Yo. So I actually haven’t tried BOTOX yet, but I'm preparing to! No matter how much I read -- even on this site! -- that it's not a total bloody, bruisy, gory horror show, I remain excited and paranoid about it to the point of almost being turned on. WHAT?! All that needle talk and then crazy promises of looking hugely sexy and tight and and hopefully better-looking afterwards, and you expect the party girl beauty editor/Peter Pan in me not to be aroused? C'mon.
I’m not that wrinkled yet, if at all, but when they come I swear I won't be mad at it. I won't be! Because then I can get all these procedures done on myself that I’ve been reading about for my whole friggin' career.
And when this happens, friends, there is one doctor I want to go to more than any other in the game. She’s Russian-born; she’s Philadelphia-based, and in short, she’s a wizard at inducing the sexy – if sexy is to you, as it is to me, a Justin Bieber-like countenance on the faces of grown ladies. [I really want to promote the idea that we biddies rule (let's have a biddie-walk!) and lines are sexy. These opinions are the lovely Cat's. ]
Her name is Dr. Adelaida Merker; I've linked to her practice, Northeast Botox, here. And she’s here to tell you what’s what! Botox and all that shiz can be a totally shady business, babes, but when you’ve lived half your life in the USSR (for real! she's ill) and are now a bananas-fantastic wielder of the needle, you tell it like it is.
Nope! I've known this woman a long time and here's a FACT about Dr. Merker: She is not going to lie to you or oversell you. Instead, she's going to be incredibly patient with all your zillions of questions for the next time in the comments section, as she is always so patient with me (I see her for other stuff; just trust).
She is going to give you realistic and fair non-New York City glamour prices (I know how annoying only fancy NYC and LA experts can feel to readers; mmm-hmm!). And she is going to provide us with stats and facts about exactly what we all need to know before we go under that heavenly cosmetic syringe that we crave like the appearance-enhancing junkies that we are.
Got it? Good. Remember to leave your questions for next time in the comments section after the jump. Now ... andéle! Or however you say, "Let's get going!" in Russian.
Seven things you should know about Botox injections, babes:
1) THE PAIN ACTUALLY ISN'T THAT BAD. RELAX! PARANOID MUCH?! (YES I AM TALKING TO MYSELF.)
Well, I guess the whole point is to NOT relax those muscles; hahaha. Whoa Cat, way to start off with a hokey joke. Umm ... NO, what was I saying? OH, the PAIN, THE PAIN! I'm so scared of the pain.
But ... I'm sort of bugging, so says Dr. Merker though-not-in-those-words. "Everyone's pain threshold is different, obviously," she explained to bug-eyed me, who was fearfully demanding the awful truth. "But the needles are small and designed to be as painless as possible, and most people don't really feel too much. Less painful than when you're getting blood drawn, for most."
Oh. No, but SERIOUSLY? "Seriously," whispered the Whisperer. "It's not that bad." Then she told me that if you're a total freak about pain, panic to your doctor first and they'll obviously try to make it more comfortable for you. But any good doctor will do that anyway. Duh.
Right-o. Well, that makes sense. I don't know why I'm so paranoid, come to think of it. If all those Real Housewives can take it to the face every three hours, so can I.
2) YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE BRUISED AND BLOODY LIKE A HORRIBLE "LAW AND ORDER: SVU" PHOTO EXCEPT IN YOUR IMAGINATION, WEIRDO.
Urrrg, so many bad jokes, but here we go: Why do I always imagine that I'm going to look like a battered wife (there it is) in a police station photo after I get Botox injections? God, I am so afraid!
"You can almost always go back to work immediately after the procedure," says the genius Dr. Merker. "However, one of the side effects could be a small bruise and you may have to cover it up with make-up." But generally? Nah, you're fine, and definitely next-day fine, if anything.
Celebrities and people (though not our Jane Pratt -- YET!) get this stuff done and hit red carpets mere hours later, no problem. I won't name names, so let's just say ... ALL OF THEM. Even like, I suspect, my man Bill Clinton. That's just speculative, but come on. And no, I don't know why I thought of Bill Clinton. I love that Bill! I think Jane knows him. Jane? Anyone? Clintons? Botox speculation? Crickets? Sorry.
There's a small chance that your doctor will hit a blood vessel, but FACT: Only wimps bleed. No, I just made that up. They'll ice that shiz! Hooray, and look at that: Everybody lives.
3) "PREVENTATIVE" BOTOX IS DUMB.
You knooowww that theory that is floating out there that if you GET Botox early, pre-wrinkles, in the places you believe that you will GET wrinkles -- that this will prevent said wrinkles from even forming in the first place? NO.
Please, says Dr. Merker. You're playing yourself.
OK, so she didn't actually say that verbatim; I just did. Here's Dr. Merker's actual quote: "Unfortunately, no matter how young you start Botox injections it will not prevent wrinkles from naturally occuring in the future," says the doc. "Maybe the NEAR future, but ... no, not really." Save your cash and get microdermabrasion for now instead. Better still, wear lots of sunscreen. It's cheap, duh. Also my words, not hers. Duh again.
4) THERE'S NO "TOO YOUNG" (WELL, PAST, LIKE ... 25?) OR "TOO OLD" FOR BOTOX; IT'S ALL ABOUT HOW BUSTED CREASED "SEXILY WEATHERED" WRINKLED YOU LOOK, AND WHAT KINDS OF CREASES "SEXY WEATHERING" WRINKLES YOU HAVE.
Dr. Merker's youngest patient was 24, and let's all assume she was awful-looking. NO! I'm sure she needed Botox or at least desperately wanted it.
Oh, what was I saying? How young is too young for Botox. Well, let's let the doctor take over here, because clearly I'm losing it, as I do halfway through most of my articles:
"Our wrinkles can fall into two categories; dynamic and static," says Dr. Merker. "Dynamic being when wrinkles and lines appear during expressions like laughter and disappear once the expression is gone, static being wrinkles that we can notice without expression."
Uh-huh. I follow, for once! "I recommend to start Botox injections when you start noticing static wrinkles. This usually depends on the condition of your skin, so maybe you're going to notice changes when you're 25, or maybe when you're 40. Everyone's skin is unique, so it's hard to predict the exact age."
Gee, she sounds so mature compared to me! Doctors are so sophisticated.
5) THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO BE CHARGED FOR BOTOX, SO GET INFORMED.
Neither is "better," I don't think. I don't know; Dr. Merker isn't all judgemental like that and didn't say. But okay, let me break this down as best as I can understand it. Hold on -- I will turn down the Justin Bieber blasting from my computer. "I WILL NEVER SAY NEVERRRR!" To Botox! That's right, bitches.
Actually, let's just let Dr. Merker explain for me! Yesss, I love beauty experts; they sort of do the work when you're too dumb (you being the beauty editor, natch). "There are two different ways of billing for Botox producedures," says the doc. "You can get charged per location. For example, a forehead can run $250-$350; the area around your eyes can run $300-$400; the area between your eyebrows (glabella) can cost $100-$200."
Alternately, explains Dr. Merker -- and she charges by this method -- you can be charged by "real" Botox usuage: The price of one unit can run $12-$18. And for example, a less-wrinkled person may need 10-15 units for her forehead, or $120-$270 worth.
Who knew? Not me, because when I do get cosmetic stuff done, it's free! Ah, beauty editor perks. Someday I'll get wrinkled and really cash in. But look, I earn them; see how hard I'm working on writing this. Annnd cue the violins for Cat, I know; I know.
6) THERE'S ALL SORTS OF FAKE WEIRD BOTOX IMITATORS OUT THERE, SO ASK TO SEE THE BOX!
A-HA! I knew there was some reason to be paranoid. According to The Botox Whisperer, the industry is plagued (well, she wasn't quite so dramatic about it, but it's a sexy story, non?) with crazy fake Botox nightmare poisons! And evil people are waiting to take your money and then pump you full of them until you are rendered useless and drooling, aka NOT very POP. NOT very Bieber. (Don't go to that link, P.S. Sorry.)
No, here's what Dr. Merker actually said: that every person who's getting Botox should ask to see the original packaging, which should look like the picture below:
Futher whispered the Whisperer: "The package should state that the product is made by Allergan, which is the sole manufacturer of Botox in the United States." (Sorry, CANADA, once again I have neglected to do any research for you; mwhahaha.)
And get this! This is where is starts to sound like a creepy movie, which in my head stars me, Dr. Merker, and, ummm, Jane, and, uh, Bill Clinton, versus a bunch of terrifying Botoxed pirates! "In recent years I have heard some doctors using cheaper 'Botox' from China, South Korea and South America that yield ill side effects --" SCARY! "-- so make sure to ask to see the label."
Oh, hush, haters; I'm just trying to keep my Botox article interesting. Because seriously, aren't they always so boring in the magazines? Dude, I used to have to write them, so I know, I know!
7) THERE ARE A BUNCH OF HUGELY EFFECTIVE ANTI-AGING THINGS A DOC CAN DO FOR YOU BEFORE SHE POKES YOU WITH A NEEDLE.
God, I make the needle sound so sinister, don't I? Like the Neil Young song, which I've been listening to throughout writing this entire post! Hey hey, my my: I'm weird.
Listen: Needles are a big step and they're sort of costly and all that, so if you're not happy with how you look but not sure about taking the plunge, go to the same person (doctor, aesthecian, etc.) for microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or to score prescription strength topical retinols like the old Cat Marnell so many needy young women score legitimate Adderall prescriptions.
And ... that's it! For TODAY, at least. Are you overwhelmed? Does your head hurt? Because there's an injection for that! Hahahaha, no, but seriously; there is. Now it's time for YOUR questions for Dr. Merker, or for me, and to share your own experiences with Botox, fears, good stories, comparative experiences and so on. The xoJane.com BOTOX FORUM opens NOW. Go!