Being a new mom is exhausting.
I know this is not breaking news to anyone. And truly wasn’t that much of a surprise to me either, as I was thoroughly warned beforehand. But what I wasn’t warned about was how that exhaustion would manifest physically.
It’s hard not to feel like a mess all the time – the lack of sleep makes your dark circles ten times darker, you’re lucky if you get to wash your hair once a week, all of your clothing is stained with baby vomit, and don’t even get me started with the struggle of trying to accept your new body.
Three months after having my son, I felt I had aged 15 years. I didn’t have time for the extensive amounts of “self-care” required to pull myself together, but I also wanted a little boost to make me feel human again – something that would allow me to feel a little bit like my former self. The wrinkles had gotten much deeper on my forehead recently, and I thought I would try something I’d been considering for a few years: Botox.
Before you jump on me for hating myself… stop.
I know I’m incredible just the way I am – I pushed a goddamn human out of my vagina. But I’m also allowed to pull a tool from my toolbox to give myself a little boost if I want to. This doesn’t mean I never want to age or want to turn back time. It just means I’ve made a personal decision to tweak something that is bothering me. It’s all OK.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll explain the process.
I went to the medical spa, Spa Derma, somewhat unsure of what to expect. I filled out a form and was called into the office for a consultation with my injector, Michelle Shetty, RN, BSN, and a nurse practitioner to talk through everything. This was super important because I was able to explain exactly what I was looking for. I just wanted to look refreshed, and I didn’t want my face to be frozen.
I showed my injector, Michelle Shetty; RN, BSN, my pain points. My crows’ feet and lines on my forehead had gotten deeper than I wanted them to be, and I thought they were aging me and making me look a little tired. Michelle explained the process and what I should expect and then got to work.
I scrunched my face up so she could see exactly where my face was contracting, and she marked my face with a white pencil to map out where she needed to inject. A few minutes later, she prepared the needle and the injections took about seven minutes. A few of them pinched a tiny bit, but it was not bad at all.
It took about five days for my results to really kick in, and maybe about a week until I felt like I had the full effect. As a very tired mom, I loved the results. They were incredibly natural, and I didn’t feel at all frozen, just a little bit refreshed.
I don’t think anyone should feel pressured to do Botox or fillers or even wear make-up for that matter, but I also think that we should be able to do things for ourselves that make us feel good if we feel that is the right decision. I’m sharing my experience in hopes to educate those who might be interested themselves, but if you’re not that’s OK too.
After my appointment, I sat down with my injector, Michelle Shetty, RN, BSN, to answer questions our readers had about Botox and fillers. Read about what she had to say below.
Editor’s note: Always check with your doctor before deciding on any treatments, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What do you think the biggest misconceptions about Botox and fillers are?
I think that Botox and fillers have a bad reputation or a misconception that you’re trying to change something about yourself because you hate yourself. We all want to age gracefully. These are not surgical results; this is an attempt to feel and look your best. Everyone has different tools in their toolbox, whether that is under-eye cream, concealer, or under-eye fillers. It’s your choice to do whatever makes you feel good. I don’t think we should make anyone feel bad about the decisions they make to feel better about themselves.
What is Botox? What are fillers? What is the difference between the two?
Botox is a muscle relaxant and is known as a neurotoxin. There are a few different brands of neurotoxins, Botox being the most well known. Put simply, a neurotoxin weakens a muscle contraction. The way we get a lot of the lines on our face is from expressions or repeated muscle contractions. So, by weakening those muscles, you prevent those lines from forming or getting deeper.
Fillers, or dermal fillers, are typically hyaluronic acid in a gel form. The well-known brands are Juvaderm and Restalyne. Fillers are used to fill spaces which can either mean replacing volume lost with aging or making things bigger, like cheeks or lips. Traditionally, we use Botox in the upper one-third of the face, and fillers in the lower two-thirds, but there is use for both in different areas depending on the person.
What age should you start getting Botox if you’re interested?
Everyone is different depending on sun exposure, genetics, and lifestyle. I usually recommend people start Botox when they start noticing fine lines on their face while at rest. For most people, that’s late 20s, but for others that can be well into their 30s.
How do I find an injector that I can trust? What should I look for?
Do your research, read Yelp reviews, talk to friends and family, and make sure you’re going to a licensed medical spa, dermatologist, or plastic surgeon. Who is legally allowed to perform injections varies by state, but at very minimum, I would make sure you are going to a registered nurse.
Can I get botox or fillers done without anyone knowing? Is there a way for it to look natural?
Absolutely. You should have a very honest conversation with the person treating you about what your goals are and what you want from the treatment. Often with filler treatments, there is some swelling and potential for bruising, so if you don’t want anyone to know, you’ll need to time your treatment properly so you can have some social downtime. With Botox, you have a much smaller risk of bruising, and most people could do it on their lunch break and no one would know.
My goal as an injector is to make sure you look natural and not have anyone know you got anything done, but every injector varies, so make sure you let your injector know exactly what you’re looking for.
How much does it cost? How long does it last?
Botox ranges, on average, I’d say around $12-$16 per unit depending on location. Botox typically lasts about three to four months. On average, it takes around 20-30 units to treat your forehead and frown line area, but again, this can vary from person to person. Fillers are more expensive, and prices depend on what results you are looking to achieve.
Is it true that once you start Botox you’ll need to continue?
Absolutely not. Your muscles will gain strength again and start to contract again which can cause the lines to come back, but it’s up to you whether you want to stop or not.
Can you get Botox/fillers if you’re trying to get pregnant or are already pregnant?
You can continue while you’re trying to get pregnant, but you should stop as soon as you are pregnant. There are no studies proving that it is unsafe, but just in case out of an abundance of caution, you should not be treated while pregnant.
Will I still be able to raise my eyebrows if I get forehead Botox?
It’s absolutely possible, but if that is your goal, that is something you should discuss with your provider beforehand.
If I get my lips done once, will I have to keep doing them forever?
Most fillers are not permanent and require maintenance, however, over time, you can be treated less often and need less to achieve your desired result. Your body will break down hyaluronic acid fillers over time naturally.
What is safe/not safe while breastfeeding?
Each practice is different, but most people don’t recommend you resume fillers until you’re done breastfeeding because there are no studies to prove or disprove the safety.
How do I make sure that the Botox doesn’t freeze my face?
Everyone requires a different dose to achieve different results, but overall, the fewer units you get, the less likely you have of being “frozen.” The feeling of having your muscles weakened can feel uncomfortable, especially in the first two to four weeks, but after that, it should lessen a bit. If you do feel uncomfortable with the way you look, let your provider know at your next appointment and ask them to dose you down.
How quickly should I expect results from Botox or a filler?
Filler results are immediate but may come with some swelling or bruising that should resolve in five days to two weeks. Botox starts working typically around five to seven days after your injections with full effect by two weeks. If you’re concerned you don’t have results immediately, it’s best to wait two weeks before adding more. In the same vein, if you want to be treated before a big event, it’s best to do it two weeks before so you can see full results.
Which is easier to maintain?
They treat different things, so you don’t necessarily choose between one or the other.
Does Botox get rid of lines that are already there?
It can help, and over time, they will improve along with consistent upkeep and taking care of your skin. But if you have a deep line, there is no guarantee that it will go away.
Can Botox help with any medical issues?
Botox can help with migraines, excessive sweating to the armpits, and there is some exciting research being done about helping depression. If you’re looking to get Botox for migraines, you should see a neurologist because there are specific techniques and often it can be covered by insurance.
Do Botox or fillers hurt?
I think Botox is comparable to an eyebrow wax and maybe even less painful. Lip filler can hurt, but most offices use a numbing cream to help with the pain.
I’m scared of needles, is there anything I can do?
Let the person know who is treating you that you’re nervous, make sure to eat something beforehand, and bring a friend for moral support.