It was November 2005 when I wrote a column about fighting wrinkles and how I was soon going to get the Botox injections. I wanted it to stop me from raising my eyebrows all the time, eliminating the line bisecting my forehead. But a month later I got a new job for Christmas and had to take the money saved up to spend on my face to move 700 kilometres across Ontario.
It was probably the combination of finding myself single again, staring down my 50th birthday in two short years, and actively job hunting in a market crowded with younger people that gave me the courage to face up to the needle. Plus, I was terribly tired of looking in the mirror and seeing one big crack across my face.
There are many more “medical spas” and plastic surgeons located in this city compared to my old one, so I called about a dozen places to investigate. It was important to me to have the treatment done by a trained doctor, and I was shocked at the number of spas that don’t have one performing the injections. A nurse practitioner wasn’t enough for me. I also had specific questions about dilution of the solution used and the number of units recommended for upper forehead lines (to say that I researched this thoroughly would be an understatement).
There were several reasons I chose the place I finally selected for my injections. First, the doctor himself would not only be doing the injections but would also do the personal consultation. Second, they wouldn’t estimate a number of units of the drug as “that’s dependent on your personal situation," the receptionist told me over the phone.
Rouquinne's forehead before treatment.
Rouquinne's forehead after treatment.
“Dr. Andy” took a complete medical history before moving on to ask what I was expecting from the treatment. He had me raise my eyebrows and furrow my brow about 10 times, watching to see how my facial muscles moved. Based on his observation, he recommended a light application of the drug that would allow the lines to soften, but not render my face completely immobile.
I won’t bore you by going into detail about how a unit of Botox is measured (it relates to the level of toxicity in mice), but you should know that 3000 units (at once) equals a lethal level in humans. You’ll be getting substantially less than that. But you should ask your provider how much saline solution they use to dilute the drug. Any more than 4 units of saline to 1 of Botox and you are unlikely to get a good, lasting result.
I’m not going to tell you that it didn’t hurt because it did, especially for the area between my eyes. For maximum effect, the muscle has to be contracted when the drug is injected. My experience was a “crunching” sensation when my brow was furrowed. I felt almost nothing when the doctor injected Botox directly into the upper forehead wrinkle itself.
Most of the time, I bruise easily from injections. But I had none. Even the pin pricks had settled down during my short walk home. I’ve had worse reactions to an eyebrow wax.
While it can take up to a week for Botox to take effect, just over 48 hours later I was no longer raising my eyebrows up to my hairline. To say that I was thrilled would be an understatement. The lines were visibly softer to me within four days of the treatment. I also achieved a slight lift at the arches of my eyebrows that made me look like I had paid a visit to brow-shaping expert Anastasia Soare.
My one disappointment was that Andy felt it wouldn’t be wise to put the Botox too far out to the edges of my face, in case I ended up with ptosis — or drooping eye lids. The wrinkling is still pronounced there, and I plan to discuss options with him at my follow-up appointment.