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SKIN DEEP: A personal experience with Botox

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Botox is no longer a word whispered amongst close friends of a certain age.

Botox injections are administered across the world in the millions each year at medical spas, dermatologist offices and clinics by trained doctors and nurses – it’s an extremely effective way to treat or prevent lines and wrinkles on the face, along with a host of other medical purposes. Botox is now mainstream.

Botox is the brand name of a highly diluted form of botulinum toxin, made specifically for injections. After an injection, Botox blocks a neurotransmitter in the area called acetylcholine, which acts as a messenger for muscles to tell them to move. It takes about a week to take full effect, but once it kicks in, that muscle will stop moving. Once the movement has stopped, areas like the forehead, between the eyebrows and crow’s feet, stop moving. The lines in those areas soften and can completely flatten to offer a smoother look. It also helps prevent new wrinkles and lines from forming in the area.

I have a very expressive face and a genetically inherited, deep line that runs across the middle of my forehead (thanks, Dad). I had Botox in my early 30s, but didn’t keep up with it. Now, in my 40s, I began to dread wearing my bangs off my face and seeing a giant line across my forehead staring back at me in the mirror. The lines between my brows were beginning to make me look a little cranky as well. I knew it was time to see the doctor.

I am lucky enough to work at a medical spa in Halifax with one of the best cosmetic physicians in our country. Dr. Renier van Aardt has been performing Botox and other injections for the better part of two decades and is also the president of the Canadian Association of Aesthetic Medicine. He is experienced, knowledgeable and a talented injector concerned with maintaining a natural look.

Dr. van Aardt treated my despised forehead line, the crow’s feet around my eyes and the cranky look between my eyebrows. The injections are done with a tiny needle that is virtually painless. I have not regretted these injections for a single second. My lines are gone and I now happily wear my bangs off my face whenever I feel like it and, honestly, not a single person has noticed that I’ve had any injections done, outside of a few co-workers with well-trained eyes.

Like most patients I felt no side effects and the areas that were treated were barely red for an hour after the injections. Botox isn’t forever, though - it lasts between three and five months, but if you maintain a regular schedule of injections, the effects last longer and longer each time.

The cost of Botox is priced by unit, anywhere between $12 and $17, depending on who you see. But keep in mind cheaper doesn’t always mean better - research who you see and ensure they are experienced with proper training. A consultation will help you find out what you need and how much it would cost.

If you are looking for a deep change in your skin attributed to movement-based wrinkles and lines, this is the most effective option. During this treatment, I also had injections of dermal filler to my cheek area to help combat age-related skin deflation, which was giving my eyes a very tired look. Check out my next column in two weeks for another personal experience. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at denisesurette@hotmail.com.

Denise Surette is a freelance journalist and master clinical esthetician at Vitality Medi Spa in Halifax. You can find her on Instagram @skindeepsurette.

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