The Injectables Vol. I: Botox
After finally getting my acne under control I was looking forward to enjoying my clear, smooth skin and was disappointed to notice that the wrinkles everyone told me were “just dehydration lines!” were actually permanent. I know to most, they don’t mean anything and are simply a sign of aging, but it really bothered me that my skin was already in the “aging” category and I was barely old enough to rent a car.
I think it’s important to differentiate between types of wrinkles: dynamic and static. Dynamic wrinkles are made when your facial muscles make an expression - frowning, smiling, and raising your eyebrows will all show dynamic lines on the face. We all have dynamic lines. When we are young, those lines bounce right back after we are done using our muscles, but as we age, the lines stay on the skin and are now static. I have had static wrinkles since my late 20s and although genetics do play a large part in how we age, I have no doubt that my underuse of SPF and overuse of tanning beds and sugar are partly to blame for my early wrinkling.
My wrinkles bothered me. They were the first thing I noticed in photos and the first thing I would check in the morning when I woke up. I’d be embarassed to add up all of the money I wasted on products that promised to ‘plump fine lines’ so I’m not even going to go there. I made the decision to have Botox after I was done breastfeeding my youngest baby as sort of a belated push present to myself (Botox is a no-no while pregnant or breastfeeding) and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I did some basic research beforehand - the usual, “can you die from Botox” typed into my trusty friend Google. I was comfortable knowing that Botox is essentially an injection that temporarily paralyses the facial muscles, which in turn removes and/or softens wrinkles. It has a proven track record of safety when used and dosed properly in cosmetic procedures and is not permanent. My stress was not over the procedure itself, it was finding the right injector. There’s no shortage of Botox horror stories so I wanted to make sure I went to an injector that was working from a reputable clinic and was board certified, I didn’t feel comfortable going to someone’s home spa or having my face injected at a Botox house party (did you guys know those are a thing now? Scary). I made the decision to go for a consult with Margaret Skorka who is a Board Certified Nurse Injector working at Skinjectables downtown Toronto and I knew immediately I had chosen the right person for my needs.
At my first consult I explained my concerns about my frown lines, forehead lines, and crow’s feet and Marg explained to me the benefits of using Botox to treat these areas. I expressed my concerns over looking frozen and unnatural and Marg explained how she prefers to dose slowly with new patients to see how each individual reacts to the treatment. If any additional units are needed they are administered at the two week follow up, rather than overdose at visit one and have unnatural results. I felt comfortable with the plan set forth for me and went ahead with the injections.
I imagined myself leaving the clinic with wrinkle free skin but it turns out Botox doesn’t actually set in for a couple days, with most people noticing results around 5 days that gradually improve over a period of two weeks. I was a slow responder and mine started to kick in around day 10, and as Marg promised, by two weeks my forehead lines were gone. I did need extra injections into my frown lines as apparently I have a very strong frown. My husband and my children can vouch for that.
Here is my before and after!
To say I am thrilled is an understatement. My forehead lines are completely gone and my frown lines are diminished by a good 85% I would guess. Repeated treatments will continue to soften the static lines and I am hoping my consistent use of retinols in the evening will take care of the last 15%. My makeup no longer sinks into those lines and I feel I look a lot more well rested, even on days with minimal sleep.
Even though I am confident in my decision, I still get nervous to share my decisions with friends or family. Will people think I am cheating the skincare community? Will my friends think I’m shallow? I still think there is a bit of a stigma around having “work” done and I don’t think this has to be the case at all. Personally, I think to each their own when it comes to self care and what’s right for me may not be what’s right for you. I will continue to have my Botox touched up when necessary. I love taking care of my skin, and I see injectables as a great compliment to my current skincare routine.