First Time Botox: What You Really Need To Know
All of your questions answered, right here.
Hi, my name is Amie and my one wish is to be just like Jane Fonda when I’m an *official* grown-up. A glam wardrobe to beat the band, never having to track the price of my weekly food shop (or do the food shopping, for that matter), and having fabulous skin after a bit of work, but of course, not looking like there’s too much work there. You get me?
So I always knew I’d start off with just a little botox to get me going. You might think I sound mad, but it’s just one of those things I’ve had planned for a while.
In my late twenties, I can see lines in my forehead that I’d really rather not be there. I know it’s not the end of the world, and you won’t spot them while wearing sunglasses and at a distance of two metres away, but I can see them, I don’t want them there and really, that’s all that matters. I know several people who’ve had it, and our editor Vicki told me that it’s nothing like filler – you’re not adding anything to the skin, simply paralysing a muscle. A lot of people often get Botox and filler confused, but they’re nothing alike other than they both come in a needle!
A couple of months ago, I decided that it’s time for anti-wrinkle injections as a preventative measure so that I don’t wake up one morning to these bad boys on my forehead deeper and a whole lot more obvious.
Making that decision in the middle of lockdown obviously meant I had to wait a little longer, and surprise surprise, I have to wait even longer thanks to everyone and their mother wanting to get the same treatment. I sat there, in a little huff, before realising that this is giving me the time to really look into what I’m doing. I was jumping into injections without asking any questions and with no hesitation and I’m 99.9% sure I’m not the only one who would jump into it eagerly.
So as a Botox newbie, I chatted with Dr. Rua at Thérapie Clinic to ask all the necessary questions, what we need to know for before and after treatment and everything in between.
Is there a prime age to begin using Botox for preventative measures?
“I wouldn’t exactly say there is any specific age that patients should start, as every patient is different. It really depends on a few things such as genetics, the amount of skin ageing and the strength of your muscles. What you find is at the age of 25 you see a decrease or change in collagen, and the skin isn’t as elastic as it used to be before and that’s when you see these wrinkles creep and get deeper.
We advise patients at that stage to make sure they are really taking care of their skin, to reduce photo ageing/ageing from the sun and that’s going to reduce wrinkles. Then if your skincare is really good and you do not have photodamage and you’re not smoking or drinking a lot of alcohol and there are still some wrinkles, I would advise a little bit of Botox.”
The big one – honestly, does it hurt?
“What I usually say to patients is that I’m a big baby and I don’t feel it. There are areas that are injected slightly differently so they will hurt a little bit more than others. We use a very small needle and it’s a very quick procedure that tends to be generally well-tolerated among many, it doesn’t hurt but it can be a little uncomfortable.”
What can someone expect from their first Botox treatment?
“This can vary between patients and it really depends on the quality of the skin and the depth of the lines that the patient might have and the result they are looking for. A younger patient who has soft lines at rest with good skin might expect the lines to really significantly soften if not completely disappear. Now the more established the deeper the line is the longer it’s been there we are obviously not going to get as dramatic a result.
So we expect your muscle to relax, it’s a muscle relaxant at the end of the day so the muscle won’t move as strongly so you won’t fold into that line as strongly as you did before and so the line should soften but if the line is there at rest at the beginning of treatment it will likely only soften with your first treatment, it will not disappear.
Patients tend to need consecutive Botox treatments over the course of a year, sometimes up to two years every 3-4 months for about two years with really good skincare in between to ensure the lines significantly soften if not disappear.”
Are there any skincare products or ingredients you can’t use pre or post-treatment?
“I tend to advise patients to avoid using anything active the night before, so no retinol and avoid any strong vitamin C if possible. Also, I tend to say avoid them post-treatment for about a week again just because the skin can be more sensitive, it doesn’t have any efficacy on the way it works and settles.
Skin treatments such as the likes of micro-needling, Hydra Facials and peels, I advise avoiding them for about 4 weeks pre Botox treatment and 4 weeks after treatment as well as the skin can be left a little sensitive and skin can be left in peeling phase after these treatments and we don’t want to cause any further damage because we are using needles and are using prepping agents such as alcohol to clean the skin and we don’t want to cause any irritation to the skin. “
Is there anything else people should know, pre or post-treatment?
“Pre-treatment, I love it if people come in without makeup on, avoid retinol 24 hours before and avoid any facials 2-4 weeks before. What people should know is that Botox is not a skin treatment and if you want to see real results your skin has to be in good condition. Working on your skin using the appropriate skincare, wearing SPF and hydrating yourself.
Post-treatment, avoid exercise for 24 hours afterwards and ensure you don’t have any major plans. Botox is a lunchtime procedure but sometimes you can get a small bruise which can upset some people, so we advise not to have any major plans 24 hours after, keeping the head upright and avoiding too much pressure (like a helmet).”
How long does the procedure take and how long does it take to see results?
“It takes longer for the consultation than the treatment itself. In total, you’re in the room for about 15-20 minutes and we have a consultation chat every time just to make sure patients know the limitations on the treatment and the way it works, plus the possible areas for a doctor to inject.
The actual procedure can be done very quickly, taking around 2-5 minutes.
You really start to fully absorb the Botox and start to see or feel some effects after about three days. After three days you don’t really see anything, but you start to feel tightness in the muscle, change in the muscle. After about a week you start to see some visible results but not all.
The peak effect is about 14 days – when it’s fully settled. After 14 days is when we would follow up with patients to make dose adjustments if required and if there was anything to be adjusted.”
Images via Twenty20
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