Needles and injections can sound scary, but if you’ve ever considered getting Botox I’m here to tell you it’s not that bad (and I hate needles). I know I’m only 24 years old, but I started noticing lines and wrinkles forming on my forehead and around my eyes early on. That’s why I finally took the plastic surgery plunge and booked my first Botox appointment – I ain’t ashamed to admit it!
Botox, scientifically known as botulinum toxin, is the most common non-invasive aesthetic procedure in the United States, according to Dr. Grace Kim Austin, MD, a facial plastic surgeon in Northridge, CA. “Botulinum toxin is an injectable neuromodulator that is used to prevent aging and temporarily reduce frown lines,” she says. “These neuromodulators are injected into muscles, weakening them to reduce the appearance of undesirable fine lines and wrinkles caused by expressions such as frowning, squinting, and scowling.”
While it’s a quick and simple procedure, there are a few important things to keep in mind before booking your first appointment. So Dr. Austin is breaking down everything you should know before getting Botox below.
How to Prepare
On the morning of your appointment, Dr. Austin suggests, “If medically able, it’s best to avoid medications or supplements that act as a blood thinner five days before the procedure to reduce bruising.” This includes blood thinners such as aspirin, vitamin E, and Omega-3 fish oil. Dr. Austin also cautions that the procedure isn’t right for you if you have a botulinum allergy, infection at the planned injection site, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have certain muscle and nerve disorders.
“After the procedure, avoid massage of the treated area and strenuous exercise to prevent displacement of the neuromodulator, ice the area on and off for the first four hours to reduce bruising, and avoid consuming an excess amount of alcohol or salts to avoid swelling,” says Dr. Austin. “By the next day, you can resume all your regular activities.”
If you have an early morning appointment and aren’t good with needles (aka me), I’d make sure to eat breakfast beforehand. The first time I went I got a little dizzy in the middle of the procedure and had to take a short break halfway through.
According to Dr. Austin, “The most common areas to treat are the glabellar lines (also known as the frown lines between brows), wrinkles around the eyes (“crows feet”), forehead wrinkles, corners of the mouth, wrinkles on the nose (“bunny lines”), an “orange peel” appearance of the chin, and reducing platysmal bands (vertical muscle bands) on the neck.
The actual procedure is simple and relatively quick. However, it takes some time after your procedure for the neuromodulator to show results. It typically takes two to five days with the maximum effect usually starting around 10 to 14 days. The effects last three to six months and treatments are recommended accordingly.
“Some side effects patients may experience include muscle weakness around the treatment area, headache, and nausea,” according to Dr. Austin. However, headaches and nausea are uncommon and tend to resolve the following day. If the injections are not done properly, it may result in facial asymmetry or droopy eyelids. That’s why it’s important to do your research and find the best physician for you.
“Injection is an art and you want to find someone experienced with a variety of products,” says Dr. Austin. “It is important to find a specialist who understands facial anatomy and can treat complications. So don’t be afraid to ask about training and certification.”
P.S. If you’re in the LA area and considering any kind of facial procedure, I highly recommend giving Dr. Austin a call. She’s seriously the best!!