Everything You Need to Know About Botox
Ah, my skin care routine. If we’re totally honest, it’s never been a top priority for me. I was “that girl” who spent a huge part of my life not just outdoors in the sun, but also in tanning beds! Lots and lots of tanning beds. Yes, that’s right folks. If you’re younger than age 20 and reading this, a tanning bed is an acrylic tube that you lie in to literally bake your skin. They cause cancer, eye damage, and wrinkles among other things but they give you a killer tan. Oh how naive I was.
If I could turn back the clocks, I would have swapped out the tanning oil for sunscreen and skipped the need for “the darkest tan” among my friends. As a former long distance runner and open water swimmer, my face got an extra dose of exposure over the years as well. Pro-tip: water reflects the sun…have you ever had an eyelid burn? No? Trust me, that’s an experience you don’t need!
But, since I can’t turn back actual time, here we are…I got Botox! Now, let’s discuss.
The Emotional Toll of Frown Lines
Sun damage or not, I also have a genetic disposition to a single, deep “11” between my brows. My mom’s got it, so does my grandma, and so did her mother. I’ve had that sucker for as long as I can remember, and while the line itself doesn’t bother me, the implication of that damn line does.
My whole life, I’ve been called the following:
And, this is my favorite, “Unapproachable”.
All because of two simple reasons. I have my own opinions (which I’m good with). And, I have this f*ing frown line.
If I had a dollar for every time an authority figure (mainly teachers) told me to “wipe that scowl off my face” I’d be rolling in loonies! And here’s the real kicker – I’m none of those things! I’m actually a very sensitive, caring, compassionate person who loves with abandon. In fact, those who know me well would accuse me of being too trusting and too quick to love other humans. So being labeled with those terms for decades has taken a toll.
Which brings me squarely to my decision to try Botox.
When I met Katy a few years back, she suggested we connect at some point and this year we did (thank you, Universe, for bringing Katy into my life). I booked a consultation at the Bedford Skin Clinic and we got to work.
But first, let’s back up. If you’re new to the world of Botox, like me, you’ve probably got questions. I’ll start with the facts and then I’ll share my experience with you. Feel free to jump to my experience here if you’d prefer to skip ahead.
What is Botox?
Botox is short for Botulinum toxin which is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botox is a brand name. There are actually other brands such as Dysport, Xeomin, and Nuceiva but “Botox” is the term we hear most often because it was the first injectable botulinum toxin. Yes, it’s the toxin that causes botulism but don’t panic – keep reading.
How is Botox used?
The most common use of Botox is to reduce the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles but it’s got therapeutic uses as well, such as:
- Severe underarm sweating (hyperhidrosis)
- Cervical dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder muscle spasms
- Blinking that you can’t control (blepharospasm)
- Eyes that point in different directions (strabismus)
- Chronic migraine
- Overactive bladder
- bruxism/temporomandibular (jaw) joint dysfunction or teeth grinding
I personally know many people who’ve had Botox treatments for migraines and excess sweating in the hands and underarms.
How does it work?
It’s pretty simple really! Botox injections block the chemical signal from the nerves to the muscles. That causes the temporary relaxation of the injected muscles. Simply put, it prevents injected muscles from contracting.
Is it safe?
Botox was approved for cosmetic purposes in 2002 but the toxin was first isolated in the 1950’s when scientists started using it in therapeutic treatments. Once the first FDA approval for the therapeutic use of Botox came through in 1989, many others were quick to follow.
How long does Botox last?
According to the Bedford Skin clinic, you can expect to get 3-4 months out of your treatment. Of course, that depends on a variety of factors including metabolism and dosage. I’ve also read that some people get a full 6 months out of their Botox treatments. I’ll keep you posted!
How much does Botox cost?
My treatment cost was $1151 and I had 101 units. I could gloss over this like every other blog on Botox does and tell you that the average cost is between $400-$700 but I’m not about to mislead you. It depends on how many areas you get treated. Plain and simple. I had quite a few different areas treated that included my forehead lines, 11’s, crow's feet and my lower jaw.
How long does it take for Botox to work?
I started seeing less movement in my forehead on day 2. The maximum strength of the injections happens at the 2 week mark. That’s also the point that I had my follow up appointment at the Bedford Skin clinic to see if I needed any adjustments. I didn’t!
Why I chose the Bedford Skin Clinic
660 Bedford Highway, Suite 122 Bedford Nova Scotia
Honestly, I’ve been approached about trying Botox before. I’ve always been told that I have an “expressive forehead”… umm yeah, tell me something I didn’t know! And, until now, I haven’t felt comfortable. But when I met Dr. Elaine and Lyndsey, I changed my tune.
Dr. Elaine Fung is a surgeon (and the co-founder and Medical director of the Bedford Skin Clinic) specializing in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. She completed residency at Dalhousie University and her fellowship at the University of Alberta in Microvascular Surgery and Advanced Head and Neck Reconstruction.
Their approach is conservative (which I loved) and focused on a more balanced approach than you might see at other clinics. The goal of this team is to give patients a more youthful and glowing appearance.
Lyndsey is a Registered Nurse (and co-founder of Bedford Skin Clinic) specializing in Pediatric Emergency at the IWK Health Centre. Together they make a powerhouse team that aims to provide a natural and positive experience.
They asked about my concerns, what I was comfortable with, and made recommendations according to that information. What really stood out to me was their philosophy. They explained that they’re focus is on enhancing what you already have – not changing your face. I also love that they work as a team with Katy to create a customized skin care plan that’s unique to each patient. Furthermore, getting Botox didn’t mean “freezing” my face. If I still wanted movement in my face, I could have it! Yay!
OK, you want to know what it was like, yes? Here we go…
The Botox treatment process
In my case, the entire process was painless. I laid on a table (just like you’re getting a facial) and they moved quickly with injections (which I appreciated).
1 – A consultation with Dr. Elaine, Lyndsey & Katy to map out a plan based on my concerns.
2 – A medical grade facial with Katy to start the process of correcting my skin with non-invasive protocols. This facial was amazing – check it out here. The facial was done a week prior to my Botox appointment.
3 – Facial mapping. They had me squint, squeeze, furrow my brow (which I’m really good at), raise my brows, smile, and frown. All the while, mapping out my forehead lines and deciding how many units I would need.
3 – The Botox injections. I should preface this by telling you that I’m not scared of needles – at all. So going in I wasn’t nervous about that part but I didn’t really know what to expect. The needles were itsy, bitsy – the tiniest needles I’ve ever seen. And while I felt a few of them (very mild little pinches), many of them I didn’t feel at all. It was totally fine. Truthfully, getting your brows waxed is far more painful than Botox (in my experience).
And that’s it. They sent me home with some aftercare instructions and we booked the retouch appointment.
The Aftermath of Botox
Immediately following my treatment I expected to look like I’d been through the ringer. I didn’t! I looked totally normal, less a tiny little bruise at one of the injection sites (so tiny, no one but me noticed).
In the days following the treatment, I had a very mild ache in my forehead. Not even enough to call it a headache. It felt like…well, like you’d had a bunch of tiny needles. It was very dull, didn’t affect my life and subsided in about 48 hours.
My Botox results
This is me, pre-Botox. No makeup, no filters, no editing. Feel free to zoom in and have a close look. Not horrible, I know. But clear lines in my forehead, around my eyes and that oh-so lovely frown line. Let me be clear, I didn't hate my face! But if there's a solution for something that bothers me – I'm here for it.
And here are my side-by-sides… before and after. I think the before and after's are pretty clear, but just in case, the bottom photo in each duo is the after. That one of me smiling isn't something I'd normally share. I typically avoid showing anyone my crooked smile but I really want you to see the difference!
And this is me now… still smiling, still crinkling my nose, but no crow's feet, no frown line and no forehead lines!
My Botox results were amazing! I had a few days of my brows feeling a bit “heavy” (I’m not sure how else to describe it) but that didn’t last. I’m thrilled with my results. I did Botox treatments for myself, to feel better about my face, but y’all are noticing too. I’ve had so many messages asking me what my skin care routine is because my skin looks so great.
Aside from the physical appearance, I’ve also noticed some other things.
I’m not even trying to frown anymore. Let me explain. It’s as though my body has learned that frowning isn’t an option and, as a result, I’m not even trying to scowl. A furrowed brow was my go-to facial expression while thinking, listening, pondering, when I was curious, when I was skeptical but now it’s not. And, get this. I think I’m actually happier because I’m not able to frown. Is that a thing? I swear it’s the case!
If you’re still with me, you’re a die-hard and I appreciate that. This blog was supposed to be short and sweet but you know how I do. I believe in giving you all of the information you need to make informed decisions. So, let’s bang out a few myths while we’re at it, shall we?
3 Botox myths, dispelled
1 – Botox injections are painful
As I’ve mentioned, my experience was painless. I’ve heard others describe it as a slight pinch but I barely felt a thing.
2 – Botox leads to a frozen face
Yeah, if you overdo it. If you’re getting your treatments from a skilled practitioner, you’ll still be able to emote the full range of emotions. Except for scowling, which is a great thing! I’ve swapped out scowling for “narrowing my eyes” which is much more flattering anyway and still gets the “I’m pissed” message across.
I’ve also had people ask if my face feels frozen to touch. Nope, not at all. Your skin isn’t affected. Just the muscle underneath.
3 – Wrinkles will be worse when you stop Botox treatments
From a physiological standpoint, this is just dumb. Where did it even come from? That doesn’t make any sense! But, in an effort to do my due diligence I did some research. And, in fact, NOPE. Botox doesn’t cause your wrinkles to worsen. How could it? If you stop getting treatments, you’ll just regain full mobility of your facial muscles again. If you use those muscles to squint, frown and crinkle your eyes then yes – you’ll start to see lines come back.
Would I get Botox again?
You bet your ass I would! I’m a fan. I have nothing but great things to say about the entire process but especially the team at Bedford Skin clinic. They’re wonderful and I can’t wait to go back… in 3-4 months! If you're thinking about Botox, you can reach them by email at [email protected]
I'm also working with Katy who performs medical grade facials at the clinic. Click here to see what treatments I've had with her and what our treatment plan is moving forward.
Have you had Botox? Would you? Leave a comment below and weigh in!
* This post was sponsored by the Bedford Skin clinic but all opinions are my own. I'm never required to share anything but an honest account of my experience and I only share those things that I think will be helpful to you.