I first jumped on the botox bandwagon back in 2004 when I was in my mid 30’s. I didn’t really need it but all the cool kids were doing it so I thought, “what the heck?” I made an appointment with my dermatologist and he said he was going to give me back that “20 something look” so of course I was in but a few days later when it finally kicked in, I was less than thrilled with the result. Sure, my forehead looked smooth as a baby’s bottom but I felt like my eyebrows looked flat and my eyes expressionless when I smiled (think Stepford Wives) and I felt like it looked very obvious. I asked a few close friends if I looked “different” in a strange sort of way and they claimed I didn’t but I still wasn’t sold on the result. I will say that I did like the way it looked after about a month but I didn’t like feeling self conscious waiting around for a month for the effects to wear off. All I was doing was constantly checking myself out in the mirror to see if I looked weird. Isn’t the point of it supposed to be to make you feel more self confident?
Fast forward 10 years or so and I decided to try it again with a different injector and lo and behold I had the same exact experience. Flat brows and Stepford Wife look. I expressed this to a new dermatologist I’d started seeing who explained that because I have a lot of forehead space (almost a “five head” really), the skin has nowhere to go but down when all those muscles are paralyzed by the Botox. Hence, the flat brows. This made perfect sense! Also, I had heard that in the realm of skin aging, there are people whose skin wrinkles and those whose skin sags. I happen fall into the latter category so this realization got me to wondering if being a “sagger” has to do with my overall disenchantment with Botox. Perhaps it is better for people with firmer skin who want to prevent lines? I don’t know for sure but it is something I’ve pondered.
Anyway, I’ve experimented with a variety of different ways to see if I could find my holy grail of injection points that worked with my facial anatomy. Doing it high up on the forehead was better but still got flat-ish brows. One time it even “traveled” and I wound up with a droopy eye. Just in the center area of my forehead looked fine as long as I wasn’t making any extreme facial gestures, like crying, in which case my forehead and brows end up looking all strange and contorted. I also tried doing just near the outer brow to create a lift and ended up with a funny little bulge over my right brow. My injector suggested putting in a little more Botox to help relax it but that put me back to square one with flat brows. So then I tried it just around my crow’s feet and the skin around my eyes which looked great but the paralysis of those muscles gave me a strange “chipmunk cheek” effect when I smiled. This is all so frustrating to me because I have several friends who use it on a regular basis and love the result so why don’t I?
Anyway, all said and done I still haven’t landed on the perfect injection technique and quite honestly, I’m not entirely convinced it’s for someone like myself who has more skin laxity than vs. actual wrinkles. Perhaps I need to be saving my money for a future facelift? In short, I’ve found that fixing one problem area on my face simply creates another problem and for that reason, I’m not sure it’s worth it for me. Of course I know that having the right injector is key but I truly do think it boils down to a person’s facial anatomy and skin quality. For the meantime, I’m going to give my Botox experiementation a rest (at least for a while!) I’ve decided that my strategy will be to focus my efforts (and money) on treatments that help stimulate collagen production such as retinoids, laser skin tightening, acid peels and micro needling. Of course more sleep and less stress couldn’t hurt! 😉
What have been your experiences with Botox? Do you love it or hate it (or both)? Tell us about it in the comments below.