Before I worked as a beauty editor, I swore off injectables (think: Botox) because I didn't want to mess with my face. And if I'm honest, the topic was still taboo for me. Primarily due to the messaging I grew up with about being a Black woman and aging. All the women around me have aged "gracefully" and used minimal skin care products. So why should my beauty journey be any different?
Well, that ideal has changed for me. And I see beauty and aging from a less critical and judgmental lens. One valuable piece of information I've learned in my beauty career that changed my perspective is most of the people we admire in the public eye are using preventive treatments. And, I'm not talking $400 creams and serums.
My Entry to Botox
Remember how I said I vowed never to get anything injected into my face? Well, those days are over. I'd been invited to try Botox a few times because of my work, but I kept avoiding it. But recently, turning 36, I've had a change of heart out of pure curiosity.
Will I still be able to move my face? Spoiler alert: Yes. Will I look overdone? Is anyone going to know I've been treated? So, I visited The Atlanta Injectors at Lemmon Avenue Atlanta and consulted with Allie McAllister, NP-C, DCNP, the founder of The Atlanta Injectors, to see if I could confirm or bust these myths.
First things first: the consult. Allie asked me first, "What do you see?" I loved that she didn't look at my face and give me a laundry list of things that needed fixing. In fact, she validated me and my natural beauty during the process, adding that I didn't need much done. But, I wanted her to tell me what she saw. Her suggestions were to treat my crow's feet and glabella—the area between the eyes and the nose. For her, less is more. And that was what I needed to hear.
Courtesy of Bianca Lambert
Next up, she marked the injection sites with a white pencil. And it was time for my first ever Botox treatment. I'm sure you're wondering if it was painful. Not really. It was nothing above a slight pinch. But it also helped that they gave me Mr. Buzzy: a white vibrator held onto tightly I kept on my chest that helped me focus on something else. Before each injection, she'd ask me to either frown or smile to get the Botox right where it needed to be. And in what felt like a few minutes, I was done. Aside from the Botox, she did have more suggestions, chin filler, which I also said yes to and will share more about soon.
Courtesy of Bianca Lambert
There are a few post-appointment do's and don'ts:
- Do ice any swelling.
- Don't lie down for the first four hours after treatment to prevent Botox from migrating (So no naps unless you can sleep straight up).
- Don't drink any alcohol for 48 hours.
- Don't do any rigorous exercising for 48 hours.
- Don't massage your face for at least 72 hours.
Ok, so what is Botox?
To answer this question accurately, I chatted with cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green. "Botox is the name of a medication derived from botulinum toxin type A, a toxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium," Green tells xoNecole. Botox is an Allergan product and has been FDA-approved since 2002 for cosmetic purposes to reduce fine lines and wrinkles (think: areas on the forehead, glabella aka the elevens, and crow's feet around the eyes. Botox is also used to treat chronic migraines and muscle spasms. But there are other cosmetic neurotoxins, too: Dysport, Xeomin, and Jeuveau.
Is there any downtime with Botox?
"The best thing about Botox: there is little to no downtime with Botox injections," Green shares. However, she does note that with any injections, whether cosmetic or medical, there may be temporary swelling or bruising for a few days post-treatment.
"If you are prone to bruising or have an important event that you want to prevent bruising for, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of bruising and swelling,” she adds. “Avoid blood thinners and blood-thinning agents such as aspirin, Motrin, vitamin E, and fish oil for at least one week prior to the injections. Refrain from drinking alcohol for one day before the injections."
And one final tool to minimize bruising and swelling: a good ole ice pack.
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