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Still trying to figure this Botox stuff out...

Today is the eve of my 34th birthday. I love my...

Today is the eve of my 34th birthday. I love my birthday. I have always loved my birthday, but what I didn’t love were these crows feet that I could no longer ignore. I had a suspicious looking mole that my regular doctor recommended I have checked by a dermatologist, so I thought I’d address both issues in one appointment.

I have to admit after reading some of the horror stories in the reviews I was pretty nervous about the idea of Botox, and was highly considering other options. I found Dr. Reichel here on RealSelf and decided to visit with her, thinking that worse case scenario I would have her treat the mole & I’d bail on the Botox idea.

When Dr. Reichel came in the room we first addressed the mole. I felt comfortable with her, and she definitely seemed to know her stuff, so we moved the conversation to the cosmetic side of dermatology. We discussed several options for treating the crows feet and other fine lines. She presented the pros and cons of each treatment, and we decided a combination of Botox and Retin-A were the best treatment approach for me.

I was asked if I wanted some topical anesthetic before the injections, to which I replied with an enthusiastic “Yes!”. I don’t see why anyone would not get the topical...but to each there own.

I had 3 injections on each side. For two of them I could keep my eyes closed, for one I had to look up and I have to admit seeing the needle coming towards my eye was a bit freaky. The injections didn’t hurt much, a bit of a stinging, pinch feel was all.

I was told it takes about a week to take full affect, so I will wait to comment on the change I see, but I’m excited!

Updated 11/18/11

Below you will see my video update. Unfortunately you can't really see the eye bags that are there, but others who see me in real life agree they are there. I have read on here that injections under the eyes, as I had done, can cause this because the muscle under the eye is like a sling, and if relaxed too much it can't hold up the fat pad when the face is animatede, and thus the bag bulges out.

I discussed this with Dr. Reichel and she said she didn't know that she agreed with that theory. She thought it was probably that the bags/wrinkles under my eyes just seemed more prominent without the crows feet there to kind of balance them out. Due to years spent in the dental field I have a pretty keen eye for minor details and can easily look at one specific area for change, so I don't think that is the case. Obviously, I am not a doctor, and am just going off what I read as far as the information about the under eye muscle, and she is a doctor with lots of experience. If/when I get my next round of Botox I will not be getting injections under the eyes.

Like I said in my video, I LOVE what it did to reduce (actually eliminate would be a better word) my crows feet. I wish I had done my update before it had started to wear off so you guys could have seen how there were NO wrinkles there. I am a bit surprised with how quickly it is wearing off. I was told 3-6months, and it has only been about 2 1/2 months and it is wearing off. However, I did read in Scottsdale1247's review that people who work out a lot metabolize it faster. I work out 4-5 days a week, so perhaps that contributed to it wearing off faster.

In a way, I'm really happy this first round has worn off quickly since I hated the under eye bags so much. I'll update again as it continues to wear off. :)

Updated 1/9/12

Yeah, the under eye bags were definitely a result of the botox. They have continued to go away as the botox has worn off. I'm not embarrassed to give my normal big smile anymore. Love that it's wearing off!!! I'll probably try something for the sides again. I might consult with a facial plastic surgeon though & see what their thoughts are. I definitely will NOT be getting any injections of Botox under the eyes again, that is for sure!

Updated 4/10/12

Well, I have talked with a facial plastic surgeon about doing botox through their office. I met with the injector, and feel comfortable that she would do a good job. I'm also considering having a derm do it again...not sure what to do. I keep going back to the fact that if I get all the areas treated that I want to (crows feet, forehead, between my eyebrows) it will be about $450...and it only lasts about 3-4 months, which I'm now finding out is pretty standard and not all that unique to me. This is an expensive "maintenance" procedure to say the least. What to do, what to do....

Round two!

Updated 4/24/12

Four days ago I went in for my second round of Botox. This time I had my crows feet, between my eyes, and forehead done. I'm still in the timeframe it takes to fully kick in, so I can't completely comment on how well it has worked quite yet, but I can already see a very good improvement.

This time I opted to go to a facial plastic surgeon. I was amazed at the amount of time he spent studying my face, then he felt where the different muscles were and marked me up with a little white pen. This seemed much more thorough than my previous experience.

I had consulted with 3 offices and had been told by 2 that I would need between 40-50 units. This doctor estimated 29 units. That is what I received. Like I said, its still early, but its looking like I may need a little more in my forehead.

I've always had a very expressive, animated face...which sometimes gets me in trouble when people can "see" exactly what I'm thinking...so having my expressions toned down just a bit is probably not such a bad thing. ;)

I haven't experienced any headaches or flu like symptoms that some report. I did get 2 bruises at the injection sites on the right eye. Nothing too bad. I could pretty much cover it with makeup & the little bit that showed through wasn't very noticeable I don't think. So far I'm really loving this Botox experience. I'm looking forward to seeing how it continues to go as it takes full effect, if it hasn't already.

Updated 6/8/12

So it has been about 1.5 months since I had my Botox done, and I am already starting to see it wear off around my eyes & forehead. Between the eyebrows still is holding. The other thing I am noticing is a bit of a foggy brain. I noticed this with my first go around, but chalked it up to some higher than usual amounts of stress I had going on. After my first round of Botox wore off, I felt like my thinking was back to where it normally is. Now with this second round I feel like my thinking is slowed a bit again, its like words escape me much more frequently and I just can't quite put sentences together as quickly as I normally would. I can't say for sure if it is related, but I think it is interesting I noticed it both times.

Round three!

Updated 7/31/12

Last week I went in for my third round of Botox. I went with an injector that works at the office of an area board certified plastic surgeon. Overall things went great. I had my forehead, between my brows, my crows feet, and a little on my lip (more on that in a minute).

I like the way the area between the brows looks. I think I will have to go back for a little more on my upper right forehead, as there is more movement there than on the left. Just as a side note for those wondering, I can still move both eyebrows, I just can't scrunch up my forehead.

The crows feet are the same experience I have had with the other two injectors. The sides look great, but the bunching under my eyes doesn't look good. When I go in next week for the little touch up for my forehead I will ask the injector if she sees anything we could do differently to avoid the bunching. I highly doubt there is, since this has been my experience each time, but its worth asking. If not, I think I'm done with Botox around the eyes. The trade off just isn't worth it to me. The bunching under my eyes makes me self conscious about smiling, and I smile a lot, so we can't have that!

So...the lip. Yeah, it has been interesting. I have some pucker marks starting to form around my lips, which I really dislike. The first injector to ever do Botox on me told me that about 1/2 of her patients don't like it around their mouths because it makes their mouth feel clumsy. Boy was she right!! I'm glad I tried it, because I always would have wondered what it was like if I hadn't. Basically it feels like a dental block is just starting to wear off. It actually has almost a numb feeling even though its not numb, and there is a definite lack of coordination. It feels weird to put on lipstick, even stranger to eat. I was at dinner with a friend last night and we ordered cheesecake to share. It was served with a spoon for some odd reason and it was taking way too much effort for me to get the cheesecake out of the divot of the spoon, so I gave up after about 5 bite. Great diet plan I suppose! ;) I've also found I have to be careful when swishing after brushing my teeth or a little water will escape. Haha - cute, right?! Oh well, it will wear off in a few months & now I know.

Updated 8/8/12

I went to my follow-up appointment yesterday. I didn't end up needed anymore in my forehead, as the Botox seemed to kick in more as the days went on and it was definitely still enough.

I was definitely seeing the stacking (looks like little bags) under my eyes when I smiled so I told my injector about this. She gave me two options:

1) leave it & accept it as is/don't do eyes anymore

2) inject a little more to see if we can get the muscle that is causing it to relax and see if we like the results.

I opted to try a little more. I figured might as well experiment a tiny bit since I already didn't really love the look. So, now I wait for it to kick in. I'm nervous it could make things worse...but even if that is the case its just a few months & then I know the eyes just aren't for me.

Round four!

Updated 11/12/12

Last Thursday I went in for my 4th round of Botox. We treated the forehead, but not the two spots on the far outside of the forehead that affect the ability to lift the eyelids. I didn't like what that had done last time, as it was hard for me to apply my eyeshadow. This time I'm wondering if my brows are going to be a bit too "spocked" and I'll have a super surprised look once it takes the full effect. Eek, I hope not, haha! Oh well, if that happens I can go in for a little touch up and my injector can tone that down.

We also did between my eyebrows, which has already taken effect, and yep, I did my crows feet again. So far the little bags aren't popping out when I smile, but I'm still in the "taking effect" stage, so I'm really hoping I don't start to see them as the botox kicks in. She did little injections under my eyes (at my request) as this is what we found to help through our trials last time.

I didn't do the lip area again, needless to say!

So far all is well...eyebrows just feeling a bit high. We'll see how things continue to settle in this time. :)

Updated 11/16/12

I think the Botox has taken its full effect since its been just over a week. I am absolutely loving the results this time! I think we have finally dialed in the right treatment for me, which is great! It definitely took some trial and error, so if you are in that phase my best advice is find a great injector and together discuss what the desired outcome is, then conservatively test things until you find the precise quantity needed and injection sites for your body. I'm still wondering if my brows aren't a touch on the high side, but its not bad looking by any means and I'll mention it to my injector next time to see what we can do to get it just right. I'm a happy girl. If this stuff will last longer than a couple months this time I'll be an ecstatic girl.

Updated 1/2/12

I noticed a bit more movement coming back in my forehead about a week ago, so its not looking like that spot is lasting any longer yet. Its still definitely working there, its not like it has completely worn off, but its starting to. The area between my brows seems to be holding off a bit better, and I see a touch more movement in my right eye than my left. I might do a little touch up near the middle of this month at the 2 month mark, or I might hold off a little more. I'm undecided at this point.

I am going to see if the office I have been going to offers Xeomin. Someone posted something about it the other day, which lead me to do a Q&A search here on RealSelf. I stumbled upon this Q&A and was surprised to see how many doctors mentioned the price difference. I then remembered a blog that was written earlier this year about Xeomin not being able to advertise, and thought that might be the reason it hasn't been offered. Although I'm loving the results I'm definitely not loving the price of Botox, so if there is an alternative that works the same but costs considerably less I'm going to check it out. I haven't decided if I would switch offices where I have my injections done for it or not yet, because I really love that office...hopefully they offer it and I won't have to put any more thought into that.

Round five & six!

Updated 4/19/13

I've fallen behind in my updating!! Ok, so with round five I went to the same office but had a different injector. She definitely had a less is better approach and strives to achieve a very natural look, which is great, but I think the treatment was a little too conservative to give the results I was after. I had my forehead, between my eyebrows, crows feet, and corners of my mouth treated. As you might remember I had sworn off Botox around my mouth from my last experience...but true to my nature I had to try something new, so when she suggested trying it to help upturn the sides of my mouth (I was starting to get a little bit of perma-frown) I said why not. I actually ended up loving that. I would look in the mirror and be like "My lips are straight!" I just looked happier. She achieved this by doing an injection on the side of my mouth. The only thing I did notice with these injections is that as it takes effect, and as it wears off (so in the in between stages) I bight the back of my cheeks a lot. Once it takes effect or wears off it doesn't happen, its just while its in the in between stage.

This time the Botox near the sides of my eyes seemed to last a while, but the lines that go down my cheeks from my eyes came back pretty heavily and my forehead was definitely moving quite a bit. The area between my brows stays super still. I think those muscles must not be strong on me so they go right to sleep with the Botox.

Last Friday (April 12th) I went in for round 6. I went to the same office and my regular injector. As usual she did a great job. I had her do the injections at the corners of my mouth, my forehead, between the brows, and crows feet. Its been a week so its definitely taken effect. When I smile I'm getting some lines under my eyes, but they aren't awful. I think its just that I'm picky/self critical and would prefer if they weren't there.

A community member had asked me about the little injections I get under my eyes to help with the creasing/stacking, and specifically what amount my injector uses. I asked her and she said its a tiny, tiny amount, like 0.5-1.0 units. Personally I love the results of those shots, but I didn't have the other injector do it and I know the under eye area can be really, really touchy so if you are thinking about trying that area make sure you are in the hands of a very experienced injector that you really trust because it seems not everyone knows how to deliver good results in that area.

Something else I have noticed is that I get the "bunny lines" if I smile really big, like when I'm laughing hard. Unfortunately for me, since I have a bigger nose they don't really look like "bunny lines" which sound somewhat cute, but for me it looks more like a rat face - not cute, haha! I've caught myself in reflections a couple of times & thought, whoa, stop with the rat face! If I go in for a touch up I'll ask my injector if there is anything we can do to remedy it, but if not oh well, I still think its worth it.

Updated 6/21/13

I noticed about 2-3 weeks ago that round 6 (injections done on 4/12/13) were starting to wear off already. Its pretty much all gone in my forehead, very slight between my brows, moderately there in my crows feet area. Ugh, less than 2 months. Kind of frustrating.

Round Seven!

My regular injector was booked up last week, and again this week, so I went with another injector at the office. I have to admit I'm freaking out a little bit because I had her do the under the eye injections that my regular injector has been doing. Since everyone has a little different technique I'm worried it won't come out right and I'll wind up with big bags until it wears off. Hopefully not, but I'll know the outcome in a few more days when it has taken effect - holding my breath till then!

Round seven turned out fine

Everything that the new injector did turned out great. Yay, now I have 2 injectors I can go to that both deliver great results. That will make scheduling appointments much easier!

Round Eight!

Last Friday (so 5 days ago) I had my 8th round. I didn't change anything, same number of units, same injections spots. Notice my last round was only 2 months previously though - ugh!! I went with Botox again because I had a coupon from the Brilliant Distinctions program, but think I'll try Dysport next time just to see if there is any difference for me.

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