A first time account of getting a Botox injection. Guilt versus confidence is a real thing.
I was about 23 when I first noticed fine lines had formed on my forehead. I spotted squiggly lines on my forehead as I looked into the rearview mirror of my car, thinking it was just a smear in my foundation. Except it wouldn’t rub off.
These subtle creases didn’t bother me at first. I possessed a healthy “aging is a natural part of life” attitude — but year after year, I found myself looking at them daily in the rearview mirror like they were an unsightly growth everyone was staring at. I noticed how deep my sister’s wrinkles were (she’s four years my senior), and I wondered if that would be me. But what was the solution?
Southern California is known as the land where lip injections, fillers and plastic surgery thrive. I didn’t want to become one of the swirling statistics calling out Los Angeles as one of the vainest places to live, but if my confidence was being tampered with, why not do something about it?
It wasn’t until I turned 27 when my fine lines took up major real estate in my mind. My “growth” made me so self-conscious I started asking people if they were looking at my forehead (the answer was always a perplexed “no”). I considered bangs. When I realized how annoying fringes would be for me, I began asking around and eventually found out that several of my friends had tried Botox.
Oddly enough, this didn’t feel more comforting, but rather disappointing. When did Botox become something you gave into in your 20s? Why did it matter? Maybe the reason I was so focused on my face was because everyone else was faking it. They, too, had had fine lines filling up their forehead, and yet I felt alone because I was “real.” Right?
My other issue with Botox was letting down my family. How did I tell my mother, who raised me to love your age and referred to turning 50 as “simply fabulous,” that I was considering Botox? Or worse, had gone through with it? She didn’t have it, and she looked beautiful.
And how would I tell my boyfriend that I was becoming one of those “SoCal” girls he rolled his eyes at? The questions alone deterred me for years. Until now.
So here I am, 29 years old — after years of not caring followed by years of totally caring while living in fear — having just bit the bullet of getting Botox for the first time ever.
Botox in Your Twenties Is on the Rise
Before I went through with my Botox treatment, I did some research.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2017 review, the majority of Botox users are between 40 and 54, making up the majority of the more than seven million total injections. Of that estimate, about 20 percent are 55 and older, another 20 percent are in their 30s and less than 5 percent are in their 20s. That still means 20-somethings account for more than 100,000 people getting Botox. And if you take a look at every year prior, you realize the stats have climbed.
But if Baby Boomers are after reversing the signs of aging, what’s in it for non-wrinkled, or minimally wrinkled Millennials and Gen Xers? I asked my friends, I asked myself, I read the blogs, and the answer is simple: many of us want to take advantage of Botox to prevent signs of aging. In other words, we want to stop it in its tracks.
What Exactly Is Botox?
To put it frankly, Botox is a poisonous drug you inject into your face. It’s a neurotoxin made from a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum (also known as botulinum toxin). It comes as a powder, which a certified Botox practitioner dilutes with saline to rid the solution of its noxious capabilities. The saline also transforms the powder into liquid form, making it “injectable.”
And How Does It Work?
This is perhaps the biggest question I had before getting shot up. When you get injected, the chemical blocks nerve transmission in nearby muscles, which freezes the area and keeps you from raising your forehead to a wrinkle-inducing height or from furrowing your brow (hello 11 lines!)
My Experience in the Botox Chair
Getting Botox for the first time is weird. It feels kind of like you’re betraying nature, but when you can’t stop looking at your forehead in the rearview, a little betrayal feels a lot more like a lot of relief.
Finding the right medspa was important to me. I’m a spa girl through and through, so the last thing I wanted was my experience to feel medical (did you know you can get it through your gynecologist?!), yet signs for “cheap Botox injections” on a main street felt just as bizarre. I ultimately chose Illuminate Face & Body Bar where I was handed kombucha on tap upon arrival, which I thought was the best thing ever.
Going into a dentist-like chair in a small and sterile room did give it a more medical feel, but Naomi, my designated needle inserter, was a bright and bubbly woman with a major love for Botox.
Naomi made me raise my forehead and furrow my brow to make note of where I needed my injections, while I kept steering her back to the existing, very apparent lines on my forehead. I felt bummed when she informed me you might not always be able to get rid of what’s already there, but recurring Botox will help keep new lines from forming and older ones from deepening. She did say, over time, those pesky lines could smooth out like I was hoping, but there were no guarantees.
The actual injecting process was pretty painless. I got my eyebrows microbladed, so when Naomi told me she’d be injecting a small needle into my forehead over and over in different spots, I wasn’t too worried. The pain she said I might feel was really just discomfort — tiny pinches I didn’t jolt out of my seat over.
I ultimately received 20 units, divided up between my forehead and my brow, and left the spa with tiny red dots on my face. From consultation to procedure and walking out the door, things were swift, professional and super comfortable. And it lasted a mere 20 minutes.
What Happened After Botox: Pleasant Surprises & Secrets
Waiting for the Botox to work was like watching paint dry. I focused on my forehead even more in the rearview mirror than ever before. The first thing I noticed? After three days, I had noticeably silkier skin. My forehead was straight-up glowing. Upon doing some research, I learned that Botox not only affects the facial-expression muscles, but also the hair shaft, the hair follicle and the oil glands. The result is that shiny look I fell in love with immediately.
As for the wrinkles, it was kind of hard to tell when they smoothed out, but they were mostly invisible a month later. I have high hopes they’ll be gone with the wind after another treatment, which is typically needed every four months at a hefty cost of about $385.
Going into it, I had told a few girlfriends who’d been getting Botox on their forehead religiously for several years. They gave me the expected “you don’t really need it, but you’ll love it” response, which came from a friend in her 20s, another in her 30s and the third in her 40s. It’s good to know your friends think your forehead is hot and all, but it didn’t make me change my mind.
I didn’t tell my family or boyfriend prior to the procedure because I didn’t want to be talked out of it.
Right after the procedure, I couldn’t stop talking about how frozen my face felt. I wondered if that feeling would ever go away. My Botox crew laughed me off. “Of course it will go away!” they reassured. But that’s where my Botox discussion began and ended.
As I write this, it’s been two months since I received the Botox procedure. At first, I repeatedly considered telling my boyfriend, but he did nothing but compliment how smooth and radiant my skin looked within that first month. I didn’t feel like having the conversation nor having him angry for messing with my oh-so natural visage.
When I went to visit my family, I kept thinking I would burst with the truth, but I couldn’t seem to deal with the consequences.
Seeing how freely my Botoxed friends talk about it makes me think I will likely become more unapologetic as time goes on.
And while I do feel weird not sharing the news with the people I love most, I’m also just relishing in this moment of confidence. My forehead looks damn fine.
I love the way my skin looks bare faced or the fact that a little foundation that has no cracks to settle in now! I no longer wonder if anyone is staring at my wrinkles (duh, they’re gone) and I don’t give it much thought when my boyfriend tells me my skin looks youthful.
I’ve also realized you don’t owe anyone an explanation about your skincare choices, and that if something makes you feel good, then do it. Botox did that for me. After years of feeling really insecure about my forehead, Botox gave me the pep in my step I needed. And there’s no feeling bad about that.