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Turning 30 brings with it a batch of changes: hangovers that last two days, sore muscles for seemingly no reason, earlier bedtimes. And one of the worst of all? Wrinkles.
One day you look in the mirror, or at a too-close-for-comfort-selfie, and notice lines on your forehead you swear never existed until now. Suddenly you’re Googling ‘How to Get Rid of Crow’s Feet.’
Now, to be real, there are of course far worse changes in life than wrinkles, but the first signs of aging can feel like the most urgent thing to control in the moment. Unfortunately for us, anti-aging eye creams and moisturizers can only do so much to prevent the effects of gravity. That’s where Botox comes in.
I went under the needle for the sake of research and wrinkle relief and received a Botox treatment at Alchemy 43, a national beauty bar specializing in micro-treatments. Spy.com also had the opportunity to interview the founder of Alchemy 43 Nicci Levy and will share her tips below as well as my own personal experience as a Botox first-timer. But first, let’s get to the basics of Botox.
What Is Botox? How Does it Work?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Botox is a type of botulinum toxin type A injection which is injected into the skin to reduce or temporarily eliminate fine lines and wrinkles. There are actually four types of botulinum toxin injections on the market: Botox, Dysport, Xeomin and Jeuveau. For the sake of brevity, we’re going to refer to Botox in this article as it’s the most mainstream injectable.
Botox works by blocking the nerve signals to the muscle in which it was injected, preventing the muscle from being able to contract and resulting in the removal of pesky wrinkles. Beyond getting rid of wrinkles and fine lines, Botox can also be used to smooth crow’s feet, frown lines, lip lines, soften a square jaw, lift the corners of a mouth, correct a gummy smile and diminish neck bands. It’s even said to prevent headaches and migraines before they start and was FDA-approved as the first preventative chronic migraine treatment.
A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Botox:
I’ll start by saying I hate needles, yet I somehow managed to put myself in the patient’s chair and ordered the works. I booked an appointment at Alchemy 43 to receive Botox but it wasn’t until I spoke to my assigned provider that it was determined exactly what quantity of injectable I needed and where. The practitioner handed me a mirror and asked me to point out what I wasn’t liking about my skin at the moment. The culprit? The deeply seated lines in my forehead that come from being way too active with my eyebrows.
The practitioner advised I get 20 units of Botox in my forehead, 20 units in my glabella (the skin between the eyebrows which extend up the central forehead) and 24 units for crow’s feet (the corner of the eyes). Now, this sounded like quite the cocktail, but the provider said getting more injectable just meant extending the duration of the results, which I was all for, meaning I wouldn’t need to come back anytime soon. So, in total, 64 units of Botox were going to be given to me, and at $13.50 a unit, this would typically be a $540 procedure. Alchemy 43 was kind enough to extend a comped visit to me for the sake of research, so thankfully my wallet remained intact.
Now, one common misconception that’s worth clearing up is just because I was getting 64 units, that didn’t mean I needed 64 needles poked into my forehead and face. (PHEW.) It only took 5-6 needles to inject all the planned areas and, in total, it took about 10 minutes. Honestly, the pain wasn’t bad, and it felt more uncomfortable than painful. The worst part was occasionally I heard a cracking or popping noise as the needle passed through the tissue. It’s certainly unpleasant and not something you want to hear out of your face, but the Alchemy 43 team assured me its totally normal.
Overall, the treatment was fairly quick, I just felt a little woozy after all the injectable was in my skin, so I laid back in the chair for about five minutes. Could have been the needles that made me feel a bit dizzy, or could have been the fact that I was wearing a hot sweater and was flushed with first timer’s anxiety coming into the office. The team brought me a Gatorade and a granola bar and told me to take as much time as I needed.
When I finally got up, I looked in the mirror and my face definitely looked aggravated, but that was to be expected. It’s similar to what your face looks like if you pick at a zit — red at the surface and a bit bumpy. In terms of recovery, I was advised not to drink alcohol for at least 48 hours to help with the healing process. The practitioner also told me not to sleep on my face that night and to sleep with my head elevated for the first night or two, if possible.
By the next day, my face healed at the injection areas and I was just waiting for the results to kick in. I felt a numbing sensation before actually seeing any noticeable differences in my forehead. In fact, I started searching online to be sure everything was normal, but I was assured the numb forehead feeling was just the Botox settling in and doing its thing. I wasn’t able to move my eyebrows or scrunch my forehead like I was used to doing, which took some getting used to.
The first noticeable change took place within a few days of the initial treatment. The nicest part? Alchemy 43 actually texted me to check in on how I was feeling. This is a courtesy text service they offer their clients but it was a relief to know I had their attention. They quickly put me at ease when I mentioned my concern.
Despite it being a Sunday and the office being closed, within three hours I received a text message letting me know, “A heavy feeling is to be expected with Botox, as it relaxes the muscles in order to smooth fine lines and wrinkles.” They also reminded me I had a two-week check up on the books to be sure everything looked and felt like it should.
This heavy feeling was the biggest change I needed to adjust to. I’m a BIG eyebrow mover and very expressive in my forehead, which is why I developed the lines in the first place. The Botox treatment meant I was no longer able to lift my eyebrows as much as I was used to. That’s right, no more quizzical or ironic glances for a while. But hey, if that was the cost of having no fine lines, I could certainly handle it.
While this doesn’t sound like a big deal, at the time I was worried my face would never be the same again and that I’d never get my expressive forehead back. My Mom assured me, “Botox doesn’t last forever, Jamie, or else they wouldn’t have a business.” Wise words, Mom!
Fast forward two months, and I’m still reaping the benefits of the Botox. The treatment is wearing off gradually, meaning I can raise my eyebrows expressively yet my old forehead lines aren’t forming trenches.
Overall, I’m extremely happy I got the treatment, and as I start to see my forehead settle back to the way it was, I’ll likely schedule another appointment for a touch-up in the coming months.
If you check out the “before” picture below, you’ll notice that my eyes were cast downward and yet three or four fine lines settled into my forehead. These lines typically became even more noticeable throughout the day the more emotive I was. In the “after” photo, you’ll notice my forehead is smooth as silk. Not a line to be seen.
Three to four weeks after the treatment was a high point for me. The heavy feeling wore off, and I was extremely happy with the lack of lines both on my forehead and in the corners of my eyes. I felt like I looked more alert, and my makeup even went on more smoothly.
The results are said to last up to four months, and in month two I’m still looking in the mirror feeling more like a fresh-faced 20-something than an early 30-something, which is definitely a morale booster!
It’s been a relief to experience positive results and to know that the procedure is minimally invasive and doesn’t require a recovery process beyond staying away from alcohol for a night or two.
On a scale of 1-10, with 1 marking low effort and minimal pain and 10 being annoyingly high effort and painful, this procedure landed around a 2 — a.k.a. very worthwhile and repeatable.
Botox treatments are not cheap, but men generally spend less on their appearance than women, so what better excuse to treat yourself a few times a year than this? It’s not like you’re paying for hair highlights, gel manicures and leg waxings, so you can afford to spend a couple hundred dollars on yourself every now and again.
Age may be nothing but a number, but turning back the clock on the appearance of aging can make you feel more youthful. It’s like the motto “look good, feel good.” I can vouch for it, and so can the 11 million other people that have used Botox.
Frequently Asked Questions About Botox for Men:
Q: Do Men Commonly Get Botox?
A: Men are a rapidly growing demographic of Botox users. According to Alchemy 43 Nicci Levy, “[Men] have historically represented less than 10% of total Botox users in the US. In 2018, almost 25% of Alchemy 43’s clients were male,” Levy says.
Q: What’s the Most Common Area Clients, Particularly Men, Choose to Get Injected with Botox?
A: According to Levy based on their Alchemy 43 client roster, “The most common areas for male Botox users are forehead, 11’s (between the eyebrows), and Crow’s Feet. We advocate for a gently softened look of the fine lines and wrinkles as well as preventative Botox for our male clients.”
Q: What’s a Good Age to Consider Getting Botox for the First Time?
A: “Botox can help to improve as well as prevent fine lines and wrinkles,” Levy says. “While everyone is different and there is no specific age to start, we have clients beginning preventative Botox at 25 as well as some who begin at 45! It’s all about your individual goals and aesthetic preferences and we encourage people to start at whatever age they feel ready!”
Q: Does Getting Botox Hurt?
A: “Botox cosmetic injections are delivered with a tiny needle and new users are always surprised at how quick and easy they are. Our medical providers are trained in the art of a gentle hand and if a client is nervous, we offer to numb the treatment area with a topical anesthetic cream or cold pack beforehand. Most people don’t find that they need it, but we like to have everything on hand to ensure the client feels great!” says Levy.
Q: How Much Does Botox Cost on Average?
A: The cost of Botox depends on the provider but, according to Levy, “$250-$500 per treatment area” is an expected range.
Q: What Should You Ask in an Initial Consultation?
Some examples of great questions to ask in an initial consultation for Botox are:
1. How often do you perform Botox cosmetic injections?
2. What percentage is Botox of your total scope of practice?
3. What is your favorite area to inject?
4. How long have you been doing cosmetic injections?
5. Roughly how many Botox injections would you say you have done?
6. If you were me, what service would you proceed with today?
7. What is the process for follow up post-injection?
8. What do I need to keep in mind when considering when to get Botox?
Q: Can you Expect Side Effects Post-Botox?
A: “It’s super important to know all the potential risks and side effects when deciding whether a Botox treatment is for you,” Levy says. “While side effects are rare, they can happen.” To understand the full potential risk of side effects visit www.botoxcosmetic.com.
Q: Will You See Results Immediately?
A: “Results are not visible right away. Botox generally takes anywhere from 5-10 days to take full effect, and up to two weeks for results to peak,” says Levy.
Q: How Long Will Botox for Men Last?
A: “Botox Cosmetic is FDA approved to last up to four months. Everyone’s anatomy is different and we suggest getting Botox treatments every 3-4 months to maintain a refreshed look year around,” suggests Levy.