By Lucy Mann
So I’ve been getting Botox for about three years. I’m 28 now, so it’s mostly preventative. Now I know many people who started injections in their early 20’s and look great, and many that say “why would you inject something toxic into your face?” or “You don’t even need it yet.” Well, in answer to the first, I drink alcohol, I eat Chick-fil-a, I have a major sweet tooth. That’s way worse for me than Botox could ever be.
Also, after some research, I learned that Botox gets its name from the Botulinum toxin, a protein extracted from Clostridium botulinum. If this live bacteria enters the bloodstream, it will attach itself to muscles and replicate, weakening or completely immobilizing the muscle. Basically, this is why Botox works in your face; it weakens the muscles.
The difference is that Botox for aesthetic purposes is a pure protein, meaning there are no bacteria and it cannot replicate, like the live protein mentioned above. Replication would mean not being able to control where the Botox spread. Further, Botox is injected into the skin, not the bloodstream and is slowly metabolized by the body. Meaning that if you’re not pleased with the result, it will eventually fade. If that weren’t enough to calm your fears if in some strange world Botox were to enter the bloodstream, the amount necessary to cause symptoms of botulism is thousands of times higher than what would be used in the face, and since the body naturally metabolizes Botox, the effects would be temporary. So no, I’m not concerned about injecting a toxin into my face for cosmetic reasons.
Sometimes Botox is used for medical reasons, like pain relief for migraines or stopping teeth grinding. In these cases, more units of Botox are needed, so sometimes there are adverse side effects like a drooping eye.
However, I just want to preserve my wrinkle free face as long as possible. No, I don’t need it to remove wrinkles yet, but I do want to prevent them from forming. I don’t want to get standing wrinkles, wrinkles that stay even when the face is relaxed, and by getting Botox regularly, I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding them.
It’s all about maintenance. I think one of the big mistakes people make is thinking that they can get Botox and not worry about any other skin maintenance. No. You still need to moisturize and wear sunscreen. Facials and laser treatments don’t hurt either. All I’m saying is Botox isn’t the one stop shop for preventing skin aging, you need to take care of it.
Now onto the actual experience. I’ve been to two offices for Botox, one in Los Angeles and one in New York City. Let’s talk about LA first. The doctor there used a numbing cream and I barely felt anything when he was injecting, except around the eyebrows. Ow. Apparently, there is a nerve there, and it is not pleasant, but it’s so quick it really doesn’t matter. Some visits I would get bruising, some I wouldn’t. I’m not sure if it was his injecting or capillaries or what. But really pain wise it was not a big deal. I would have redness for a couple of hours after but nothing a baseball hat couldn’t fix. I continued to go to that office even after I moved to New York simply because I trusted the doctor and I operate under the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality. I stopped going to him because getting an appointment with him was harder than getting into Fort Knox.
I decided to go to a new doctor in the city, and the experience was just as good if not better. He didn’t use numbing cream so I saved 20 minutes of my day sitting there with a bunch of gunk all over my face. And the pain was exactly the same if not less. I’m not sure if it was his technique or the needle, but somehow I didn’t feel ANYTHING on my forehead and only a little around my eyebrows. No bruising at all. The needle makes a little crackling sound when it enters the skin which freaked me out the first time, but after that, I got used to it.
I was told to avoid drinking alcohol and exercise for a few hours, pretty much to avoid increasing circulation. The other office I went to didn’t mention any of this, and I’ve definitely don’t both immediately after receiving the injections without any negative side effects, I think its more precautionary, why tempt fate. I try to get injections routinely, whenever the wrinkles return to my forehead. For me, that’s about every three months or so. I have friends that go every two months, and some that go every 6 months, it really depends on how quickly your body metabolizes the Botox, everyone is different. I believe it does work to prevent wrinkles, and also makes my skin looks great is my skin looks great in the meantime, that’s a win win for me.