Virginia Madsen spoke openly on Tuesday about a topic most actresses only whisper about to their dermatologists: Botox.
Pointing to the bridge between her eyes, the Sideways Oscar nominee, 45, told a New York press luncheon that “over the years” she’s put the wrinkle-erasing product to use in order to deal with her “11” lines, and “more recently,” she said, she’s also used Juvéderm to correct the creases at the sides of her mouth.
“As I started to talk about it and as it ended up in print there was such an overwhelming response from friends and family, lots and lots of actors, people on the street,” said Madsen, who is the new spokesperson for Allergan, Inc. – the maker of Botox and Juvéderm. “They were surprised that I looked so ‘normal.’ ”
Madsen, whose mother, Elaine Madsen, was at her side, said: “That is how it should be. I don’t have that sort of frozen look that we have talked about.”
Addressing some of the dangers occasionally encountered treating wrinkles, Madsen said she was turned off by Botox parties “at someone’s home that maybe I didn’t know” and by “discounted treatments at hair salons.”
After she’s used Botox, she said, “What was really surprising to me and somewhat alarming was that no one ever asked me who my doctor was. Or where I had them done. They would ask me where on my face [I was treated].”
Approached by Allergan to work for its campaign called “Keep the Wisdom. Lose the Lines,” Madsen said that the National Women’s Health Resource Center also shared its research with her about the misinformation when it came to aesthetic injectable treatments.
“I knew that I could join them, and I could turn my openness about my treatments into a potential call to action for people who were interested in maintaining their looks, but [who] need to know how to do this in the right way.”
Stressing that “Botox and Juvéderm are medicines – they are prescription medicines” – Madsen said, “I think a lot of people have lost sight of that with the growing popularity of these products. I don’t think anyone would ever consider having their eyes examined anywhere else but in a doctor’s chair. It is very similar.”
She also suggests moderation when it comes to partaking of the products. “I am not using these injectables to look 25,” she said. “I don’t want to be 25. I just want to look like me. I am 45, and I am in the best shape that I have ever been in my life.”
Madsen, who says she does her best to stay fit partly to keep up with her 12-year old son, Jack, said, “I made a lot of choices to keep myself youthful and strong. I work out. I eat good foods. And I also get injectables, and I just felt like it was really important for us to discuss the safety issues. … I lost the lines, but I still look like me, which is the result that I think many people want to experience.”
For more on Virginia Madsen, pick up PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
Reporting by DANIEL S. LEVY