I can’t lie, Botox has always been something I’ve been curious, yet slightly apprehensive about. I mean, it doesn’t have the best pop culture reputation. I’m a firm believer in embracing ageing – especially as a woman working in the beauty industry, doesn’t slowing down the process go against everything the modern industry strives to promote? Lastly, and perhaps most importantly treatments are completed by a needle, going into your face – I mean enough said. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Nicole Kidman, both 42 and 55 respectively, have used the treatment and have maintained a natural look.


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A post shared by Kim Kardashian (@kimkardashian)

Foregoing the risk of sounding like a total cliché – ageing is one of life’s greatest privileges.  Every year added to your life brings new wisdom, fond memories and sometimes, fine lines and wrinkles. There’s nothing wrong with the aforementioned, but if you’ve noticed them beginning to form you may be looking for options to slow down the process – Botox enters stage right.

As I approached 30, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to find out for myself.  The truth about Botox, I discovered, is actually quite simple, non-threatening and dare I say enticing? If you have questions about the treatment we’ve got the answers,

What is Botox? 

In the most simplest terms, Botox is the trademarked name of a neurotoxin made by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. A neurotoxin is kind of what it sounds like: a toxic substance that alters the normal activity of the nervous system. Think of Botox as a completely safe, FDA approved version. It’s manufactured in an injectable format that when inserted into the body blocks the signal released by nerves from reaching their target muscle. This action helps to prevent the muscle from contracting, and as a result, helps  to prevent wrinkles on the skin, explains Dr. Alex Viezel-Mathieu, a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon. Essentially, it stops muscles around the injection site from making the movements that overtime can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Some of the most common injection sites for Botox include in between the eyebrows, crows feet (the muscles around the eye) and the forehead, because these are the area of the face that typically show signs of these lines forming first.

What are the benefits of Botox?

According to Jeremy Tebbutt, founder of Skin6 –  Toronto based MedSpa, it’s the best anti-aging treatment you can do for yourself. “When it comes to delaying those early signs of ageing such as wrinkles around the forehead and crow’s feet, Botox is the best way to do it.”  The key word here is  “anti-aging.” I, like so many others, was always under the impression that Botox is a great option only when trying to reverse these signs. However, It is highly effective as a preventative measure. “Botox is like pressing pause on the ageing process” Tebbutt says. “Botox will relax the muscle to the point where you can’t flex those muscles that do cause those lines and wrinkles, thereby extending the amount of time that it would take for those lines to appear as permanent,” he explains.

If you are looking to smoothen existing lines, it’s important to note that Botox is most impactful when targeting what are referred to as “Dynamic wrinkles” – caused by muscle movement. When it comes to treating static wrinkles (wrinkles that are caused due to loss of collagen, elasticity or sun damage) fillers, may be a more suitable option.


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A post shared by Emily Nicole, RN (@skin6nurseemily)

What is the actual treatment process like?

The treatment itself only takes around 15-20 minutes depending on how many units you are getting done. As for prep beforehand it’s pretty minimal. Coming to your appointment without makeup and your hair pulled back might make things easier, but it’s not mandatory.

The nurse or doctor doing your procedure will likely ask you to make some faces (exaggerated frowns or smiles) so they can have a good idea of where your fine lines live, then proceed to inject those areas. In case you’re wondering what the pain level is about a two out of 10 – and this is coming from a person who absolutely hates needles.

What should you be aware of prior to your treatment?

It is critically important that you discuss your ideal results with the person performing the injections prior to the procedure to make sure you’re both on the same page. Tebbutt echoes this stressing the importance of doing your research pre-treatment: “It’s so important that you know you are getting the product that you are paying for” He also suggests speaking up and asking questions like “where did you get this product from? Is it straight from the source? Can you show me your credentials” asking simple questions like this can guarantee your safety.

What should you be aware of after your treatment? 

After being treated with Botox you should avoid lying down for long periods of time after treatment as well as strenuous exercise. Also try and avoid applying any kind of pressure to the face, this includes a lengthy skincare routine or applying any kind of makeup.

What are some common misconceptions about Botox?

We’ve all seen shows or movies where someone who’s supposedly just had a Botox treatment looks like their face is completely frozen, never to return to normalcy again. However, Viezel-Mathieu states that’s a complete myth. “When performed properly Botox allows patients to maintain their normal appearance while allowing them to appear more rejuvenated and refreshed.” So yes, with a moderate amount of Botox you will be able to move your face and show normal emotion.

Is there anyone that should avoid Botox?

For the most part anyone can be treated with Botox. Dr. Roni Munk suggests that people who are pregnant, breast-feeding or or have certain rare neuromuscular disorders should avoid being treated with Botox.

How and when should you begin implementing Botox into your anti-aging regimen?

It is really important that patients ensure that they are going to a certified and well trained injector. Munk recommends starting with a small dose for your first treatment. It’s easy to inject more should you desire it but it’s harder to correct should too much be injected. When it comes to any kind of injectable, the more natural the appearance the better.