I think everyone is curious about botox—whether it's preventative or because you have some pesky lines you wish would just disappear (especially for those wedding photos, which you want to treasure forever). We've heard many tales of brides-to-be going under the needle for the first time for pre-wedding botox, and yet it was with some trepidation that I walked into Sejal Shah's downtown NYC office. What if I ended up looking like one of those scary old ladies whose face doesn't move?! I quickly found I couldn't have been in safer hands. Dr. Sejal (a RealSelf contributor) was the nicest and most reassuring dermatologist ever. She calmly walked me through every step and asked me about my concerns, goals, and expectations. She explained that she was super conservative, especially with first-timers (yay, no old-lady frozen face!), as it's always easier to start that way and add more later if needed. And she also reminded me that it's not permanent, so if I wasn't happy with my results, it would wear off. (Phew!) For after-care, she asked me not to lie down for at least four hours after the procedure and not to rub or massage the area or carry out extreme exercise.
I had opted to have my worry lines fixed, and she carefully described how there's a need for balance throughout the forehead, so she would inject other surrounding areas. More injections!? I needn't have worried. I literally felt nothing as she administered approximately five tiny little shots and then massaged the area. And I was done! Literally 20 minutes, from start to finish. Now the question remains: Is a little pre-wedding botox a yay or a nay? As with everything related to your big day, this one is a really personal choice. Our recommendation is just to focus on finding a highly trusted provider before making any decisions.
Here's one surprise: It isn't instantaneous. It can take up to two weeks to see full results. On day 14, I could totally see the difference, but in such an unbelievably natural, refreshed way, like I'd been on a spa retreat and not spent the morning on the F train.
What does it feel like?
My skin feels a little tight, like I've experienced a really good face mask, and not at all paralyzed like I'd feared.
Would I do it again?
Friends have commented that I look like I'm aging backwards, which might be the highlight of my life. So, yes is the answer to that question—definitely yes.
Brides-to-be, how long should you give yourself before the big day?
I asked Dr. Shah, who said, "If you have never had a treatment before, I recommend having a treatment at least six months before the big day, so if for some reason you don't like the look, it will be completely worn off before the wedding. If you're not a first-timer, it really depends on when your prior treatment was. I usually recommend a touchup four to six weeks before."
Should you top up? If so, when?
"Yes, depending on when you have been treated. For example: If it's been four to six months since your treatment, you will probably need a touchup. If the wedding day is two to three months after your treatment, you might not. Typically, I recommend a touchup four to six weeks before, assuming the treatment was three to six months prior."