Several years ago, I was hosting a local television show and investigated Botox in an "up close and personal" manner. Dr. Terry Cromwell, a board certified plastic surgeon with Plastic Surgery Associates in Lafayette, LA, was the featured guest on that particular episode. Being a tad apprehensive, but willing to brave being injected on camera with a potentially life-threatening toxin for the sake of ratings, I agreed to my first Botox injection. What follows is my personal experience with Botox and my current thoughts on Botox and its benefits and alternatives.
Like most women, I did my own Google research prior to our on-camera interview. I researched the risks, the benefits, and testimonials. It seemed that I was a good candidate for Botox. Perhaps it's a southern characteristic, but I seem to have this uncanny tendency to be very expressive. By that I mean, I talk with my hands (so much so that if I had to sit on them, I probably couldn't speak a complete sentence), and my facial movements are also very expressive. I smile a lot and lift my eyebrows all the time, and I don't mean lifting my eyebrows on occasion when I'm surprised or quizzical. When I would wake up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror, I would see that I had already unconsciously raised my eyebrows into the lifted position, for no particular reason.
Given my particular problem areas, two things would happen. First, big smiles tend to create the teensy little wrinkles around the orbital corners of the eyes that we refer to as crow's feet. Second, with lifted eyebrows we're prone to a set of wrinkles that cross the forehead in a horizontal fashion (along the frontalis/forehead muscles). Men and women can also get wrinkles between the eyebrows and around the lip area and neckline, which can also be addressed with Botox. Surprisingly, several plastic surgeons I've spoken with have said that approximately one third of their Botox clients are men.
Dr. Cromwell was kind enough to educate the viewers and me about Botox as a means of wrinkle prevention. A case in point was a reference to my own wrinkles from overactive eyebrow lifting. He told me in no uncertain terms that I was causing the development of premature forehead wrinkles in my early thirties. He advised women in their early twenties and thirties to pay special attention to areas where wrinkles may be beginning to develop. By noticing these seemingly tiny facial crevices in the early stages and addressing them with Botox, the wrinkles can be kept at bay almost indefinitely. For me, it was an issue of retraining my frontalis muscles to not lift, except when I wanted them to. In regards to the crow's feet area, I was fine with never "squenching" them together at all.