I’ve been getting Botox injections regularly for the past 4 years. To my surprise, there’s been a lot more trial and error in finding the right doctor, paying the right prices and knowing what to look for and ask for.
1. Understand what Botox can and can’t do.
Botox is a neurotoxin that relaxes the muscles underneath the skin that cause the wrinkle in the first place. Botox is only FDA approved to treat the "11s" – those lines that form between your brows. Off label it can also be used to treat horizontal forehead lines, crows feet, tiny bunny lines on the side of the nose and can give a gentle lift to the brows. While most doctors prefer to keep Botox to the upper third of the face, some also use it to lessen the bands around the neck, reduce some lip lines and in some cases give a more youthful decollete.
2. Find the best doctor "injector" you can afford.
There is a difference between knowing who CAN inject, and who SHOULD inject because the laws vary by state. I’m going start off with a blanket statement that in most states, you should only get injections by trustworthy botox certification at a medical facility.
3. It’s your job to brief your doctor on the outcome you want.
It’s your doctor’s job to figure out how to get there, and Botox may not be the only solution, so keep an open mind. That said, a lot gets lost in translation because one woman’s frozen forehead nightmare may be another’s definition of awesome. Often doctors will ask you questions like "what is bothering you about the way you look" and do a quick assessment based on your age, your style and lifestyle. If you say I’m just a busy working mom who wants to look refreshed and natural, they’ll err on the conservative side. On the flip side, if you say "I'm recently divorced, jumping into the dating pool and want to look a little sexier" that may signal you want more than you really do.
4. Schedule your Botox appointment 6 weeks prior to any big event.
It takes about 5 days for the Botox to take full effect, but should there be any issues, you want enough time for any swelling or bruising to go down, and have the doctor do any touch ups.
5. Stop taking all fish oils and ibuprofen 2 weeks prior to your appointment.
I’m stunned at how many doctors' offices don't say this when making an appointment. This will limit the potential for bruising and swelling. Some women take extra measures by taking Arnica and or eating pineapple, which contains bromelian, a natural anti-inflammatory agent.