First, let me tell you, I'm not here to convince you to get Botox.
FUN FACT: I will never tell you what to do. You do you sister!
Choosing to get Botox is a very personal choice and everyone has their own reasons for choosing this treatment, whether it is for cosmetic or therapeutic reasons. I'm simply going to tell you about my experience and the questions I had surrounding my first appointment.
WHY I CHOSE TO GET BOTOX: For the last 2 years, I've felt a tightness between my brows that didn't go away unless I physically massaged it. Sometimes it actually gave me a headache. All the sun and partying of my 20's and work stress and childrearing of my early 30's finally caught up to me! I now had a nice set of lines between my brows, the dreaded 11 sign, "judgement lines," I felt like an angry bird even when I wasn't angry. My face was lying to the world and projecting an image of a judgmental and frustrated person that I didn't identify with.
I'm fun and feel youthful and damnit, I wanted to look it! And even though I've railed against the stigma of Botox and other cosmetic treatments, I still felt a lot of hesitance. What if I had a frozen face after getting Botox? Would I be able to make my normal facial expressions? I didn't want to look like a zombie housewife (even if I was and still am one on the inside!).
I also wanted my make-up to lay smoothly on my face again and not fall into the deepening wrinkles between my eyebrows. Even when I went make-up free, the lines still haunted me. A not-so-friendly reminder that life is a struggle and then you die. The steady march towards my own mortality was now stamped on my forehead. LOL Macabre and dramatic, but I really want to paint you a picture of how these wrinkles made me feel. Short answer, they made me feel BAD.
Once I got to the existential crisis stage, I began researching. Talking to friends and family who had Botox treatments done, Online (Google is scary sometimes), and looking up local clinics and their patient reviews.
I found out everything I would ever want to know, and some things I definitely didn't want to know about Botox. Here are the questions and the information I gathered, so you don't have to:
How does Botox work? Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) is made from the bacteria that causes botulism. Botulinum toxin blocks nerve activity in the muscles. It sounds bad, but this toxin has a lot of therapeutic and cosmetic uses. It can treat migraine headaches, overactive bladders or incontinence, eye muscle disorders, and severe sweating (hyperhydrosis), but is most commonly used cosmetically to treat facial wrinkles. It's basically the Jack-of-all-trades in the medical world. Shoot, if you bump your knee...put some tox on that! LOL
Choose a highly trained and qualified medical professional: only properly trained medical nurses or doctors should be performing this treatment. This is your face we're talking about here. You want an injector who has the experience and ability to target the intended facial muscles to give you the results you desire. I chose Rise Medical Aesthetics because both their injectors were experienced, a Nurse Practitioner (N.P.) and a Medical Doctor (M.D.), AND had current training in cosmetic and therapeutic injectables from a reputable institution.
How long does Botox last? The full effect of Botox lasts anywhere from 3-4 months. Some people have reported that it can last up to 8-12 months before they feel the need for a repeat treatment. Botox cannot be dissolved like filler can, emphasizing my last point that you want to choose a qualified and experienced nurse or doctor to perform this treatment.
How much Botox will I need? It completely depends on the look you want and how strong those facial muscles are. Some people get what is called 'Baby Botox,' which uses smaller than normal doses to treat a given area. This softens the look of the wrinkle, but you retain a high degree of movement. Other people want to completely immobilize the intended facial muscle. Like me, I wanted to literally not be able to scrunch my brows together.
Will it hurt? Now some people may not have this question, but I have a bit of a needle phobia, so this was a need to know for me! The needles are so small and thin that I barely felt some of the injections. Like a small pin prick, but with no sting. I've gotten IPL facial treatments before and they were so much worse than this. My injections were fast and near pain-free. It took less than 5 minutes to treat my brow wrinkles, or glabella wrinkles, as my injector at Rise Medical Aesthetics informed me.
What is the recovery time? That's one of the beautiful things about Botox, there is no recovery time. You will look the exact same as you leave the clinic and be on your merry way. You will notice the effects of Botox start to kick in on day 3-4 and be fully settled by 10-14 days after your treatment. My experience was no bruising and I started to see the effects on the 4th day post treatment with it fully settling in by day 10. You may experience some slight bruising around the injection site and there are some things you should definitely not do right after your treatment such as exercise, sleep, excessively touch the injection site, or drink excessive alcohol/take painkillers. For a more complete look at these things, check out my post, 5 Things You SHOULD NOT DO Right After Your Botox Treatment.
How much will Botox cost? Again, this completely depends on how much Botox your injector suggests you get to treat the given area. Often the deeper the wrinkle and more mobile your face, the more Botox it will take to achieve your desired results. My brow Botox cost around $200 CAD because it was $10 per unit and I received 20 units of Botox. At Rise Medical Aesthetics, I had a detailed consultation to discuss what I wanted done and how many units that would take, so I had a good idea how much it would cost before signing on for the actual treatment.
I'm now on month 4 post treatment and I love the way Botox has made me look and feel. I often joke that Botox is youth in a vial. It has made me look like I feel on the inside, youthful and vibrant AND I can still move my face! LOL No nightmare zombie face here!
Rise Medical Aesthetics followed up with me 2 weeks after my treatment to make sure I was happy with my results and my answer was a resounding HELL YES! Honestly, I wish I had gotten Botox sooner. I look like my normal self, but refreshed, like I actually sleep...a miracle really. Everyday looks like it was a spa day. In my case, my inability to frown all the time actually improved my mood too. My Botox experience has been a BIG WIN all around.
Now that I'm at the tail end of optimal Botox results, I've noticed those pesky frown lines starting to come back and I'm booking another Botox treatment ASAP!
This post was meant as an inside look into MY OWN research and MY OWN experience with Botox. I hope it gave you a good starting point in what you should look for and look out for when considering Botox as a cosmetic treatment.