By Julee Nunley

A few weeks ago, Katie wrote a post on wrinkles and asked in the comments section if someone who had tried Botox would share her experience.  I have done it a few times and although I didn’t do it for cosmetic reasons, I did get some cosmetic benefit. So, my experience may not be the typical one for someone who just wants to get rid of wrinkles, but I do think I can give you some idea of what it would be like.

You may be wondering why someone would get Botox if not for cosmetic reasons.  There are a few medical uses for it, including treatment of migraines.  In my case, it was to treat a facial twitch that I have as the result of having Bell’s Palsy during my first pregnancy.

For those who don’t know about Bell’s Palsy, it is a virus that causes facial paralysis.  In my case, the doctors didn’t want to treat me with steroids right away because I was pregnant.  However, after the condition worsened, the doctors did finally put me on Prednisone.  It was too late however to stop my facial nerve from being fully severed, meaning that it took me a good three months to heal as my nerves had to re-grow.  Sometimes when nerves re-grow, they go kinda crazy and connect in strange places.  So now, when I move my mouth certain ways, my eye closes.  For instance, I can’t put a lollipop in my mouth without winking at you.  (It just hit me as I wrote this, that I could be sending the wrong signals in mixed company!) My left eye also has a twitch almost constantly.  The severity of my symptoms varies based on how tired and how stressed I am.

I tried Botox for the first time shortly after my son was born.  The first time the doctor used too much medicine and for a couple weeks I felt like my face was paralyzed again.  It wasn’t as bad as with Bell’s Palsy, but not being able to fully move my mouth and eye again was really disappointing after what I had been through during my pregnancy.  The next time I went back to see the doctor, she reduced the amount of medicine and the results were much better.  Still, I decided that I didn’t want to do it again. My face still wasn’t completely back to normal after the treatments, so I didn’t think it was worth the time and money.

Over five years passed before I decided to give it another try.  The end of last year was a particularly stressful time and the twitch in my face was bothering me more and more.  I went back to see the neurologist and she felt that it was a still a good option for me, so we scheduled an appointment. The appointment may have been THE fastest doctor visit ever. I think I was out of the office 20 minutes after first walking in there. So, you know that is quick… however, I can’t tell you that is quick and painless! The Botox is administered with multiple injections around your eyes (or wherever you are trying to stop movement and wrinkles). Some of the shots hurt worse than others depending on the location, but it is over quickly and doesn’t hurt after the initial sting is over. In my case, I get probably twice as many injections on the affected side.  The injections on the other side are solely for cosmetic balance.  I remember when the doctor saw me the first time, she looked at my face and said, “well, you don’t really have any wrinkles.”  Five years and two little boys later, and she really couldn’t say that anymore.

You also should be aware that the effects do not kick in immediately, so you do not get instant gratification.  My last treatment took about seven days to take effect.  I woke up one Saturday morning and realized that when I smiled my face felt kind of funny.  I went to the bathroom and was amazed to see that the wrinkles around my eyes were gone and then I realized that my eye twitch was barely noticeable.  I took the picture above to document the event.

As I write this post, it is about two months after my treatment and my face feels pretty normal.  The twitch is under control and it doesn’t feel strange when I smile anymore.  Of course, not feeling strange means that my face is moving and that the wrinkles have started to reappear.  But, my wrinkles are not as bad as usual and I feel like I look more normal now. The doctor tells me I can expect the treatment to wear off after about three months and at that time, I’ll go back in for another treatment.  The insurance companies also require three months between treatments.  Of course, insurance is not a concern for the cosmetic treatments.

So, would I recommend this treatment for cosmetic reasons only?  I’m not so sure I would. It’s cool to smile and not have crow’s feet for a change, but the lack of movement in my face felt pretty weird to me.  On the other hand, if wrinkles really bother you and you’re willing to fork over the money, Botox will certainly take care of the problem.

What about you? Have you tried Botox? What do you think? Share your stories!