Restylane: My Second Experience, and Trying Not to Freak Out! - Washington, WA

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I have spent two days searching for reactions...

I have spent two days searching for reactions people have had because of my reaction. I've decided to take 5 minutes and do a write up for all women like me who are having a reaction and in a major panic about it. Here we go:

I had Restylane last year for my laugh lines. I was 40. It lasted a year and 3 months for me before it was time for a second round. I had it Tuesday at noon. Same dose as before. I had a block put in before the Restylane. The only thing we did differently this time vs. last time was they put a topical numbing creme on, waited a while, did the block, waited a while, then got the Restylane.

By late afternoon, I was completely and totally swollen. Like, blown up, like a ballon, swollen. By that night, I was itching, burning, and in so much swollen pain I was going crazy. I took a Benadryl, then Tylenol, and not very much relief. I finally caved and took a Vicodin. That helped with the pain. I was very miserable. I was icing every hour. I could hardly sleep. I was very miserable and hating myself for getting the procedure (I was in tears). My first experience with the product last year did not have those results, I had a weird smile for about a day, a little hardness, and that was it. It was perfect. This time I looked like a freak and was having so much itching/burning I was going crazy.

Wednesday (the following day), I woke up at 5am and started icing again. Tylenol. Benadryl. I was still swollen (I think more swollen than Tuesday night). The itching/burning had subsided (still was some up until that afternoon, then died out). But I was completely blown up like a freak show. If you asked me to smile, I looked like the Joker. It was awful. It totally freaked me out. I heard about Arnica Montana on some blog (I was internet surfing like crazy with my symptoms...not a good thing, lots of horror stories out there) and rushed down to the store and bought both the cream and the pills to try to calm the swelling and prevent bruising. I slept that night with three pillows under my head to try to drain the fluid. I didn't have to take the Vicodin, but I did keep up with the Benadryl (I don't think that was doing anything, really) Tylenol, and the Arnica cream/doses.

Today is Thursday. I woke up and felt my face. It had gone down in swelling about 50%. I started to see movement. When I smile, I still look like the freak Joker. But now not so painfully blown up. I made an appt with my doc first thing this morning in this panic. He thinks I had an allergic reaction to the topical which he thinks amplified the condition. He is very confident this Joker smile is totally related to the swelling, and will be gone in a few days, at max two weeks (no promises, but he thinks). So no smiling, I guess, in the meantime.

If I had to do it all over again (trust me, this makes me think twice), here are my suggestions for those who care:

1. Make your appointment when you don't have to see one human for at least 3 days. That means no events, work, etc. If your face was as bad as mine was, you don't want anyone to come anywhere close to you. Better if you were able to escape to another planet for one full week.

2. Seriously, no IB Profin, Aleve, Advil (the vowels!) prior to the treatment, for two weeks. I didn't, but boy, this experience really made me get real serious about that real quick.

3. Take Arnica 2 days before the treatment. Get it at a local Vitamin store for under $10. Ice before the treatment. Ask questions (how much, how long, check the box for the product, etc.). Ask who to call in case there was a problem. I would come in with clean skin (no makeup) and make sure they clean you really well when they inject. Just one more variable to take out of the equation, if there is a problem.

4. Immediately after: Sit there and ice. For like 15 minutes. Wait a bit to apply makeup. Don't work out for 24 hours. Ice every hour for 5 minutes, if you can. Benadryl and Tylenol following treatment. Keep head elevated when you sleep. Drink tons of water. Keep up on your Arnica cream, medicine, etc. throughout the night.

5. The next day was the worst for me swelling wise. Keep up your medicine. Don't plan to exercise for another 24 hours. Ice all day if you can. Drink lots of water to flush things out. When you go to bed that night, elevate your head. For two days after treatment, don't do any blood thinners (IB Profin, etc.) just try to relax. Oh! And no rubbing, no moving the product. Just let it rest. You can make it worse rubbing it all around.

6. This should be your full second day. Like I said, my swelling had gone down 50% by doing as much as I could of the above. Still took the arnica all day and Tylenol. Drank lots of water. By the evening, I worked out for about 45 minutes...lightly, to start everything moving around and try to get these fluids out of me (and not cause bruising or additional swelling).

That is where I am at right now. I'm fairly confident I'm on the way back to normalcy. Please, if you have a similar experience, call your doc (you paid a lot of money for this, it's worth the Followup), and try to keep calm. The swelling will go down. Every hour today it's decreasing. I swear the Arnica is helping. I look slightly normal, but no smile with teeth (joker!). Don't panic. It will get better. The doc said in two weeks, I will love the look, like I did before. Stay calm and carry on!

I hoped this helped someone. I know it would have helped me!

It's now Monday, almost 6 days after the procedure...

It's now Monday, almost 6 days after the procedure. All the swelling is gone (by last Saturday I was looking like my old self again!). I am pretty much normal, without the lines. No more joker smile, thank goodness!

I still am a huge believer now in that Arnica, both applying it topically and taking it orally. I heard ingesting it works that much better. I also believe my doc was right, and I had an allergic reaction to the topical he put on prior to the block. Anyway, I just wanted to follow up and let people know that the outcome was good. Would I do it again? Probably, highly likely. Oh, how quickly we forgive and forget.
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