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My Botox Experiment

After too many Zoom calls with sub-optimal lighting, David decided to try Botox. He finds out: Is it safe? Can it look natural?

About 5 weeks ago when I was at the dermatologist getting a skin cancer check-up, a wild idea entered my mind: Botox! What would that be like, is it dangerous, would I like myself more, or is it totally weird in a TV-weather-person frozen-expression sort of way? Clearly I had some other issues lurking behind this thought, but when sitting in the doctor’s office, deep introspection of self-worth was not top of mind. 

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My rationale was: first, I would like to personally understand this better, and second, should it go horribly wrong and half my face gets paralyzed…well, I won’t be having in-person meetings for another year so no big deal. It seemed like if one were to do such an experiment, now was as good a time as ever.

Zoom-Induced Botox Interest

The other factor here, if I am going to be honest, is that with constant Zoom calls via high definition cameras and not always optimal lighting, I was not liking the way my face was looking. I don’t think I have ever spent so much time seeing myself up close on a screen. Especially disappointed were my eyes, which seemed to have become semi-closed even when I am wide awake. Not a good look.

My photo background has led me to a pretty high level of discernment about what I have seen people do to themselves in the realm of age-abating modifications: fillers, Botox, various cosmetic surgeries often stand out to me in high relief. Sometimes it is pleasing, and other times it can be super weird, as in full-Donatella weird. The Beverly-Hills-Daffy-Duck lip injections, for instance, is something I have some trouble understanding. Maybe it is a cultural thing that I just don’t get?

The price of my Botox experiment? $385. Let’s do it. I had my forehead injected by the highly skilled and wonderfully conversational Dr. Kelly Stankiewicz, MD. During our time together, I asked her some questions:

Is Botox Dangerous?

Is getting a terrifically powerful toxin injected into my head dangerous? Sure seems like it would be, or are we just taking advantage of what nature has to offer? Hummm…

When people are hesitant to have Botox because they think it’s an unnatural toxin, I always remind them this is a great example of harnessing the power of nature. Botox is natural and originates from nature. I really like your paraphrase though: Botox is taking advantage of what nature has to offer. This is spot on.

Botox Trends

What are the new trends you are seeing in your practice?

I think the biggest trend I’m seeing in my practice is a greater interest in men of your age group. Truly! I’m not just saying that. Could it be the Zoom calls? The techniques are subtly different when injecting men and women. Women enjoy an arched and raised brow, while for men we try to raise the brow but keep the shape flat. The area that is increasing in popularity, I think, is the neck. Most people are pleasantly surprised at the improvement we can get in those bands that sit under the chin — the first signs of neck aging. 

As far as more or less freezing, this is a very personal preference. In general, between the eyes we really try to go for a frozen look and on the forehead we try to retain natural movement while stopping the formation of lines. Some people have a very strong preference for something different and they definitely let the physician know. 

Anderson Cooper’s Regime

What’s with Anderson Cooper and what looks like a varying Botox regime? Sometimes glasses sometimes not, sometimes totally frozen and sometimes less so?

Regarding Anderson Cooper, I’m a big fan. I don’t want to badmouth him, so I say all of this with a playful spirit. However, there are times when his forehead does not move at all. When you put too much Botox in the forehead, it makes your brows sit lower. I have always imagined that this is when I think he wears his glasses — just when the Botox is feeling the strongest at the beginning of the course of treatment. If I were doing his Botox, I would focus on the strong muscles between the brows and do very little in his forehead. This would prevent the strong “11’s” and give him a lift so he doesn’t have to hide his low brows with glasses. 

End Result

What was the effect? You can bet that every day, a couple of times a day for the first month I was checking myself in the mirror to see what the difference was. Basically, I look about the same; I can still move my forehead, but less so between the brows. My eyes are open slightly more, and this I really like. It is me, but slightly enhanced. It is subtle enough that my wife has some trouble seeing the difference. Would I do it again? I think I would. The treatment lasts around 4 months, and I’ll decide then what I think. The question is, would I go for any other more invasive procedures? I don’t think so. Whitening my teeth, a bit of self-tanner, some skin moisturizer and that is about all I am willing to bother with as, for the most part, I am pretty happy with the way I look. But who knows, ask me next year. Maybe the Donatella-full-mod is the way to go?

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David Stewart
David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.

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