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I got my first muscle-relaxing toxin injections at the tender age of 26 (I’m now this close to turning 42). I was a magazine editor in New York City at the time so exotic trips, fine dining and even designer handbags were constantly being bestowed on me (gratis, of course), so I didn’t bat an eye before accepting an invitation to the penthouse of the then-brand-new W Times Square to meet a prominent dermatologist and experience the effects of neurotoxin injections first-hand. In my defense, I have very strong facial muscles that were already starting to cause the appearance of an “11” between my eyebrows—and I was so happy with the wrinkle-smoothing results that I’ve been getting regular treatments ever since (and have expanded my treatment area to include my crow’s feet and forehead as well).
Then, after my last treatment about a year ago, I stopped. I didn’t have any particular reason other than wanting to see what my face would look like without the muscle-relaxing effects of a neurotoxin. As it turned out, I didn’t mind having facial movement again (and it’s not like my face suddenly fell to the floor or anything), and I vowed to go toxin-free until I became unhappy with what I saw in the mirror. My first inkling that it may be time to resume regular treatments came when my son asked me why I was angry when I wasn’t the slightest but annoyed at all. Then my husband busted me for rolling my eyes, lifting my eyebrows or making another face after he said something—on quite a few occasions. (This was big wake-up call because I started wondering who else saw my “faces” that neurotoxins had helped keep under wraps for more than a decade.) Finally, I had developed horizontal lines across my forehead that were visible even when I wasn’t making any sort of facial expression. This combination of factors is what ultimately ended my toxin-free experiment—and I promptly made an appointment for Dysport with oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Steven Fagien in Boca Raton.
This was far from my first time at the Dysport rodeo, and although I totally knew what to expect after years of toxin treatments, I found my experience with him to be uniquely different. In the past (with other injectors), I was in and out of the treatment room in less than 10 minutes. Dr. Fagien took his time, asking me to frown and relax before he injected, then squint and relax before he worked on my crow’s feet, and finally lift my brows and relax them as he worked on my forehead. After he was done with an area, he asked me put pressure on the injection spots, making sure I was pushing upward and outward. (His assistant was also kind enough to wipe away any droplets of blood so I didn’t walk out of there looking like I’d just had a ‘vampire facial.’) All and all, I’d say he spent twice the time with me than other injectors in the past.
I never get numbed before neurotoxin injections (who has the time?) and although some areas are more sensitive than others, I’ve never found these injections to be the slightest bit painful. I almost have a bigger issue with the “crunching” sound the injections make in certain spots, but this is hardly a deterrent (and nothing I ever think about between or before appointments).
I was on my way after about 20 minutes with a little redness and slight swelling at a few of the injection spots, but they both subsided by the time I got home. It’s ok to apply makeup immediately after Dysport injections, but I just put on some tinted sunscreen before picking my son up from school and it didn’t like I had anything done.
I know from experience that other toxins can take up to a week to take full effect, but I saw less forehead movement the very next day after my Dysport treatment. (This is a major plus!) Two days later, I had even less movement and I was so freaking psyched. Fast-forward to five days after my appointment, I noticed my brows had more of a pronounced arch and I just looked more relaxed overall and didn’t have a line or wrinkle in sight. I noticed such a difference I even said to my husband, “Don’t I look refreshed?” (and I’m not one to fish for compliments).
Long story short, I don’t exactly regret the time off, but I’m beyond happy to have Dysport back on board—and I don’t ever see myself undertaking the toxin-free experiment again!