Considering getting Botox for the first time? Read on…
My twenties were spent reveling in the optimism of youth, never once worrying about the lines that may appear on my face in the years to come or how my metabolism would slow to the point of wondering if it was even working anymore. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be one of those people to start tinkering with their face, having seen family members undertake every procedure, lift and injectable known to mankind – the results of which were definitely not doing anything for promoting cosmetic enhancement. However, here I am a decade on, a soon-to-be 37 year old woman who looks in the mirror every day to see those telltale signs of ageing slowly taking hold; I’m all for embracing the joy of ageing as a privilege and not feeling the pressure to ‘turn back the clock’, but I’m also struggling with the changes I see and the fact the inevitability of time is taking hold.
I first started considering Botox two years ago in the lead up to our wedding. One big line was starting to appear on my forehead, just between my brows, and I was becoming more conscious of it day to day. The problem with taking photos of yourself for a living is that you start to scrutinise every area in a rather abnormal way, and that line was becoming something that stopped me feeling my best – my makeup would sit in it throughout the day, and in photos I found myself inclined to airbrush it away. Although at the time it slipped down my list of priorities, and the thought of injecting something into my face just before I get 1000 photos taken didn’t seem like the best idea, the desire to try Botox never went away.
For the past couple of years I’ve researched Botox endlessly, started inquiries numerous times, asked others for recommendations and to share their experiences, but I’ve just never got off my backside and done it. Until now. When my good friend Chloe from Lady Writes told me she was booking an appointment at White Swan Aesthetics* on London’s Harley Street and asked if I wanted to join, I jumped at the chance to finally take the leap alongside a friend who was as new to the whole thing as I was – and finally explore getting Botox for the first time.
As far as the appointment itself, I don’t think I was there for longer than thirty minutes – and most of that was spent discussing my desires and filling in forms. Dr Adam was incredibly professional, asking why I wanted Botox and what my expectations were, before explaining what was possible and what I could expect to achieve. There was no pressure to proceed at all, and I could’ve walked away at any point, but I decided on two key areas: between my brows and across my forehead, as Dr Adam explained he very rarely just does one area for fear of it appearing a little droopy. (The forehead helps to balance what’s happening lower down, lifting the brows and creating a much more youthful result.)
Overall I had eleven individual injections of Botox across my forehead, most of which I didn’t even feel. I expected them to be quite sharp and uncomfortable, but in fact most of them went completely unnoticed; a handful were definitely not comfortable, but they weren’t painful and it was over so quickly that it’s not something to dwell on if that’s what’s holding you back (and it answers the question of ‘does Botox hurt’!) Each injection site left a slight ‘bee sting’ look behind, but this quickly faded to leave barely any noticeable mark – so much so that Chloe and I went straight out for dinner afterwards.
After building it up in my head for so long and worrying about getting Botox for the first time, it really was a bit like ‘was that it?!’ But in the interests of sharing my experience, I decided to keep a ‘Botox Diary’ over the three weeks it takes for it you to see the full results. I wanted to share what I was seeing, experiencing and feeling as a first time Botox user, in the hope it could inform someone else’s decision making process. So here it is…
MY BOTOX DIARY
Day 1: Leaving the surgery on Harley Street I feel a strange kind of elation, like I’ve just inexplicably defied the ageing process and I’m going to have my youthful wrinkle-free skin back in no time. I was so surprised how little it hurt and how quick it was, so much so that I’m already mentally planning my next visit having not even seen the results. So far my head feels a little odd (probably something to do with the fact it’s now carrying around a vial of liquid within it) and I keep getting the occasional mild jarring tingle-slash-prick around some of the entry points, but other than that it’s subtle enough to carry about my day; nobody else would ever know the difference.
Day 3: It’s been a bit of a challenge to remember to not sleep with any pressure on my face for the first few days, a key instruction to stop the Botox from moving around or pooling in one place, and I’m feeling tired from consciously trying to stop myself from collapsing into my usual positions. I’ve been told not to do any facial massage or treatment for a few weeks, so I’m being overly cautious with my makeup and skincare regime – probably to the detriment of my skin in the short term! But I’ve started to notice a little difference already: my forehead definitely has less movement and the wrinkle between my brows is less pronounced.
Day 5: I’ve been allowed to get back to sleeping normally and gently cleansing my face over the last few days, which makes all the difference. There’s now a lot more of a visible change to my forehead and I feel like I’m starting to see the kind of result I’ll get at the end of the next couple of weeks. Although my face feels a little tight, my forehead is much smoother and the wrinkles are a lot less pronounced; between my brows the line is definitely about 50% less prominent than it was before, and the lines towards the edge of my brows are almost gone. The biggest thing I’ve noticed though is the arch of my brow, which is now much lifted and much more youthful; I’m able to draw in my brows so effortlessly and they look so much better than they have been. Dr Adam did say that I may get a bit of a brow lift as a side effect of where he put the Botox, so I’m really chuffed with that!
Day 7: My forehead has definitely been transformed already, in a week! I was worried I wouldn’t be able to physically move my face or that it would feel really tight and uncomfortable, but the truth is I still have the majority of movement and I barely notice my forehead feeling different unless I catch myself thinking about it. I can really tell the difference now, the deep lines being so much reduced and the brow creases almost being airbrushed; it just looks like I’ve had a really great facial and a fab night’s sleep. The telling sign is that nobody has noticed or commented, which is what I wanted – just to look like me, but a few years younger! The only negative is that in the last few days I’ve noticed some little spots popping up across my forehead, presumably because I’m only gently cleansing but possibly because there’s now a toxin under the skin…
Week Two: After a fortnight my face seems to have settled a little more, leaving me with a noticeably smooth forehead and overall much fresher look. I’ve definitely noticed it’s harder to move the muscles, although I do still have a certain degree of movement, which takes some getting used to. I’m loving my new brow arches that are so much easier to fill in, and the line between my brows is barely noticeable from afar; I have to get up close in the mirror to even see where it is, and over the last week it’s become much less visible. I’ve still got annoying pimples across the centre of my forehead, and as one goes another couple pop up, but I’m hoping these will clear up sooner rather than later so I can enjoy my fresh face to its fullest!
Week Three: Now the Botox has entirely settled I’m really pleased with the overall results. I don’t think anyone else would notice, and I don’t feel overly ‘done’ – just like I’ve had a little lifting and smoothing where I needed it most. Even when I’m exhausted I feel like I look much better, even though I didn’t have any Botox around the eyes, and I now totally forget that I have limited movement unless I’m consciously trying to express dismay or delight! Looking back at my ‘before’ photos makes me feel even better, knowing I no longer have to walk around with a huge line in the middle of my face that really was beginning to erode at my confidence. I would 100% go back and do it again as I start to see the results fade and I’m thrilled with the whole experience. I honestly don’t know why I waited so long before getting Botox for the first time.
I’ve been incredibly open about my choice to have Botox, but I’ve been surprised with the level of interest and (in some cases) horror of others. Although the majority of people are either uninterested or mildly curious, some have been horrified at my personal choice and others outright mean; I’m all for doing whatever makes you feel good, as long as you don’t take it too far, and this is just a continuation of me wanting to look after my complexion in whichever way I can. The stigma around Botox has definitely shifted, but there’s still a lot of judgement and misunderstanding when it comes to injectables.
If you’re considering getting Botox for the first time, my advice is this: do your research and then do what makes you happy.
I’ll be back for more, no doubt about it, and I kind of wish I’d done it sooner.
My treatment was complementary, but the usual fee is £200.00 for one area and £60.00 for additional areas; the total cost would be £260.00 and the results will last between three and six months.
For more info, visit: www.whiteswanaesthetics.co.uk