I am indeed a Botox virgin however to me Botox is no different to any other “assistance” we embark upon to feel better about ourselves. Hair colouring, laser hair removal, gel nails or fake eyelashes. We do what we need to in order to feel good. And as much as I had contemplated Botox for my wrinkles (yes – there’s a point when they just AREN’T fine lines any more!) I had never done it.
I can tell you that I am one of those people who has been waiting on the sidelines for some time now. Wanting to take the plunge but something held me back. And when I think about WHY.. well… quite frankly… I was scared. Very. I’ve seen some pretty horrific looking faces out there that have been “overdone” and it looks RIDICULOUS. So yes. I was panicked about looking like that. Sacred about doing it and then not being happy and being stuck with it for 4 -6 months. Every time I thought about it I’d have a mild panic attack and gut out. But I then I did see people who looked good so I was always tempted.
So it became clearer to me. There are those who “have” and those who “will not” and those who “haven’t… yet” myself included in the latter category. I had so many questions (as I do) so I decided that for all of us who “haven’t…yet”, I wanted to lift the lid on this thing, DO IT and SHARE my journey.
I had really limited knowledge about Botox. I really only had passing thoughts…
* Was botox poison?
* Would it hurt?
* Would I look like a freak?
* Would my forehead be “frozen”
* Could I still express being surprised?? Worried??
* How much is it??? Is it going to send me bankrupt?
So. What IS botox? I only ever heard it was poison. Another reason to stay away?
Botox is a toxin – poisonous if EATEN. However when injected, delivers a tiny dose of toxin that blocks communication between nerves and muscles. Experts agree it is safe when used correctly for approved conditions (Exert from Time Magazine July, 2017).
OK that was just something I read. I didn’t want to research Botox itself – really just where to go. I’m not here to start a debate on whether it’s safe or not or if one should or shouldn’t. I’m sure if I research enough about my microwave, gel nails or hair dye, SOMEONE will warn against it. Not to mention alcohol and my poor liver!
After much research I decided to go to Cutis Laser Clinic at Pacific Plaza. Dr. Sylvia Ramirez.
This place was lovely. Many expats going in and out which I liked. I was seen on time, I was asked many questions, filled out a survey and had a full consult where everything was patiently explained to me together with an analysis of my face. I really didn’t feel shamed during this process and I didn’t feel rushed at all. This doctor patiently explained everything. I didn’t feel any “hard sell”. I felt informed. I was enlightened. There are a myriad different treatments for every and any concern. It’s like an a menu. How hungry was I? Did I want to
Important to know..
* Each area of the face requires a different treatment plan to rectify
* All botox administers are not created equal. Technique is vital. Hit the wrong muscle and your forehead WILL drop. SKILL IS CRUCIAL
* Botox can be watered down by some places
Your face is no different to any regime. A fitness/wellness regime isn’t JUST weights or JUST diet or JUST 4 weeks. It’s a program. A “plan” of gradual change depending on your circumstance and desire. The different treatments require explanation in order to know what to do, and in which order over a period of time. This is determined by your end game. There is something for EVERY concern but it all comes at a price and a time frame.
MY *B* DAY
The morning of my treatment I had a brief panic attack. I talked myself off the ledge and went in.
Dr. Ramirez has an incredible bedside manner. She is caring and nurturing. Comes across very genuine. (I have a pretty good bullshit radar). What I found impressive, was one of the questions asked, was my level of anxiety surrounding the treatment. I explained I was worried about not enjoying the sensation AFTER treatment and that I would feel “trapped”.
So She told me she could just do a sprinkling. Go slow. Wait a couple of weeks then see how I felt and do some more if I wanted to. I immediately felt more relaxed. Safer. I’d just dip a toe in and see how I felt. Perfect.
I asked if it hurt. She said they use numbing cream and ice to reduce any discomfort. Okaaaay….
Then I got to lie down. Someone took off my makeup in a relaxing facial style way. I was given a blanket and felt very relaxed. Then numbing cream was applied to my forehead.
Dr. Ramirez came in and her soothing voice and lovely demeanor filled me with comfort and confidence which was just what I needed.
I asked her how thick the needle was, how deeply it penetrated. Everything was explained to me. What I would feel and when, chances of bruising – what marks there would be afterwards, and what “after care” I needed to do.
Pencil lines were then drawn on my frown lines.
Here are my before pics – ignore the smears of numbing cream!
So you can see even when at rest I have prominent lines – and many wrinkles when I am expressive.
Each spot where I needed to be injected was iced first by the assistant. I took a deep breath and she began.
My initial reaction to the needle was “is that it?” Honestly for me the pain was a 3 out of 10. Each spot has a different level of sensitivity but even when she said “ok this one will be sensitive” I’d still say maybe a 4 out of 10 pain level – and I’m a wimp! Waxing hurts waaaay more. This was a walk in the park! It’s a very very fine needle – a blood test for me is much more painful.
The marks and redness was were iced and this is what I looked like as soon as the treatment ended.
I was then taken to the Vanity area – where a sunblock and powder foundation was applied so I could leave feeling “made up”
Straight after treatment I didn’t feel anything. I kept checking the mirror and moving my forehead.
A few hours later I felt sensations which can best be described as cool liquid in my head. Nothing painful but definitely a sensation.
Took about 5-7 days for me to see a change and 2 weeks to get a complete effect. It’s really gradual as I didn’t notice anything “happening” during the day.
10 DAYS AFTER…
ME TRYING TO MAKE WRINKLES
Let me tell you, I bloody love it. I do. I can still move my eyes, I don’t feel “frozen” or “blocked”. I can still look excited. I’m delighted and I know I was in the best hands.
The after care has been great as well. I received an email checking up on me which I appreciated.
HOW MUCH IS IT?
Botox is charged in volume. So no “fixed” price. My forehead cost $300 which I was comfortable with. But that was me. Be sure to ask for a quote or give a budget. When I think a gel mani/pedi costs me $186 which has to be done every 2 weeks this is actually affordable in comparison.
It is expected to last 3-4 months.
Are there cheaper places? Probably but I am not about to entrust my face with just anyone. This ISN’T a mani pedi that if I get a botched job I can just “soak off” and start again. This is my face. SO I’m happy to go to someone bloody good.
For me I will continue botox. I see no downside – other than another thing I have to maintain. The is questions is – how far do you go? Where does it end? I can totally see how people get the “bug” and want more and more. It can become a slippery slope. Perfecting one area of the face only then highlights other flaws but I’m happy with my forehead, and if I choose to do more I will tread carefully.
I am VERY pro any treatment which makes us feel better about ourselves and I CANNOT understand why people still whisper about Botox and don’t talk about it. (Newsflash – it’s obvious who has and hasn’t).
This should be normalised. There’s NO shame in it. Stand proud with your smooth foreheads and enjoy!