Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a pretty animated face. I make a lot of facial expressions. My animated face is a part of my personality, and I really like that. But wearing my feelings on my face for the last 39 years has earned me a few small horizontal lines on my forehead. So, this month I tried Botox for the first time.
Botox is one of those things people have many misconceptions and questions about: How do you know if you are a good candidate for Botox? Can black women actually benefit from Botox? Is Botox safe? Can you get Botox if you have eczema? These are just a few questions I hear when the topic of Botox comes up. So, let’s talk about it.
If you’ve been considering Botox, keep reading. I’ve partnered with Tonic to share my first experience, including how it felt, the cost, and whether I think it’s worth it.
So, what is Botox?
Botox is an injectable neurotoxin used to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and it’s one of the top 5 cosmetic procedures performed in 2020. Botox is actually a brand name for botulinum toxin injections, similar to Dysport and Xeomin.
Botulinum toxin injections works by blocking nerve impulses to the muscles, causing them to relax, effectively freezing the area. As a result, your expressions soften, and your wrinkles are reduced.
“Botox is only effective on lines and wrinkles coming from muscle contraction or the muscles used in making facial expressions.”
Dr. Hadley King
Botox can also treat medical conditions like migraines, abnormally excessive sweating, teeth grinding, and jaw clenching.
The treatment is perfectly safe, as long as it’s administered by a licensed professional, preferably a dermatologist.
The areas most commonly treated with Botox are: The forehead, the area between the eyebrows (known as the glabellar), the area around the eyes (known as crow’s feet), and the chin. For more information, Tonic has a list of FAQs here.
Why I Got Botox
I became intrigued with Botox last year after staring at my face on Zoom every day. I noticed lines when I made certain facial expressions that I wanted to blur. And Botox is known for reversing mild lines, and preventing them from developing.
Although I don’t really have many wrinkles on my forehead, I have lines between my eyebrows. I’m sure they come from the communicatory facial expressions I spoke about earlier. But, I wanted to subtly get rid of those frown lines.
Don’t get me wrong, my goal is to age gracefully. I speak about that pretty often. I’m relatively young, I’m confident, and I’m happy with my skin. But, I was intrigued to see if Botox would give me the subtle change I desired.
Botox In The Black Community
There is a stigma about injectables, especially for black women, for many reasons: (1) It’s not regularly discussed within our community; (2) Due to the lack of representation, there’s a lack of familiarity with the results.
However, this stigma is slowly changing. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 1.78 million Black Americans got cosmetic procedures last year, and the numbers have risen annually, from 1.68 million in 2018.
My Botox Experience with Tonic
Tonic is a new NYC cosmetic dermatology studio in Midtown that offers cosmetic treatments like Botox and fillers, supplements, and skincare. Tonic wants to empower people to feel their best selves, inside and out, which resonated with me. Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Hadley King, administers 100% of the injections. She also has impressive professional accreditations, so I was confident that I’d be in safe and capable hands.
Before I went in for my Botox treatment, I first completed the Tonic Treatment Planner to determine what skin assistance I wanted. The Treatment Planner is a 23-question online skin assessment built in partnership with Tonic’s board-certified dermatologist. Questions range from asking about my skin type to my current skincare products, and my aging goals. After completing the questionnaire, I was given a personalized and comprehensive recommendation on cosmetic services, skincare products, and supplements to reach my goals. It only took me 5 minutes to complete! This tool helped me decide that Botox was right for me and helped me find other skincare products for my skin type.
After the questionnaire, I wanted to see what Botox would actually look like on me. So, I completed their Treatment Simulator, where you take photos of yourself from various angles making different facial expressions. Tonic then uses those photos to simulate the effect of the treatment you select. This was great because it helped me see the potential impact of a Botox treatment, and it confirmed that Botox was right for me.
Here are a few pictures from my virtual Botox simulation:
The Botox Treatment
The office was nice, bright and clean and the treatment was quick and relatively painless. The injections took less than 30 minutes.
Dr. Hadley King and I first had a consultation, and then she had me make a series of expressions before she injected me. She confirmed that I could get Botox even if I had eczema, which was so great to hear!
I was nervous, especially when I found out that she wasn’t numbing the area. But, to my surprise, the injections didn’t really hurt. Each prick felt similar to the pinching sensation of an acupuncture needle.
After the injections, it looked like I had a series of mosquito bites on my forehead. But, I applied an ice pack, and the redness and inflammation dissipated before I left the office. I was happy that I could walk around the city and look normal right after the procedure.
I also received a few tailored skincare products and supplements based on my Tonic Treatment Planner questionnaire responses. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on those products at a later time.
Although you can leave your Botox treatment and resume your normal activities, Tonic recommends following a few post-care instructions:
- Wait 24 Hours to Exercise – While there is no real risk to exercising immediately after your treatment, you can increase your risk of bruising. Therefore, if you want to avoid an elevated chance of bruising and swelling, it’s best to wait 24 hours after your injections before participating in any strenuous exercise.
- Don’t Drink Alcohol – Alcohol acts as a blood thinner and can cause inflammation, increasing the likelihood of bruising and making swelling worse. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours after your treatment.
- Avoid Putting Pressure on Your Face – Try to keep pressure off of your face for at least one day after your treatment. This means no pulling, tugging, rubbing, or intense massaging of your skin.
- Stay Out of the Sun – Avoid sun exposure for at least four hours. Excessive heat can promote flushing and increase your blood pressure, which can, in turn, encourage bruising. To be extra safe, stay out of the sun for 24 to 48 hours. It’s also a good idea to avoid heated exercise classes immediately after your appointment, as well.
A follow-up appointment is included in the service. So, I met with Dr. Hadley King two weeks after my first treatment to ensure we were satisfied with my results.
When Should You Expect To See Results?
Naturally, after my first Botox appointment, I was nervous about the outcome. Botox is not a procedure where you see results immediately; it takes 10-14 days for everything to settle. Despite knowing Dr. Hadley King’s medical and professional credentials, I was fearful that I’d look like a weird, altered version of myself versus a more youthful, refreshed one.
However, after about 3-5 days, I started to see the effects of my Botox treatment. By day 10, I found myself loving the results. I essentially looked like a refreshed and more relaxed version of myself.
I also love that Dr. Hadley King was conservative in her work. She wasn’t overly eager to fix issues that didn’t exist. She injected just enough, so I could make my ever-knowingly animated facial expressions, sans frown lines and a wrinkled forehead.
How Much Does Botox Cost?
The cost of Botox is a loaded topic, and the simple answer is that it depends. Like many cosmetic treatments, the cost of Botox varies based on the extent of work patients would like done.
Botox is generally priced by “unit.” And you don’t know how many units you’ll need to achieve the results you’d like until you go in for the treatment.
For reference, I received Botox in 3 areas, totaling 40 units. And based on my dermatologist’s feedback, this distribution is pretty standard.
In New York, Botox can average about $20-$30 per unit. So, if you need 40 units, it would range between $800-1,200 per treatment.
Tonic’s pay structure is a little different. They charge by area:
- 1 Area = $450
- 2 Areas = $800
- 3 Areas = $1050
Would I Get Botox Again?
I would absolutely get Botox again! Because I look more well-rested, I also look younger and calmer. I can move my eyebrows up and down, but my frown lines are half the size they were before. And if you’re not a trained professional, you wouldn’t know I got anything done.
Botox lasts 3-6 months, and the lines and wrinkles will start to reappear and need to be treated again. So, I definitely will be revisiting this in 2022.
Though the outcome of my Botox treatment appears rather natural, I’m still amazed and excited by it all.
If there is something I want to enhance about myself, I should be able to do that because life is too short. It makes me feel good, and that’s what matters. So, if you see your fine lines sticking around when you’re not making an expression, and you want to get rid of them, check out Botox.
Are you thinking about getting Botox?
What other questions do you want to know about Botox treatments?