Words that start with “B.” Beauty. Botox… Coincidence? We think not! But what about all the misinformation surrounding it? (Will it freeze my face? It’s bad for me? It’s just for the ladies? It’ll break the bank?) Time to quiet the chatter, cop a squat, sip a cocoa and take a gander at our inside scoop. Industry expert and injection technique trainer Dr. Soheila Rostami, who has performed 1,000-plus injections in the last year alone, puts your mind at ease. We asked the double board-certified surgeon of NoVa Sanctuary Cosmetic Center all the Botox basics you could dream to know. Here’s her insider, expert take on the top myths surrounding the de rigueur age-defying, youth-restoring elixir—and her tips for how to best benefit from the beauty injection.
Dr. Rostami, August 2018
NOT SO FAST. Full disclosure: Yes, it’s a toxin. Specifically, Botulinum Toxin A. But the common injectable has been studied extensively and used since the 1970s for more than 20 medical conditions (even in children’s eye muscles). “I hear this a lot,” says Dr. Rostami: “‘I hate my wrinkles, but I don’t want Botox because I’ve heard it’s a poison. But, we know it’s safe,” says Rostami. And beneficial, she adds. “Botox/Dysport can slow down the aging in the upper third of your face. It keeps your eyebrows in proper position, prevents the frown lines from becoming permanent grooves, and stops wrinkles from etching into your forehead and crow’s feet.” Bottom line? “There is just nothing else like Botox/Dysport!”
NEGATIVE. Contrary to common belief, the injection is not used to “fill in” the wrinkle. Instead, Botox/Dysport are actually injected into very specific muscles to relax them. “A relaxed muscle isn’t able to strongly contract and create the wrinkles or furrows,” explains Rostami. (Frown brow, be gone!) “This is why it’s actually great for younger people.” (Think 20- to 30-somethings.) Translation? Those relaxed muscles prevent the starting or deepening of wrinkles. Ah, sweet, sweet youth prolonged… Oh, but if you do have a deep line or crease that needs filling, “we use dermal fillers in conjunction with the Botox, which do exactly what their name suggests: fill the lines,” explains the good doctor.
THANKFULLY, NO. You won’t be emptying your bank account on Botox… so you can save those Benjamins for a Birkin or Bermuda vacay. Instead, this miracle elixir is arguably budget-friendly—especially when you consider its bang-for-your-buck. “We hear patients think they have to be a celebrity to afford Botox/Dysport,” says Rostami. “While it isn’t exactly inexpensive, it is worth the cost.” Why? Most achieve desired results in three to four treatments per year and, more importantly, it’s an “ investment toward a more youthful, future you!” says Rostami. “In my practice, I have patients who have been coming for their treatments with me for over a decade, and it is evident how Botox/Dysport has arrested their aging!”
NOT AT ALL. We’ll leave the “Frozen” look to Elsa and her crew, while you, my friend, will have the fluid facial beauty of your dreams. Beyond fear of the frozen looks, “I have patients who worry that if they stop using Botox/Dysport, they will look suddenly older,” says Rostami. “Neither is true. Frozen-ness is often a matter of taste, of the patient or of the injector. I have patients who request this look, but I tell them to err on the side of appearing more natural, and a little movement is good.” Moreover, as the injection wears off over time, without additional injection, you will return to your prior look, as the muscles return to their normal state.
Fancy a brow-lift sans scalpel? You’re in luck. If you have uneven brows, Botox/Dysport offer a “chemical brow-lift,” explains the doctor. “In a skilled injector’s hands, your uneven eyebrows can be leveled out without appearing “Spock-ish.” Sign us up!
Sure, social media is great, but, cautions Rostami, “each person is unique in age, skin type, gender and facial features.” Translation? “A one-stop, ‘saw it on Instagram’ approach doesn’t usually work.” Having an idea of your desired outcome is great, but “it’s best to meet with a cosmetic expert for a proper and thorough evaluation of the three main facial areas—upper third, middle third and lower third. Outcome? Selfie game strong!
Speaking of thirds, Dysport/Botox is typically used in the top third of the face, between the eyebrows, the forehead and crow’s feet, explains the top surgeon. That said, “if you are older, you may benefit from Botox in the lower third of the face,” she adds. “I typically inject the top lip, for a softening of the lines. I will inject the muscles responsible for pulling the corners of the mouth down into a frown, giving the lips a subtle lift, and if my patient has those perpendicular neck bands, I will inject those too, and the neck will appear much more youthful and less ropey.” Talk about turning that frown upside down!
Don’t go looking for a bargain lest you’d like to wind up a case on Botched! You know the expression “You get what you pay for.” … To wit: “It’s a mistake to search for a place that delivers these services inexpensively,” warns injector expert Rostami. “Fillers and Botox are not the same in every injector’s hands.” Like with any highly skilled service, “there are good and bad injectors, and it’s important to consider the skill level of the injector.” Maybe save the Groupon idea for a kayak down the Potomac.
Not just for the ladies… “Brotox” has exploded in popularity in the last 10 years. It all comes down to approach: “As an injection technique trainer, I teach that men should be injected a little differently because we don’t want their faces to appear feminized,” explains expert Rostami. The takeaway? Be sure to find an injector who knows the difference!
This is part two of a four-part series.
Photography by Mandi Mafi