Hi, I'm Mathew and I'm turning 30 this year. As I've gotten older, I've developed some serious forehead wrinkles. Which I'm very, very self-conscious about.
Yes, I know that wrinkles are an important part of showing the world how far you've come, but I sometimes struggle to remember that. So here we are.
To hide my wrinkles I keep my hair long and frequently wear bandanas and hats.
Anything to cover my wrinkled-ass forehead.
And I can't even count the number of times I've cropped my forehead out of Instagrams.
God I hate that original pic.
I've been thinking about Botox for a while. In fact, I'd even planned to get it for the first time last year, but got nervous and canceled a day before my appointment.
At the time I felt like I wasn't prepared, didn't know enough about side effects, etc.
Plus, my only real knowledge of Botox – and incorrect understanding of how it worked – came from television shows and movies.
I certainly didn't want to have an emotionless face for any amount of time. I was also worried about having a Kim Kardashian-like bad reaction to Botox and decided to wait.
But no amount of anti-aging cream was making a visible difference.
Then, a conversation with co-workers got me once again thinking about Botox.
Turns out, not only is preventative Botox a thing, but according to Vogue you become a prime candidate as early as 24!
So I did it. I made an appointment to get Botox.
As luck would have it, there was a spa about a block away from my office that was offering a "new patient special." It seemed like a sign? I could sneak out for a little lunch-hour Botox, and be back before anyone noticed.
When I arrived at the "medspa," I was surprised by how much it looked like a normal spa?
The decor, the dim lighting, all of it made me feel like I was there to get a massage, not poison injected into my forehead. But despite the relaxing environment, I was hella nervous.
During my consultation the registered nurse explained what to expect after getting Botox. What surprised me the most was the fact that the effects weren't going to be immediate.
She said that I wouldn't notice anything except for a few small bumps at the injection sites for a few days, and that it could take up to two weeks for the Botox to take full effect.
So yeah, all of those jokes on TV and in movies about having a frozen face after getting Botox are totally bullshit.
The other thing I found surprising was that getting Botox in one area could lead to temporary new lines in other areas.
When it came time for business, the nurse first marked my forehead. Next, she used a little wipe to clean each spot, numbed it with an ice cube, then injected the Botox.
I did have a couple of barely noticeable bumps, but they dissipated within 10 minutes or so.
I didn't notice any difference whatsoever after only 24 hours, but by day four I could definitely see a reduction in the visibility of my forehead lines.
Not necessarily a dramatic change though?
One change that was noticeable and dramatic was how frequently I was looking at myself in the mirror.
I became very obsessed with looking at myself in the mirror and monitoring the changes to my forehead.
After two weeks, you could definitely tell that my forehead lines had lessened.
But like, the wrinkles weren't completely gone. They're still there. I can still see them. Reduced? Yes. But gone? Nope.
To compare, here’s my forehead immediately before Botox, then two weeks later:
And here's a before and after with me wrinkling my forehead as hard as I could:
Now, this is probably a good time to point out that Botox is temporary. The lines in my forehead look lessened now, but in six months they'll be back to normal.
Reduced, but never forgotten.
Also. There's this. Lines between my eyes that – as a result of the Botox – are more noticeable than they were two weeks ago.
They may not be easy to see in the pictures, but trust me, the lines are there and more visible than before. The nurse wasn't lying when she warned me that getting Botox in one area could cause deeper lines in other, untreated areas.
The gradual effects of Botox were different than I'd expected. But it didn't make me feel like my decision to dabble in cosmetic injections was going unnoticed. To be totally honest, the lag time created an uncomfortably long period for me to obsess over the changes to my forehead.
In fact, during the two weeks that followed Botox, I found myself almost fanatically checking my face in the mirror. Monitoring my two biggest lines, looking for additional lines and wrinkles, thinking about what else bothers me about my face...
The biggest lesson: Injectables aren't necessarily a magic fix to insecurities.
I learned that my own anxieties and self-doubts won't suddenly disappear after a quick visit to a medspa. Botox may have lessened the appearance of my wrinkles, but it didn't lessen my insecurities about my appearance. There's always going to be ~something~ wrinkling on my face, and in the future, I'm hoping I can learn to take it in stride.