Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a pretty animated face. I make a lot of facial expressions. My animated expressions are a part of my personality, and I really like that. But wearing my feelings on my face for the last 40 years has earned me a few small horizontal lines on my forehead and around my eyes.
Let’s be clear right up front: Fine lines and wrinkles are 100% normal and something that everyone experiences at some point in life. That said, if you prefer a smoother, line-free complexion, Botox is here to help. And, believe it or not, more people than you might think have undergone this cosmetic treatment.
Botox is one of those things people have many misconceptions and questions about: How do you know if you are a good candidate for Botox? Does it hurt? Is it safe? Does it come with any adverse effects? These are just a few questions I hear when the topic of Botox arises. So, let’s talk about it. Here’s my Botox 101, where we will discuss all that and more below.
So, what is Botox?
Botox is an injectable neurotoxin used to smooth fine lines and wrinkles. According to plasticsurgery.org, it’s the #1 most popular minimally-invasive cosmetic procedure in the United States, with over 4 million people partaking in the treatment. Botox is actually a brand name for botulinum toxin injections, similar to Dysport and Xeomin.
Botox works by blocking nerve impulses to the muscles, causing them to relax, effectively freezing the area. As a result, your expressions soften, and your wrinkles are reduced.
Botox can also treat medical conditions like migraines, abnormally excessive sweating, teeth grinding, neck spasms, and jaw clenching.
The treatment is perfectly safe as long as it’s administered by a licensed professional, preferably a nurse practitioner or a dermatologist.
The areas most commonly treated with botox are:
- The forehead
- The space between the eyebrows (known as the glabellar)
- The area around the eyes (known as crow’s feet), and
- The chin to correct dimpling or a chin cleft
Botox 101: Why I Got Botox
I became intrigued with Botox in 2020. This intrigue stemmed from staring at my face on Zoom every day that year. I noticed lines when I made certain facial expressions that I wanted to blur. And Botox is known for reversing mild lines and preventing them from developing.
Although I don’t have many wrinkles on my forehead, I have pretty deep lines between my eyebrows. I’m sure they come from the communicatory facial expressions I spoke about earlier, but I wanted to subtly get rid of those frown lines.
Don’t get me wrong, my goal is to age gracefully. I speak about that often. I’m relatively young, I’m confident, and I’m happy with my skin. But, I was intrigued to see if botox would give me the subtle change I desired.
Dr. Mica O’Gilvie on Botox: “Planning + Execution gives a controlled outcome.“Tweet
Botox In The Black Community
There is a stigma about injectables, especially for black women, for many reasons:
- It wasn’t regularly discussed within our community until recently.
- There’s a lack of familiarity with the results, and
- There’s the misleading saying that “Black doesn’t crack.” And it can. As Dr.
However, this stigma is slowly changing.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 1.78 million Black Americans got cosmetic procedures in 2020, and the numbers have risen annually.Tweet
Botox 101: My Botox Experience
SkinCeuticals SkinLab™ by Tribeca MedSpa is a cosmetic dermatology studio on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that offers facials, skincare, and cosmetic treatments like Botox and fillers. Their professional, doctor-led team provides a comprehensive approach to help you find the right in-office treatments and skincare regimen to deliver the best results.
Dr. Mica O’Gilvie administered my injections. She is a black, female experienced Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Nurse Practitioner who takes an individualized approach to aesthetics and tailors her treatments to achieve aesthetically pleasing results for each patient. I was confident that I’d be in safe and capable hands.
Before my Botox treatment, I consulted with Dr. Mica O’Gilvie to discuss where I thought I wanted Botox and whether it was a good option for the skin issues I wanted to treat.
During the Botox Treatment
The treatment was quick and relatively painless. The injections took less than 30 minutes.
Dr. Mica O’Gilvie had me make a series of expressions before she injected me. I was nervous, especially when I discovered she wasn’t numbing the area. But, to my surprise, the injections didn’t really hurt. Each prick felt similar to the pinching sensation of an acupuncture needle.
After the injections, it looked like I had a series of mosquito bites on my forehead. But I applied an ice pack, and the redness and inflammation dissipated before I left the office. I was happy that I could walk around the city and look normal right after the procedure.
Although you can leave your botox treatment and resume your normal activities, Dr. Mica O’Gilvie recommends following a few post-care instructions:
- Wait 24-48 Hours to Exercise – While there is no real risk to exercising immediately after your treatment, you can increase your risk of bruising and movement of the botox. Therefore, if you want to avoid an elevated chance of bruising and swelling or having the botox move in a place where you don’t want it, it’s best to wait 24-48 hours after your injections before participating in any strenuous exercise.
- Don’t lie down for at least 4 hours – This can cause your Botox to move around your face and potentially slip into the orbit of your eye. If this happens, it could cause your eyelids to droop.
- Don’t Drink Alcohol – Alcohol acts as a blood thinner and can cause inflammation, increasing the likelihood of bruising and swelling. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours after your treatment.
- Don’t Touch! – One of the biggest mistakes made by people in the hours after their procedure is touching their face. Under no circumstances should you rub your face or have any sort of facial massage for at least 24 hours after your Botox injections. Doing so could move the Botox serum into an unwanted area and cause complications. You should also avoid facials / laser treatments and microdermabrasion for at least 10 days (or go before your Botox treatment).
- Stay Out of the Sun – Avoid sun exposure for at least four hours. Excessive heat can promote flushing and increase your blood pressure, which can, in turn, encourage bruising. To be extra safe, stay out of the sun for 24 to 48 hours. It’s also a good idea to avoid heated exercise classes immediately after your appointment.
A follow-up appointment is included in the service. So, I met with Dr. Mica two weeks after my first treatment to ensure we were satisfied with my results.
Botox 101: When Should You Expect To See Results?
Botox is not a procedure where you see results immediately; it takes 10-14 days for everything to settle. Despite knowing Dr. Mica O’Gilvie‘s professional credentials, I feared I’d look like a weird, altered version of myself versus a more youthful, refreshed one.
However, after about 3-5 days, I started to see the effects of my Botox treatment. By day 10, I found myself loving the results. I looked like a refreshed and more relaxed version of myself.
I also love that Dr. Mica O’Gilvie wasn’t overly eager to fix issues that didn’t exist. She injected just enough, so I could make my ever-knowingly animated facial expressions sans frown lines and a wrinkled forehead. Please know if Botox is applied correctly, you can still make expressions and not be frozen. That is why it’s essential to see an expert.
Botox 101: How Much Does Botox Cost?
The cost of Botox is a loaded topic, and the simple answer is that it depends. Like many cosmetic treatments, Botox costs vary based on location and the extent of work patients would like done.
Botox is generally priced by “unit.” And you will know how many units you’ll need to achieve the desired results once you go in for the treatment.
For reference, SkinCeuticals® SkinLab by Tribeca MedSpa charges $15/unit, and I received Botox in 3 areas, totaling 36 units. So, that’s a total of $540 for my treatment.
Dr. Mica O’Gilvie recommends, “Start low with the dosing if you are hesitant and gradually increase to a comfortable dosage. Every person is different, and every face is unique. So what one person may have done will not be what another requires.”
Botox 101: Would I Get Botox Again?
I will absolutely get Botox again! I look more well-rested, my skin looks smoother, and I feel like I look younger, and I can also move my eyebrows up and down, but my frown lines are half the size they were before. And if you’re not a trained professional, you wouldn’t know I got anything done.
Botox lasts 3-6 months, and the lines and wrinkles will reappear and need to be treated again. The results of Botox greatly depend on your body’s ability to metabolize the neurotoxin, so your need to get treated again will vary with each individual.
Though the outcome of my Botox treatment appears rather natural, I’m still amazed and excited by it all!
If there is something I want to enhance about myself, I should be able to do that because life is too short. It makes me feel good, and that’s what matters. So, if you see your fine lines sticking around when you’re not making an expression and you want to get rid of them, check out Botox.
Are you thinking about getting Botox?
What other questions do you want to know about Botox treatments?