For some reason, this topic can be controversial. I’m not really sure why. Just to get this disclaimer out of the way: I choose to get Botox for myself, because it makes me happy. I am in NO WAY saying that anyone should, or needs to do it. I’m also not saying there’s anything wrong with having wrinkles. I’m a big believer in body positivity, and to me, that means loving and respecting your body, in whatever way makes you happy. However, I won’t be talking about opinions today: just the good stuff. I’ll be answering some burning Botox questions y’all seem to have, as well as sharing my own experiences (including those lovely way-too-close pictures of my wrinkles).
How does Botox work?
Botox is made from a neurotoxin called Botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin is a chemical produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Botox was first approved by the FDA for cosmetic use in 2002, and has been studied in almost 500 clinical trials. There are several other brand names of injectible neurotoxins such as Dysport, Xeomin, and Jeuveau.
Botox is a brand name for a very-well studied neurotoxin (ooooh scary!) that causes temporary paralysis of facial muscles. This paralysis causes muscle relaxation, and essentially the “relaxing away” of wrinkles. These are usually used to treat areas such as the forehead (horizontal lines), between the eyebrows (11’s), crows feet, and sometimes even the under eye area.
Over time, the repeated contraction of facial muscles from squinting, frowning, or moving your eyebrows up and down will cause skin folding/furrowing that can develop into more pronounced facial lines. Neurotoxins such as Botox can be injected beneath the skin, into facial muscle tissue to reduce (aka paralyze) muscles. “Freezing” of these facial muscles prevents the contractions that cause further wrinkles, as well as “smoothing out” existing skin folds.
How long does it take to work/How long does it last?
The answer to this question will be very dependent on your own metabolism- everyone is different. For me personally, I can start to see the injections working after about 48 hours, with their complete effect showing up in about 10-12 days. My timeline is pretty average- most people see the full effect of Botox in about 2 weeks.
For me, the Botox lasts about four months. It wears off gradually, so it;s a little difficult to pinpoint when it has completely worn off. I believe on average, Botox lasts people about 3-4 months.
What is it like? Will it hurt?
The process is fairly quick- I’m usually in and out of my dermatology office in 25 minutes. If it’s your first time, it will likely take a little longer so your provider can discuss what kind of look you want, and what your overall treatment goals and budget are. The actual injections only take a few minutes, and are relatively painless- it’s just a tiny pinprick.
How much do you get? Where can you get it?
This will vary greatly from person to person, depending on what areas you want treated, how deep your wrinkles are, and how much movement you do or don’t want. I get my horizontal forehead lines, and between my brows treated. Sometimes, I also treat my undereyes and crows feet area as well. If I’m just treating my forehead/between brows, I usually get 25 or so units. If I were to get everything treated, I’m probably getting closer to 40 units.
How much does it cost?
Unfortunately, this is another thing that can vary greatly depending on where you live, and who administers the treatment. In Knoxville, TN you can expect to pay between $9-$12 per unit. Depending on how many areas you want to treat, your cost can also vary greatly. To be frank, Botox is NOT cheap. But it is something that I have made a priority to budget for because I’m really happy with my results.
Where do you get it done?
I personally go to Southeastern Dermatology (in Knoxville, TN). I’ve had a fantastic experience being injected by Dr. Doppelt as well as Nurse-Injector Kathy Deatherage. Fun fact- Kathy has over 18 years of injection experience, and was one of the very first injectors to be trained in East Tennessee! They have several different times a year where they offer great deals to pre-pay for services, and even have “walk-in” Botox clinic days the first Thursday of every month, so you don’t even have to make an appointment! If you are near the Knoxville area, I highly recommend them.
Why do you get Botox already? You’re only 27!
I’m 27, and not getting any younger y’all! All joking aside, I decided to start “early” mostly as a preventative measure. If I start younger, I have a strong chance at preventing wrinkles from ever really forming- which makes it a lot easier to keep it that way! I also like that I’ll never have a “dramatic” or obvious “transformation” where I go from super-wrinkled to wrinkle-free. But that’s just MY preference. I also take my skincare regimen VERY seriously: I religiously apply SPF 50 to protect my skin, and I use strong anti-aging ingredients such as glycolic and lactic acid (AHA’s – read more here) and retinol. Botox just seemed like a natural next step for my personal care routine.
My personal results (14 days apart):
Left: right before treatment, Right: 14 days after treatment
Photo 1: Static (no movement)
As you can see, I have a slightly lifted arch on both of my brows, as well as a completely smoothed forehead 2 weeks post-treatment.
Photo 2: Eyes – smiling
It may be difficult to see in these photos, but there is a definite decrease in undereye wrinkles while smiling 2 weeks post-treatment.
Photo 3: Eyes – static
No wrinkles in crows feet area, or undereye area with static facial expression 2 weeks post-treatment.
Photo 4: Eyebrows – Lifted
This is always my favorite difference- no wrinkles, and very little forehead movement. I can still slightly move my brows and make expressions with my eyes, but without wrinkling my forehead.
I hope you found all that information helpful! I know it’s a LOT to think about. Feel free to ask any remaining questions you may have!
Until next time,
Follow along on IG: @amandadev4
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