In the last 6 months or so, I’ve been strongly considering Botox since noticing the lines on my forehead appearing deeper and more visually apparent even at rest. Every time I looked in the mirror, the two faint lines above my eyes seemed to get more comfortable with their location and I feared they would soon choose my forehead as their new permanent residence. Turning 30 with obvious facial lines isn’t something many of us entering this decade welcome with open arms…at least not for me.
I have super dry skin and anti-aging products have been my BFFs since the beginning of time, or at least when I started taking my skincare regimen seriously. But ultimately, they’re no match for the deepening of lines that come with age. Unfortunately for those of us with dry skin types, this tends to come sooner rather than later. Like in your 30s.
— Before Botox: comparison of my forehead lines at rest vs flexed —
Botox isn’t something you should treat as a walk-in service. Like the food you eat, knowing where it’s coming from and how it’s administered is something many of us concern ourselves with if it’s going to enter the body. The same should go for something to be injected into your face; failure to do the proper research on what goes into the skin can result in some superficially tragic side effects.
Needless to say, those Groupon specials for Botox treatments should be avoided in almost all circumstances, especially if it’s your first time. Botox is not a one-size fits all treatment, and most of those discounted salon deals are not intended to give you a personalized experience. That’s why it’s essential to find the right, board certified dermatologist to administer the proper unit amount of Botox for your unique needs.
That’s why I chose to have my first Botox experience with Dr. Elizabeth Hale at CompleteSkinMD. Not only are her credentials beyond impressive, but she also treats her patients with the most natural dosage of Botox s/he requires to achieve satisfactory results. My mom has been going to Dr. Hale for a couple years now and was able to put me in touch to schedule my first treatment, which I was beyond excited about going into it & still am following the results after just one visit!
Dr. Hale gave me an extensive run-through of the process and why getting Botox at my age is a good preventative measure to take now, to delay the deepening of these lines that will otherwise be more extensive to treat later on if left alone. If you’ve been on the fence about getting Botox, whether it’s wrapping your mind around if now is the right time or if you can justify the price point – which isn’t cheap, and shouldn’t be all things considered – then hopefully this post will help guide you in the direction that’s meant for your specific Botox journey.
So What Is Botox Exactly?
Botox is a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum. Botox injections work to block signals from the nerves to the muscles, temporarily inhibiting the targeted muscle from contracting and allowing visible wrinkles/lines to relax & soften. It’s considered safe overall and purposely used in small does, but highly encouraged to receive injections administered by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Otherwise, the chances of experiencing adverse side effects is greater if injections aren’t prepared by an inexperienced doctor or up to speed with FDA standards.
IT’S PREVENTATIVE OF DEEPER LINES TO COME
It’s become more common for young adults to get Botox treatments, starting at age 25 in fact. The reason for this is pretty straightforward: The sooner you start, the less often you’ll need it overtime. Because I got my first treatment while my lines were relatively new in noticeable development, I’ve set myself up to not *need* another round for probably a year or so; the facial muscles causing these lines are temporarily inhibited from over flexing. Ultimately, lines on the face are inevitable with age
IT’S EXPENSIVE, BUT YOUR FACE IS PRICELESS
Obviously this treatment doesn’t come cheap, as far as skincare goes. Nor should it be, considering you’re getting something INJECTED into your FACE. This is a part of the body you see every day in the mirror, and something the public gets view of as well. The last thing I would consider is “winging it” or hoping for the best when it comes to anything administered via needle. Trying out skincare products that don’t agree with you is one thing, but temporary redness from a topical application is less risky than a potential rogue eyebrow or bruising just to save a buck.
Additionally, Botox is priced by the unit and the amount injected varies from patient to patient. By starting Botox early on and with a licensed dermatologist, who knows the proper amount to administer, then the return appointments will be less frequent & easier on your wallet. Also if you think about how much you spend on store-bought coffee in a year, the cost of 1-2 Botox Treatments per year is nothing in comparison. It ultimately comes down to prioritization, generally speaking.
IT’S NOT A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL TREATMENT
If everyone’s facial structure, skin type, lifestyle etc. was exactly the same, then it’s safe to assume all would require the same amount of Botox to see desired results. But that’s not reality & one of the many dangers of succumbing to a salon Groupon for Botox treatments you have no personal experience with prior. The likelihood of them giving you the proper amount while pricing at a discount is relatively low. Now that’s not to say all salons offering such promos are unqualified, especially if you have personal experience with any of them. However I would so much rather have a guaranteed result with minimal bruising and adjustment, administered by someone I trust and treats his/her patients the same as they would themselves.
IT’S RELATIVELY PAINLESS
Between icing and numbing cream if requested, I found the administration process hardly noticeable. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and only used the ice, but it was nice to know the numbing cream was an option if I decided I couldn’t handle it. There are a whole lot more things we’ve endured in life that were much more painful than a quick prick of a needle. Also the muscles in your face are surprisingly strong, which makes sense given the ability to create the lines your seeking to fade haha. I have no doubt most of you will even find it uncomfortable, let alone painful.
IT’S A REMEDY FOR CHRONIC CONDITIONS
Such as excessive sweating, headaches, TMJ, and even migraines (although you need to get treatment from a neurologist for the latter.) By temporarily inhibiting the contraction of the muscles causing the discomfort associated with these conditions, patients seeking longer-lasting relief often turn to Botox as a productive remedy.
— Marking & Icing Before Injection: notice how these dots are placed intentionally above my resting lines where they rise up to when flexed —
Two Ways To Help Prevent Lines
Of course, there are things you can do now to help reduce the appearance of lines with/without a Botox treatment. At this point in my life, taking care of my skin is one of my biggest priorities and something I would much rather invest my time & hard-earned money into. It’s my face, something I look at every single day and something I care about looking its best above all else. Happy skin = happy human. So what it really comes down to is the following:
*USE SUN PROTECTION ALL YEAR ROUND*
Something Dr. Hale couldn’t stress enough during my visit is the importance of using SPF every day, not just during the sunnier seasons. Luckily, I’ve known this and purposely use makeup with hints of SPF as base coverage all year round; of course, using more on top of it during Spring/Summer months or anytime I’m exposed to excessive reflective light (i.e. on a boat in the water or snowy ski mountain.)
Of course, there are many preventative reasons to wear SPF but here’s why it’s also important in relation to this blog post focus: Lack of sun protection is the leading cause of collagen breakdown in the skin, resulting in reduced tightness & firmness and ultimately, the development of visible lines. So if you’re someone who loves being tan (guilty myself) and gets negligent with proper SPF application from time to time, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be seeing unsightly lines sooner than someone else your age who sits wisely under the umbrella. With every sunburn, the collagen & elastin in your skin’s affected area deteriorates and does not return naturally. So you best preserve what you still have while it counts.
A QUALITY SKINCARE REGIMEN
Not to stick our noses up at anything purchased from a drug store, because many of them are reputable & get the job done. But there’s a reason quality skincare yields longer-lasting results with frequent application. The ingredients going into these formulas are better sourced & these products are often the brainchilds of a board-certified dermatologist or licensed expert in the skincare scene. So naturally, they’re putting the best of the best into these products & that comes at a price. But like I mentioned above, skincare is something I choose to prioritize for myself and prefer to invest in. My time & dollar are precious to me, which is why I want something that works and works well from the start.
For reference on reputable, quality brands behind such products, here are Dr. Hale’s top skincare recommendations.
A Few FAQs Based On My Personal (First) Experience
Did It Hurt?
Hardly. As mentioned above, I have a high pain tolerance but stubbing my toe hurt way more than the tiny needles poking my skin.
How Many Units Did You Receive?
I received 33.5 units of Botox. Dr. Hale explained its more often a whole number, but she was very particular about accommodating my baseline mild asymmetry. Which means one side of my face is slightly higher than the other while at rest and when I raised my eyebrows pre-Botox. Another great example of how specific Botox administration should be for each individual receiving it – there is no one size fits all when it comes to unit injection numbers.
How Much Did It Cost?
*My experience was compensated in exchange for this review* However, I did ask Dr. Hale how much it would’ve cost me for this specific injection of 33.5 units = $825
Remember – every face is different which means not everyone will receive the same dosage amount injected. But it’s important to keep in mind that this was my starting point with only minimal lines appearing at rest. If I had decided to wait 5 years or so from now before getting Botox done, it’s more likely these lines would be deeper and more pronounced at rest. Therefore, a pricier fix due to the amount of units needed to make an impact. See what I’m saying?
Yes, it’s expensive – Botox is not a cheap treatment and definitely lies on the side of luxury in my circumstance. But I probably spend upwards of $1,000+ a year ordering coffee outside my house… I think I can justify spending my money more productively on something that I’ll truly appreciate and feel good about in the long term, considering I have to look at my face every day of my life. Just my opinion.
Did You Get It In The Forehead Only?
Forehead, Eleven Lines (in-between eyes) and Crows Feet/Smile Lines (sides of eyes)
Any Side Effects Post-Injection?
Only one tiny bruise on the side of one eye from an injection & a dull headache right after the injection that lasted a couple hours. I also developed a consistent dull headache for a few hours 2-3 days following injection week, which is when it began to take effect. But nothing a bit of Advil can’t handle. Again, I’ve definitely experienced worse in my lifetime.
— Two Weeks Post-Botox: trying my hardest to flex and scrunch my face, zero lines now compared to before! —
When Did You Start Noticing Results?
It’s a two week process, with results usually beginning within one week of injection. I saw a teeny bit of a difference as quick as four days after, but a true change in visibility one week after. It was so strange not being able to scrunch my face like I used to, but it didn’t hurt or give me any sort of anxiety not being able to do so. If anything, it made me SO HAPPY!
How Long Does It Last?
3-4 months before it begins to wear off, which means I probably have 6 months max before the lines begin to come back in full force. But I’ll be proactive and get another treatment within the 5-6 month mark from the prior injection in order to maintain the softness of visible line appearance.
Anything About The Process Surprise You?
Cannot workout post-procedure nor lie down for 3-4 hours after injection
Is It Truly Worth The Time & Money?
YES YES YES! Hands down the best thing I’ve ever done for myself & my self-esteem.
Will You Get Botox Again? If So, How Soon After This First Time?
100%, I’d imagine next Spring/early Summer will be around the time to return for round 2. If I continue to keep this up, I’ll probably schedule a visit with Dr. Hale 2-3x a year max until I don’t want to get it done anymore.