One might say I have a hyper-mobile face. On any given day, I’m so expressive that my eyebrows get more cardio than my heart, and trust me when I tell you that if eye-rolling burned calories, I’d be a size zero. I tend to have a flare for dramatics, and in the (almost) five years following the “big 2-5,” which I often refer to as “Christina’s quarter life crisis,” I began to feel as though my face was starting to show it—even when not caught up in a reactionary face moment.
It felt as though I woke up one day and looked into the mirror to find wrinkles across my forehead, staring back at me. And then I noticed that those wrinkles became my makeup’s new favorite place to settle in and set up camp. There were also the ‘nice’ deep crevasses where my inner brow met the bridge of my nose (commonly referred to as “eleven lines”). I wondered: Where did these even come from?
Although I was blessed with my mother’s ample chest and big doe eyes, it would seem that she kept her lack of wrinkles and smooth, gorgeous skin all to herself (thanks a lot, mother!). So I felt compelled to do something about it. Much like everyone in our modern society (or so it seems), I had obviously heard of the wonder injection that is Botox. I had seen the “before and after” shots, but I had also heard the horror stories and the scary pictures, which I wanted no part of. You know what I’m referring to—the frozen faces, incapable of mustering up any expression other than shock. Or, worse, the ones where the person has been so injected, they appear to be stuck in a state of perpetual surprise. Ouch.
So I dug deep into research, and after educating myself as much as I possibly could, I decided that the benefits outweighed the risks. Because when I say risks, I mean that there are so few that the only option seemed like just going for it.
In a study published by the US Medical Journal JAMA Dermatology, an average of one negative side effect was reported out of 3,333 procedures administered. It is considered one of (if not the) most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatments the industry has seen thus far.
When I decided to let my friends and family in on my injection dreams (which I was not doing to seek validation; it’s just my style to share things that excite me), I got a myriad of reactions. Everything from “What?! Why? You’re so young!” to my brother’s priceless reaction, which was, “I don’t even know what that is, but it sounds painful and dumb.” Typical boy. Still, none of the comments deterred me.
But, before I go further, let me clarify one thing here: I am in no way saying I looked like the Crypt Keeper or that I wanted to freeze every corner of my face; I realize I’m not in high school anymore. I just felt as though I could look a little more “refreshed,” if you will. With age, reproduction of new cells produced by our skin begins to decline drastically. So, with collagen and elastin both losing their important, youthful grip on my skin, lines were forming and staying visible long after my face stopped making any one of my dramatic expressions.
So my mind was made up—I was so ready to explore the magic in that tiny, unassuming syringe. Fast forward to my injection day. It took me about 40 minutes to actually get into the chair. As prepared as I was, while feeling 100 percent supportive of my own decision, I’m still an extreme hypochondriac. This means that the minute I sat down, I was flooded with “medical anxiety.” Could I be allergic to the actual Botox? What kind of reaction would I have? Does the nurse (who was super qualified and a total doll for putting up with my ridiculous idiosyncrasies) have an EpiPen with her in case I start to have a reaction? Would I get a migraine after? (I have had a total of two in my entire life and that’s more than enough for me, thank you.) Would one side of my face look crazy and droopy? These were the thoughts flooding my mind during that moment.
I explained my fears to Dee, the NP (ha!—totally rhymes) who was administering my injections. We broke down each one with a chuckle. My laugh was born from nerves; hers was probably to stop her from literally taping my mouth shut. But, once all my questions were answered and my fears were put at bay, we proceeded with my injections. The total injection time was 10-15 minutes at the most, and on a pain scale of one to 10, I’d say my experience was a solid three (which was great because my clenched, white-knuckled grip on the arms of the chair were ready for an eight!)
Dee explained to me that I would not wake up the following day and feel or look any different, and the product would start to block the nerve-to-muscle communication about three to seven days post injection. I didn’t believe her, though. You bet your beauty regimen-loving booty I was in the mirror the next morning making awkward, squinty and crazy faces. But alas, she was right. Wrinkles and movement were both still present (you may now envision my eye-roll.) However, day three rolled around, and just as I had done on days one and two, I woke up and ran to the mirror—moving my brows up and down, making the god awful “eleven lines” I had grown to loathe. Wouldn’t you know it?Movement of my forehead muscles and furrow face (that cute brows-down frown face, much like Michelle Tanner mid “How rude!” on “Full House”) was officially a thing of the past. Success! My brows were perfectly arched and slightly higher than they were before (which is exactly what I wanted) and my wrinkles were no longer available for my makeup to settle in. Hallelujah!
At the time of this writing, I am about six weeks post-injection, and I could not be happier with my results. So happy, in fact, that I went back for more last week in a different area of my face. You get my drift?
Trust me when I say that Botox and fillers, along with their intoxicating results, are complete gateway drugs (I’m half kidding, but do be warned!) The boost of confidence my injections has given me is undeniable. I am looking to get even more (woah, girl, slow your roll, right? I know, I know…) Bottom line? As I move into my 30s, it is a giant yes for me and my wrinkle-free resting bitch face.
But, before we all get ahead of ourselves, we have to remember that not all stories produce success, as mine did. Though the product and its process has become more mainstream—no longer reserved just for Hollywood’s Elite and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills—injectables are not all rainbows, and unicorns, and without risk. Below are some facts and tips about the product, procedure and potential side effects.
Botox: What to Keep in Mind Before You Decide
- Do your due diligence: know the (few) risks and research your injector. Make sure they are highly qualified and have an abundance of knowledge about facial anatomy.
- “Discount Injectables” are scary. NYC Plastic Surgeon Dr. James Gordon says, “The risks far outweigh the benefits when shopping for discount Botox.” And we believe him!
- Expert Injector from Boston Dr. Onir Spiegel says, “You see, Botox is like paint. If you give one person paint, they’ll create a masterpiece, while another may make a huge mess.” A qualified professional should be the only one administering your injections.
- Botox is FDA approved and in more than 78 countries, and has been used now for more than 20 years. It originated as a remedy for medical conditions such as chronic migraines, TMJ, excessive sweating and muscle spasms.
- When injected properly, the effects of Botox will leave you looking slightly better and more well-rested. Overly injected areas will inevitably lead to contour irregularities or the stereotypical “poker face,” which is void of all emotion.
- The treatment’s effects usually last for an average of four months, but keep in mind that everyone’s body metabolizes substances at different rates.
- Repeated treatments often cause a gradual relaxing of the muscles. The less active they are, the less they work— resulting in less wrinkles.