As a sequel to our Guide to Getting Good Botox, we've asked a veteran Botoxer to answer questions on the clearly controversial topic of getting Botox in your twenties. How young is too young? How often should you get it? What does it cost? And so on...
How do I know if I need Botox?
Nobody needs Botox and nobody should feel pressured to get it. If you are the kind of person who frowns a lot or wrinkles your nose or consistently makes facial expressions that cause wrinkles, Botox can help eliminate those lines (or stop them before they form).
When did you start getting Botox?
When I turned 25.
Why would anyone get Botox so young?
As a preventive measure. I scrunch up my forehead/brow a lot and started developing lines there when I was young. Getting Botox made it physically impossible to scrunch my forehead, which stopped the wrinkles from forming. It also trained me out of the scrunching habit—so even when the Botox wears off, I’m still less likely to frown. I think of it as insurance against future wrinkles.
How often do you get it?
Three times yearly.
How much does it cost?
Depends. You need to do research and call around, because you can pay anywhere from $300 to $700 for the exact same thing at different places. And you can bargain with a lot of places. Most places charge by the “unit," so you might pay $15 per unit and get 30 units of Botox, which would cost $450. Some places sell units for $10 each. At other places, it goes much higher.
How many units do you use?
What it says above–30 units, $15 per unit. I used to get 25 units, but now I’m old.
How long does the process take?
15 minutes total, but only around five for the injections. First they wipe alcohol on your forehead (or wherever you’re getting injections). Then they usually ask you to make a few facial expressions. Sometimes they make markings on your face with a pen. (Which they wash off after the injections.)
Does it hurt?
Again, depends on the person administering it, but it’s pretty easy. A single injection feels like somebody is pinching your skin with a pair of tweezers for 1 second. Multiply that by the number of injections you’re getting and you have a good idea. (I get 6-12 injections at a time, depending on the person doing it). The area may be sensitive for a day or two after you get injected.
Does it kick in immediately?
No. It usually takes 2-4 days for the Botox to “take”. The first time you get it, you’ll probably be worried that it’s not working. But just wait another day or two and it will kick in. Sometimes it can take a full week to kick in.
How long does it last?
Three months or longer. It wears off gradually.
What should I bring with me to an appointment?
Sunglasses or a loose beanie, depending on where you’re getting injected. If you get forehead Botox, your forehead will look like its been stung by wasps. That lasts 1-3 hours. You don’t want to cover your forehead with anything tight or constricting, but a soft beanie is fine and will save you from getting stares on the way home.
Will I get bruises?
If you do, the bruising will be light and barely noticeable. I usually have a couple of ultra-faint bruises that can be covered with a thin foundation. They disappear after a day or two. If you’re worried, it's best to get Botox on a Friday so you don’t have to deal with going to work the next day. A lot of clinics will tell you that you can get Botox on your lunch break and head back to work immediately, but I would never do that. I always schedule it at the end of the day.
How do I find a good one?
Like any body-related procedure, referrals are best. However, I originally got referred to someone who was far too expensive, so I had to call around until I found one that was cheaper but not sketchy. Never go to a sketchy Botox place. (There are tons of them.) "Sketchiness" is a kind of instinctive feeling and hard to explain, but at the very least a clinic should be spotlessly clean, friendly/polite, and punctual with your appointment. If it feels like a factory with tons of people going in and out, find somewhere else. And do your diligence on Yelp or by Googling around.
Do I need a consultation first?
You don't necessarily need to make a separate appointment for consultation. I didn't—my clinic didn't even suggest it— but then again, I knew for sure that I wanted to get Botox. If you're not sure, schedule a consultation. If the clinic won't accept consultation appointments, find a different clinic.
Will people notice that I look different after I get Botox? Do I have to tell my friends?
No and no. You won't look conspicuously different; you’ll just look slightly better. The only exception is if you go way overboard. Too much Botox is obvious if instead of looking relaxed, the skin looks stretched painfully tight.