The most frequently-asked question of most first-time aesthetics injectable patients is, “What will the results look like?” To get an in-depth understanding of the entire experience — and the effects — of a medical aesthetics appointment, we bring you Under the Needle™: A look at an individual’s journey from beginning to end.
Maura laughs a lot. It’s an attractive quality — especially in someone who manages a team in a fast-paced digital environment in New York City. (Maura serves as Spotlyte’s™ Head of Product.) When she’s off the clock, you might find Maura at a trendy pilates studio, baking something that looks like it sprang out of Bon Appétit®, or spending time with her 4-year-old daughter.
Maura has always felt a strong sense of gratitude for her daughter. “She’s everything,” the 45-year-old gushes. “When I learned I was pregnant, I was so excited, I didn’t even think about how my face and body would change.”
Now she is noticing some changes — one of which stares back at her every time she looks in the mirror. Maura has become increasingly aware of two parallel lines between her eyebrows, one of which is significantly deeper than the other. “When I see myself in photos — even if I have a great outfit on, a nice blowout, and my makeup looks perfect — all I see [is] this one line between my eyebrows,” she laments.
Lines in this area are quite common, and they often come in pairs — you may have heard of them referred to as “the elevens” for this reason. They’re also called “glabellar lines,” or “frown lines,” because they’re formed from years of frowning and furrowing. (Learn more about how these wrinkles form.) One way to treat these lines is with injectable wrinkle reducers, which can temporarily improve the appearance of elevens.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They should not be used more frequently than every three months. Like any medical treatment, they have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. Have more questions? Chat with our team of trained aesthetics specialists now.]
Here’s how: once injected, the treatment blocks certain neurological signals responsible for specific muscle contractions (in this case, the ones that cause the appearance of the glabellar lines). By reducing the underlying muscle activity, the overlying wrinkles appear smoother for up to four months.
Last spring, Maura decided to take the plunge and schedule a consultation for injectable wrinkle reducers. Her goal was simple: “I just want a smoother appearance of the line between my brows,” she had said. “I can’t unsee it!”
Below, we tagged along for the 45-year-old’s journey — from consultation to injection to her follow-up appointment. Keep reading below, and watch the video of the process here.
Maura decides to visit double board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Jennifer Levine on the Upper East Side in NYC. Dr. Levine greets Maura and leads her back to an office for the consultation. “Maura, this is so exciting!” Levine says, taking a seat across from Maura. “Tell me what your concerns are.”
“I’m mainly concerned about my glabellar lines,” Maura explains, beckoning to the region between her brows. “It’s the one thing that’s been bothering me, so I wanted to see what we could do about that.”
Levine carefully studies Maura’s face and determines that, yes, she is a candidate for injectable wrinkle reducers for her frown lines — and, upon further inspection, for some other areas too.
“Even though you’re primarily bothered by this vertical [rightmost glabellar] line, you do still have some other wrinkles at rest,” Dr. Levine notes, gesturing to lines on Maura’s forehead and around her eyes (otherwise known as crow’s feet). The fact that these wrinkles are visible at rest (albeit not as noticeable as the glabellar lines), indicates that they may benefit from injectable wrinkle reducers, too. (Here’s how to tell when a wrinkle is ready to be injected.)
Levine explains that Maura should expect to see the aforementioned lines diminish, but there’s no promise that they will disappear. This is particularly true for the rightmost 11 line, which is significantly deeper than the rest. To demonstrate how deeply etched it is, Levine gently spreads Maura’s skin to its smoothest state. “I can still see that there is a crease there,” she says.
This type of in-depth consultation is absolutely essential when you are considering injectable wrinkle reducers. Make sure you’re booking a consultation with a licensed and experienced provider, who can walk you through both the benefits and side effects of treatments. (Note: If an injector skips this part, steer clear. Read about how to choose a credible provider.)
Dr. Levine sets up her workspace as Maura reclines in a chair. “Today, we’re going to be using injectable wrinkle reducer to treat Maura’s forehead, crow’s feet, and glabella,” Dr. Levine restates, snapping on a pair of rubber gloves. After she cleans Maura’s skin with rubbing alcohol, Dr. Levine lightly marks the areas she plans to inject with a pen.
Then, the actual process begins. Syringe in hand, she traverses Maura’s forehead with a few careful injections.
The entire injection process for frown lines lasts around ten minutes; throughout it all, Maura closes her eyes, seemingly unfazed. But when she’s finished, she breathes a sigh of relief, half-laughing as she releases the stress ball she’d been squeezing.
“It was just like a couple of pops,” Maura says of the sensation, fluttering her fingers where the needles had just been. The physical discomfort, she says, was tolerable.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to treat moderate to severe frown lines, forehead lines, and crow’s feet. Patient experiences and results may vary.]
Despite her tolerance for the injections, the treatment is not entirely devoid of unpleasantries: Moments after the injection concludes, Maura feels woozy. A slight malaise isn’t entirely uncommon, Dr. Levine assures. Eventually, Maura feels ready to stand up and head out.
Now, the only thing left to do is to wait. According to Dr. Levine, within a week or so, Maura may begin to notice her lines diminishing. Full results should appear within a few weeks.
Results After One Month:
Indeed, it does take a few days before Maura begins to notice her lines diminishing. Interestingly, she says her husband noticed the effects first. “Every morning, he would look at my face as I woke up in the morning and say, ‘How’s it doing?’” she laughs.
As expected, the lines around her eyes, on her forehead, and between the brows appear significantly smoother. Maura says she is very satisfied with her results. She also says that friends and family — with the exception of her ultra-observant husband — haven’t commented on her smoother appearance. “But I notice a difference,” she says. “I’m already considering doing it again.”
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers should not be used more frequently than every three months.]
Complimentary treatment was provided to Maura Charles for the purpose of writing this article.
Dr. Jennifer Levine is a paid Allergan® consultant.