When botulinum toxin (I’ll call it botox for ease) first came onto the aesthetic market, there was initially a lot of trial and error as to what constituted the best result. The most common ‘desired’ outcome was not to have any lines at all. This required a larger quantity of botox and/or for it to be done more frequently. This resulted in the ‘botox look’- a clear shiny forehead, slight Spock-ish eyebrows and a same-ish expression.
Whilst some people still like this look, most have started shying away from this and prefer a balance where there still is some expression, but the lines appear softer. Unfortunately, most current day training for practitioners in the UK (in my experience at least) is still old school. Its then up to the practitioners to figure it out and help their patients to find the right balance.
This is reflected in my practical experience as well, where quite a few of my patients come to me after being ‘frozen’ and asking for their results to not be too obvious.
So how can you get the best out a consultation with your practitioner?
- Before even going to your doctor, ask yourself what it is you want to achieve. The number of times I’ve had patients confuse botox and fillers is quite high. I also get people who don’t really know what they want.
- Look at magazines and other people’s expressions when they talk. See if you can get someone to record you when you’re having a conversation and study your face in motion. Botox is best used for lines in motion or dynamic lines. It doesn’t work as well for lines that are present when the face is at rest, although this could improve over time
- If you prefer a natural look with some movement, accept that you’ll have to get botox done more frequently but with a lesser amount each time. Some places also offer ‘baby botox’ which is basically a smaller amount of botox used in a few areas- great as a taster but works equally well if that’s your preferred look.
- Its generally better to undertreat for your first session with a new practitioner. Most reputable places will offer free top ups.
- If your treatment doesn’t go to plan ie you still have a lot of movement, do go back to see your doctor. Most things can be corrected and your doctor should adjust the treatment and fine tune things. This will be especially helpful for your next session as your treatment notes will remind your doctor of what your personal preferences are and how you personally react to botox.
- Most practitioners will use a standard quantity in each area. Depending on the individual, this could be too strong or too weak. Do remember that one size does not fit all. Accept that occasionally it will take a bit of tweaking to get exactly what you want with the same practitioner.
- As time goes on, your muscles get weaker. This changes how much botox you need or want. Your practitioner should change management accordingly.
- Do take note of facial asymmetry. Most people have uneven faces and botox can frequently balance things out. However, you may feel like you notice the assymetry more after treatment, despite the fact that it may have improved. This is usually due to people paying to attention to their faces post procedure. With good ‘before’ pictures, this won’t be a problem.
I hope this gives you an idea of what to expect and ask when you go for your appointment. Do remember, its a two way street and it helps if you have done some homework. Do feel free to post questions. I will be posting more blogs on botox soon.