A Beginner's Guide to Botox: My Personal Experience
Are you considering a neurotoxin, such as Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin for the first time and wondering exactly how you should move forward or if you even should? Maybe after reading this article you will decide that this unique aesthetic treatment isn’t for you and resume your normal beauty routine. Perhaps you will find that it's the worth the experience. Either way, it’s a very personal choice and you are still beautiful!
The following content is inspired by my own personal experiences and not intended to reflect anything other than my experience. There are millions of other experiences out that there that may be quite different from mine I encourage you to seek out as much information as you can before proceeding with any cosmetic procedure.
Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin are all neurotoxins derived from the same bacteria that causes botulism (Clostridium botulinum). In larger amounts, it can kill you, but the minute amounts used for cosmetic purposes serve to smooth wrinkles by paralyzing very specific facial muscles. When the muscles are paralyzed, they can no longer make creases in your face. It’s that simple.
If you are considering this treatment, there are some very important things to keep in mind. I want to share them with you because they are things I learned along the way that no one told me and I wish they had. Although I did my research, there were questions I didn’t even know to ask until of course, it was too late.
My Personal Experience
For one, I only knew about one neurotoxin, and that was Botox, so I tried that one first. Botox happened to me two years ago. I wasn’t exactly planning on it but an opportunity presented itself and I felt that I needed a little more help than I was likely to get from my normal skin care routine of slathering on coconut oil, so I made an appointment.
My sister had Botox once and she was thrilled to pieces with her shiny smooth forehead. And I had to admit, it looked nice.
I felt that I had learned enough about the effects of Botox to feel confident that I was making an informed decision, even if it was slightly on a whim. Admittedly, I was a little scared. What if I went blind? What if it was so obvious that people would point and whisper, "that one, she's had something done"? What if my mom found out?
Which is why we do our research.
Do your research. Do it.
There are millions of testimonials on the internet and you really can find most everything you could ever hope to know about this procedure except of course that one very specific thing you will only learn about until it happens to you.
Remember that every cosmetic procedure involves risk. The most common risks associated with injecting our faces with neourtoxins aren’t what one might expect though. Although it’s possible to have allergic reactions and a myriad of other physical problems (some quite serious, so like I suggested, research so you know all the risks), the most common risks involve unsatisfactory results which vary in severity. More on that later.
Have a consultation
Consultations are important. During your consultation you should be prepared with all the questions you can possibly think of to ask.
Some of those questions might be:
- What are the risks?
Outside of allergic reactions and other physical complications, neurotoxins have the power to literally drop your forehead, make your eyebrows look like they are either flying off your face or melting into your eyes (both of which has happened to me), paralyze muscles you wish weren’t paralyzed, *freeze* your expressions, induce bagginess under your eyes and (it gets better), drop your upper lip over your front teeth. In fact, all of these ugly things have happened to me and I haven’t been doing it that long.
- Do you have before and after photos?
Because of confidentiality purposes, some clinics may not provide these but it’s nice to look at the real finished work and not on a Botox *model*.
- Do you, the injector, have Botox yourself?
I honestly wouldn’t trust anyone to give me Botox if they haven’t experienced it themselves.
- When will it take effect and when will it wear off?
This varies. I usually notice an onset within two days (which is early) and final results within a week. But *they* say to wait two weeks for optimum results.
Botox wears off differently for people. I usually start to notice it wearing off at the three month mark but sometimes later.
- What can a neurotoxin do and what can it NOT do?
In my experience, Botox prevented the angry lines between my eyebrows (glabella muscles) from squishing together, it created a nice arch to my eyebrows, smoothed crow’s feet, slightly lifted corners of my mouth and smoothed forehead lines. One of my biggest thrills was how it decreased eyebrow movement. I know some people like to move their eyebrows around but mine are out of control. I literally have no control over what my face is doing, every emotion shows. And sometimes that looks like I’m angry or disappointed. Well, maybe I am, but I don’t want it to show so honestly. There are many other uses but these are my own areas of concern. Unfortunately, neurotoxins can make you look awful if it isn’t done right. And that has happened to me too.
Another important thing is to find out ahead of time if the injector offers touch ups at no cost if inconsistencies appear at the two week mark. I really find this important because these treatments aren’t cheap, unless you go to Mexico, which I also did. There is nothing more frustrating then going back at two weeks with one side of your forehead crinkling and the other side smooth and being charged a couple of hundred dollars extra to even that mess out. This has only happened to me the one time I tried Dysport and I won’t return to this injector again. Every other injector was happy to do complimentary touch ups.
Depending on how many units or areas you need treated and how often, maintenance can get expensive. So be prepared for the financial upkeep of a smooth face.
Is it worth it? Only you can make that decision.
I personally think it is for me. And the reasons for that are because it works for me, it makes my beauty routine easier (I honestly don't like to spend a lot of time trying to conceal flaws that can disappear with a small injection-I'm lazy that way), I feel happier when I see myself and that increases my confidence and makes me nicer.
Be prepared for the financial upkeep of your smooth face.
If you enjoy the benefits of your treatment, you are going to notice when it starts to wear off. Other people will notice too because you will be sad about it and that will show on your face, in fact everything will show on your face once again. The Nurse who gave me my first injections summed my thoughts up nicely, she said that no one needs aesthetic enhancements, but it sure does make you feel happier and act nicer to people.And I personally see no reason to love the results and not get more. I am pro simplifying my beauty routine and maintaining results BUT, it’s not cheap. I do not have the kind of money that makes it easy for me to throw at my face in vanity so it does sting a little. However, I think of all the pointless things I sometimes spend money on and try not to spend that money. I also don’t have many bad habits nor do I go out a lot or buy new clothes. So, I make some sacrifices.
If you make a budget to include cosmetic treats, you should be fine. Even if you’re on the poorer side of the spectrum, like me. I skimp on many things when I need to like clothes (second hand shops), hair care (cheap haircuts or DIY trims and box color), nights out, but I don’t skimp when it comes to my skin. Good skin can make anything else look good. But then again I seriously would go around barefoot in a toga every day if I could.
If possible, try and find a competent, professional, GOOD injector you trust and stick with them.
I didn’t do this. I moved away from my place near Mexico so I could no longer visit my favorite Dermatologist who would have been a *keeper*. I did find someone in my new area who I liked enough, and as fancy as the area was, you would think there would be more options but there just wasn’t. Note: I am NOT fancy. I just ended up living in a place I couldn’t afford out of desperation. I just feel that’s important to note here because I am just a working girl with limited funds and need to choose my poisons (ha!) wisely. With that being said, it really is important to find someone who does a great (not ok) job and with whom you can build a relationship with if you plan on having more done. This person will learn what you like and what will make you look your best and hopefully work within your budget. Hopefully. I really think they are few and far between though. I liked this person in my new fancy place for the most part, she did ok and sometimes she did really good but I can’t forgive her for making my upper lip droop over my upper teeth before my brother-in-law’s wedding. She told me, "I think you will enjoy these results", she was wrong. I avoided smiling as big as I normally would and my new drivers license picture looks like my lips had a stroke.
If you don’t feel a good connection with your injector, move on because it might get worse, and they are human too so they might not even like YOU which unfortunately may show up on your face.
Do NOT be afraid to speak up.
Speak up if you aren’t sure you will like something. I recently let someone inject *bunny lines* I didn’t even know I had and I can’t tell anything different. Also, I think some injectors are overzealous and will inject everything and anything even if you don’t really *need* it, leaving a person with an empty bizarre look. This happened to my sister. I came into a little extra money and gave her Botox for her birthday and she said the injector suggested extra areas which froze her face for months.
You might think it’s a nice idea to have a frozen face, that’s exactly what I think about my eyebrows, but there seriously is this strange, walking dead look that happens when there is no movement in a face! So SPEAK UP or leave if you have to!
Also, speak up if you don’t like your results. Some improvement might be possible. But beware of the injector who fails to admit a wrong or doesn’t try to make you happy. DO NOT GO BACK. You are paying for excellent results which will be on your face front and center for months. Most of the time I think someone will work with you to try and make you happy but again, this happened to me and the injector couldn’t see anything wrong with one eyebrow flat and half of my face moving more than the other half. And she charged me to even it out. I don't think that 's right
The best results I’ve experienced were from practitioners who were not only skilled, personable and professional but also looked natural and healthy. If your injector sports a "frozen" look with an "over-processed face" (you will know when you see it), think twice about what that might mean for you.
Neurotoxin injections can be a great way to improve what mother- nature gave you and simplify your beauty routine, but you want quality work every time otherwise it’s a huge waste of money and time and an enormous emotional stress. I’m a perfectionist and I notice everything that is out of place. I am not going to be happy with poor work and neither should you.
Knowledge is beautiful! Research and learn as you possibly can before you make decisions that will literally change the way you see yourself in the mirror. Always remain true to yourself in beauty and spirit. Know that either way, beauty always comes from within!
© 2017 Cat Radke