I am a huge fan of Botox! I started getting it done when I was 28 (don’t judge) and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m such a proponent of it that I’m on my 5th friend that I’ve gotten to try it out and they all equally love it. I know some people are curious about it, but still have some unanswered questions in order to decide whether they’re gonna take the Botox plunge or not. I’m here to help you with some knowledge I’ve learned and with my own personal experience. Let’s get started.
WHAT EXACTLY IS BOTOX?
Botox is actually a particular brand name for botulinum toxin which temporarily restricts muscles from contracting causing wrinkles. It’s actually said to be preventative because if you get it early enough than your face will never get used to making those facial expressions that cause the wrinkles to begin with! The most common places it is used is to get rid of crow’s feet, frown lines (which are the two lines that show up in between your eyebrows called “11’s”), and forehead creases (the horizontal lines that can show on your forehead when you raise your eyebrows). It’s also been know to be used in armpits to decrease sweating, temple area to reduce headaches/migraines, soften thick jaw muscles, gummy smiles, lip lines, near lips to make them look bigger by preventing the top lip from disappearing when smiling, approve dimpling in chin, and thick neck bands. I’m sure there’s even more that I’m leaving out.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BOTULINUM TOXIN?
Botox- The first to be introduced in 2002 and why everyone just calls all botulinum toxin Botox even if they really mean another product. For the rest of the post I’ll be referring to botulinum toxin as BT and only use Botox if I’m referring to that specific type of toxin.
Dysport (pronounced “diss-port”)- Introduced 7 years later and claims to spread the toxin farther than Botox and to take into affect quicker and last longer (Botox usually takes about a week to see the full results).
Xeomin (pronounced “zee-oh-min”)- This toxin was first launched in 2012, but there was some drama with them stealing some consumer stuff from Allergan (the company that manufactures Botox) so they had to re-launch in 2013. Very similar to Botox except it lacks carrier proteins which claims to produce fewer allergic reactions or resistance to the toxin. Also the only one that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
WHICH BT IS THE BEST?
This is from my personal experience and from opinions from friends. First, I’ve never tried Xeomin. I’ve never even been offered it before. I read that it might be cheaper than the other two because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and shipped in dry ice like the others so some offices pass on the savings to you. Botox is my personal favorite. It’s what I’ve used 99% of the time. It takes a week for me to see the final results, but I just plan accordingly and make sure I get it done a week before an event. It can last anywhere from 3-6 months. I’ve read that with continued use of Botox you can slowly spread out how often you need it because of long term weakening of the muscle and your face being “re-trained” on the use of your facial expressions. I honestly believe that because when I first got it done it would only last me about 3 months, but now it usually lasts me up to 6 months. My “11’s” are the worst and I noticed that my face was “re-trained” and I don’t make that frown face hardly as much as I used to. I know it sounds weird, but trust me. The only other place I’ve used Botox on is my crow’s feet, but luckily I don’t have them very bad to begin with. FYI you can only treat your crow’s feet with BT and not the wrinkles directly under your eyes. Those wrinkles are actually REALLY hard to get rid of, but can be improved with filler (that’ll be another post soon) or retinol which I’ve posted about before. I recently tried Dysport and I wasn’t a fan. It seemed to only last me two months, but my friend uses it and she loves it. Dysport is supposed to spread farther after injection so it’s better for larger areas cuz you’ll need less injections. Some doctors mix and match toxins. My friend gets Dysport for the larger forehand area and Botox for her smaller crow’s feet area. I was recommended Dysport by a new doctor that I’ve been seeing. Usually when you go to a new doctor they’re not sure how many units of toxin you’ll need because we’re all different and some of us have stronger facial muscles than others. They often go conservative and check on you in a week and if you’re not satisfied they offer you to come back for a touch-up. My advice. ALWAYS GO BACK. I made the mistake of not going back once because at the time my face looked perfect, but soon after the muscles started contracting. The doctors will touch you up for FREE if you go back soon, but after that you have to pay again so trust me just go and get more. I went back to get a touch-up of the Dysport and it STILL only lasted two months which is why I’m going back to Botox.
DO THE INJECTIONS HURT?
It depends. While it’s definitely not a walk in the park, I have a high pain threshold so sometimes I tell them to skip the numbing cream and just get on with it. Beauty is pain though so I don’t mind at all. Sometimes you can hear the muscle crunching when they inject the toxin which creeped me out at first, but not a big deal anymore.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?
There are all sorts of side effects that are possible as expected with a toxin. Too many to list, but I’ll tell you the most common ones. The first is a headache. I’ve only gotten a headache once and honestly I think because this other new doctor (I’m currently trying to find the best doctor in Dallas right now) was I think insulted that I called him out in front of a resident and told him that my Botox faded quickly from the previous visit so he aggressively injected my forehead. Jerk. FYI he shall remain nameless, but he’s supposed to be one of the top plastic surgeons in Dallas. Anyways, it was just a headache and my face looked fabulous afterwards so whatever (I never went back though). Second, is a droopy or uneven eyelid. I never experienced this with Botox, but I finally did when I tried Dysport. Not sure if it was the Dysport or the doctor’s fault. Mine honestly wasn’t that bad I just realized that when I was coloring in my eyebrows that one of them needed to be colored in slightly higher. For two of my friends though, it was rather noticeable. One of them had one eyebrow arched a lot high than the other. The other friend had one of her eyebrows droop to where she had one arched eyebrow and one straight one. I honestly believe that this side effect is caused by the doctor so make sure you do your research. The last common side effect is bruising. I typically don’t bruise, but if I do it’s usually a small dot where the injection was and can be easily covered up with makeup.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
I say it ranges about $10-$15/unit with $12 being average. 1 unit of Botox = 2.5 units of Dysport. 1 unit of Botox = 1 unit of Xeomin. Some places even do it by area. One doctor I went to would charge $300 for the first area ( i.e. “11’s”) and $250 for the second ( i.e. crow’s feet). It depends how many units and how many areas you get done. I always just get two areas done so mine is usually anywhere from $450-$550 depending on units. I would say if you’re really lucky and don’t need that many units and only get one area done then at minimum you’ll spend $250. Keep in mind that except that one doctor who charged per area, most doctors won’t give you a total price. They’ll just tell you how much each unit costs ( usually you have to ask) and then they just start injecting away. The doctor won’t stop injecting until they get it perfect which could be $300 or $500 later and you won’t know until you get to the checkout desk. If you’re budget conscious then your best bet is to let your doctor know you want to start off with your area that bothers you the most and ask them how many units they used when they’re done to figure out the cost and whether you want to move on to another area. Some manufactures’ or offices will run specials too. I had one doctor who if you paid $1,000 for an entire bottle you would pay only $10/unit instead of $12 or $13. They would keep the product for me and keep track of how many units I had left, but I made note of how many units I had left too just in case. Yes I know it’s expensive and you may want to bargain shop, but please don’t. This is your face for god’s sake! I’ve only ever been injected by medical doctors. Two dermatologists and two plastic surgeons. There are some med spa’s where some nurse’s do the injections and though that personally still makes me nervous, I’ve heard some wonderful things about nurse’s. JUST DO YOUR RESEARCH.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST DOCTOR?
Ask around. If you see someone who’s face looks fabulous ask them who they go to (if they admit to it). I’ve seen some really horrible frozen faces around town so I wouldn’t just trust reviews. I’d make sure you see a patient in person. My favorite doctor ever was a dermatologist in Los Angeles (supposedly she’s Jennifer Lopez’s doc) and I was referred to her by a friend who looked amazing. She really was a big difference. Mainly with filler (I promise that post will come), but I also never had any side effects with my Botox and just looked fantastic. I was so bummed when I moved to Dallas and had to find a new doctor. My LA doc actually recommended someone, but it ended up being that doctor who aggressively injected my forehead 😳 He really may not be a bad doctor, but I just didn’t like his bedside manner. Who knew doctors could be so sensitive? Anyways, ask around, look at pics or a patient in person and DON’T be cheap about it unless a possible droopy eye is worth saving several hundreds of dollars to you.
So should you do it? Well first, can you afford it? It’s actually kinda addictive because once you get it and you see how young and amazing you look then you’ll want to just keep doing it. On the other hand, nothing happens if you just stop doing it or take a break from it. If you don’t have the funds to do it consistently then you can just do it around special occasions as long as you don’t get addicted to it. I personally think that BT and fillers mixed with great skincare products (retinol!) are the key to looking young forever! 😍 Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments or any doctor recommendations (especially in Dallas)!