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There’s a certain negative connotation that comes with the word Botox. Frozen faces devoid of emotion and unnaturally smooth foreheads are an image that stems primarily from TV and film, from the Real Housewives to Botched to Fiona, the plastic-faced stepmom from A Cinderella Story. As I recall, she said, “Oh, it’s the Botox. I can’t show emotion for another hour and a half.”

To change this mindset, I enlisted the help of Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a renowned dermatologist from Mount Sinai Hospital with over a decade of experience in the field, to show that Botox can create a perfectly natural, youthful look. And then I did it myself, for my 25th birthday!

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I’d been eager to get Botox to fill in my deep forehead lines after trying anti-aging and wrinkle creams recommended by almost every magazine and beauty blogger out there. My decision received mixed opinions from friends, who thought I was too young to be getting Botox. Since I have friends my age who’ve received other cosmetic procedures like breast implants, nose jobs, laser hair removal and lip injections free of judgement, I couldn’t see how this was any different.

Dr. Zeichner has a theory as to why people are quick to scrutinize Botox, specifically in younger women. “I think people have a very negative initial reaction to it because they aren’t educated on the details of how it works,” he said. “It can be used as a preventative measure. If a line is just starting to form, relaxing the muscle can prevent a deep line from developing altogether. I think the best time to come in for early Botox is when the line just starts to stick at rest.”

He said that in the past year, he’s seen more and more people coming in under 30. Since the popularity of #selfies, Snapchat and Instagram has greatly increased in that time span, I asked Dr. Zeichner if he thought there was a connection. “Yes, I think that people are much more aware of not only how they look, but how they are appearing on camera and in photos. It’s definitely influencing our treatments. I think it’s starting to become a part of popular culture.”

Botox In Your 20s — My Experience

My procedure started off with a 30 minute numbing cream as Dr. Zeichner gave me an overview of how wrinkles are created. “Skin is made up of collagen, elastin & other components that make it thick and supple and help prevent it from wrinkling. As you get older, these become damaged and combined with constant muscle movement, the skin is more prone to wrinkling,” said Dr. Zeichner. Botulinum toxin, or Botox, is an effective way of filling in these lines. “If you can’t make that facial expression, the muscles don’t fold the skin and you don’t form that line anymore. If you can relax the skin and the line isn’t that deep, it will fill back in.”

I explained my insecurities stemming from my deep forehead lines and how that was the area I thought we’d focus on. Dr. Zeichner expressed caution. “When you relax certain muscles, they don’t work the way they used to. I find that when people inject a lot of Botox into the forehead, since that muscle is an elevator and lifts your eyebrows up, in its relaxed state the eyebrows sometimes drop a little bit. I’m not going to knock your whole forehead out but we can treat it a little.”

He studied my face and the way my muscles moved with every expression. He had me smile, frown, show surprise and anger. “Everybody has the same patterns of muscles in their face, but they pull differently in everyone. When I inject you, I will give you Botox injections in a pattern that best suits your specific face muscles,” he explained. I immediately felt comfortable and that I was in great hands.

We decided on a small amount of Botox in the upper portion of my forehead and around the eyes to open them up as under-eye wrinkles form when I smile. We also decided to do Juvederm Voluma to fill in the natural loss of volume in my cheeks. Dr. Zeichner explained you lose the outer fifth of your face volume as you age, so choosing Juvederm Voluma fills it back in and makes you appear younger.

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The injections hurt less than getting my eyebrows threaded, and only took about 15 minutes. Dr. Zeichner warned that some bruising can occur, but I didn’t experience any. He said you will see slight results after 48 hours, but it’s recommended to wait two weeks for full results. And after that amount of time, I was so impressed. My forehead lines have almost completely disappeared and my under my eyes, it stays smooth when I smile, which effectively opened up my eyes. The Voluma filled out my cheekbones nicely and gives me a slightly contoured look.

Botox lasts 4-6 months and Voluma lasts about 2 years. Cost wise, Botox is priced around $20 per unit, and Dr. Zeichner used 55 units on me, coming to a total cost of around $1100. Voluma is $1200 per syringe. Botox and Voluma are an investment, but in my opinion, are completely worth it.

So, Hollywoodlifers, have I changed your opinion of Botox?

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