audience by contrasting ‘disgusting’ conditions with the physiological standard. Therefore, such advertisements usually work as all people would like to be regarded as attractive and assured in mind.
Analyzing the advertisement given, we can state that there are certain things about such conditions as hyperhidrosis and the particular drug helping to manage it and reduce its impact on the human body that are not mentioned in the video. For instance, the dermatologist does not tell the audience about the weaknesses of such a method (it is relatively expensive, there may be certain pain, and its effects last only for six months). In general, there is a variety of methods that can be used in order to manage this condition and the use of Botox remains one of the most popular ways to do that due to its effectiveness. Apart from that, there are special antiperspirants that are supposed to stop excessive sweating, anticholinergics involving a lot of side-effects, and operative therapy. Therefore, it is necessary to say that one suffering from excessive sweating has a lot of opportunities related to treatment that would help her or him to mitigate symptoms of this condition. Nevertheless, it needs to be mentioned that people tend to focus more on the way that this condition influences their self-esteem and on the fact that they always have to use medications or special antiperspirants in order to live a full-fledged life. To some extent, the way that hyperhidrosis is shown in advertisements encourages the development of social stigma.
In the end, it can be stated that medicalization of hyperhidrosis has a strong impact on the way that it is shown in the media; although there are cases of severe hyperhidrosis, even those people whose sweating levels are slightly different from the physiological standard may think that this problem needs to be managed due to the images used to illustrate the condition and healthy people’s attitude to it. Therefore, this very condition differs from other ones that have been medicalized recently as it involves problems related not only to physical health but also to appearance and self-esteem. To some extent, the medicalization of this condition helps to maintain the social power of those making money on people who want to meet beauty standards.
Robinson, M. W., Loizidou, M., & Baker, D. (2015). Sympathectomy, unlike Botox treatment, reduces the psychological effects of palm hyperhidrosis, without significant compensatory sweating. British Journal of Surgery, 102(1), 176.
[Skinexpertstalk]. (2013). Treating hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) with Botox. [Video file]. Web.