In the name of beauty, though I was admittedly a touch hesitant, I had to lose my Botox virginity and I’m proud to say that I’ve been deflowered and most definitely not devalued. I left my face’s fate in the hands of “Botox Queen” of New Zealand and I was confident in her abilities to help me reach one of my life goals – being able to roll out of bed looking beautiful sans makeup. Though that may seem like an unreachable and ridiculous goal, together with prescribed skincare, religious sunscreen application and other skin treatments down the line, I firmly believe that this dream can be achieved.
For my first step in this, for lack of a better word, ‘journey’, I received Botox in my jaw from the best and most expensive Doctor in New Zealand: Dr. Catherine Stone, the first doctor in Australasia to start working full-time with Botox over 15 years ago. She’s the founder of The Face Place MedSpa where they perform non-surgical Cosmedicine with a large expert team to help people achieve natural-looking results. Last year, they won ‘Best NZ Aesthetic Clinic’, so it’s safe to say that they know what they’re doing.
If someone was going to stick a needle in my face, I needed to know everything about it and of course, bust some myths along the way for my peace of mind. Dr. Catherine Stone was patient and nice enough to answer all my questions, which I’m sure, will satisfy anyone’s curiosities about this infamous yet mystical procedure.
This is the big question – what exactly does botox do?
Botox is a prescription medicine which can be used to precisely relax certain muscles and reduce their ability to create lines, spasm or tension in the face or body. Botox treatments have been used for over 30 years, with no serious or long term effects in the very tiny doses used cosmetically. Botox works specifically on a neurotransmitter – or messenger – called acetylcholine, to reduce the messages sent from the nerve ending to muscle. The same acetylcholine is the messenger from the nerve ending to the sweat glands, which is why it is also very effective in treating excessive sweating.
Cosmetically, we create many of the lines and wrinkles with our repeated facial expressions. Every time you frown or raise the eyebrows, you bang the skin together, which breaks down the supporting collagen fibres in your skin. When we are younger, we can easily repair the damage, as we have lots of healthy active skin cells that quickly repair the damage. As we age, the skin cells get lazy and we start to do more damage than what can be repaired, so the lines deepen. Botox prevents the lines from deepening and can help the lines soften over time, by reducing the damage from the muscle banging together – giving the skin the ability to repair.
To ensure natural results, we use lower doses more frequently. An average grumpy frown treatment is likely to last about 3 months, but it will depend on the dose we use, the strength of your muscles, and the area treated. There is an art to Botox treatments, with placing it into the right muscle, right place, and right dose. There are over 50 different muscles in the face, which usually sit in slightly different places for different people. This is why a thorough consultation and assessment is important.
We start with the lowest dose we think will give you a good result, it is very easy to put more in and increase the dose if needed. Many injectors just put high doses in, which can ‘freeze’ the muscle and make people look weird or frozen. It does not have to be like that – our aim is to ‘turn down’ the activity of the muscle so that it doesn’t create the lines, but you still look natural – just fresher and more relaxed.
How can Botox be used for jaw slimming?
Jaw-slimming with Botox is a very popular treatment in China, and has been used “off-label” in NZ for over 13 years. Usually a wide, square jaw can be treated very effectively with Botox to relax the Masseter muscles – the big chewing muscles you can feel at the sides of your jaw if you bite your teeth. People with big masseters will often clench or grind their teeth, chew a lot or will naturally have very strong muscles. The muscles get bigger with more ‘exercise’ in the same way that your body muscles get bigger by working out at the gym.
Using Botox to relax the Masseter muscles means that they don’t exercise as hard, and will slowly soften and shrink down over about 4-8 weeks. For example, if you had your arm in a cast and could not exercise it, the muscles get smaller, but are still there, and can/will get bigger if you start exercising again. One of the bonuses of treating the jaw is that it will often reduce the pain in the jaw and the damage to the teeth with teeth grinding/clenching.
Read more about Botox in our upcoming issue available 4th July.