I have a confession to make: I love Botox (botulinum toxin) and have been having it regularly for nearly ten years. Admittedly, I have always been skincare obsessed, so it was only natural that the world of appearance medicine would appeal to me at some stage. Before I continue, let me make a disclaimer: injectables and cosmetic procedures aren't for everyone, and I certainly don't believe they are necessary to feel beautiful. I'm a huge advocate for doing what makes YOU happy.
My goal with Botox has always been the same: to look fresh and natural; the best possible version of myself. Call me vain, but I want to look young for my age! At 34, I am regularly mistaken for someone much younger, and I always get asked for ID when purchasing alcohol (long may it continue). I put this down to vigilant sunscreen use, quality skincare, and regular Botox.
Despite the fact I've been doing this a long time, the overdone look has never appealed. Over the years, I have visited various clinics and injectors, and one thing became evident early on: it is crucial that you put your face in the hands of a professional, in a safe medical environment. Cosmetic treatments are still medical treatments, and it bears remembering that they must be undertaken by a registered nurse or a doctor to keep you safe and minimise any associated risks.
What is Botox?
Botulinum toxin A (Botox) is an injectable treatment which temporarily paralyses and relaxes muscles, softening or erasing facial lines (frown lines, crow's feet and forehead lines and more) in the process. Botox can also be used for treating excessive sweating, migraines, and teeth grinding. While that may all sound a little scary, compare it to other medicines: you wouldn't get your penicillin from mouldy bread, you would get it from a lab, purified and processed, so it's safe to use. Botox is no different.
The FDA approved Botox for cosmetic use in 2002, and the world hasn't looked back. Did you know that over five million Botox treatments a year are performed globally?
While there's no doubt cosmetic treatments are on the rise, you must choose your clinic wisely. Whomever you trust with your face should be looking to enhance and play up your features without drastically changing your look. Despite what we've seen through celebrity trends and on social media, in the right hands, cosmetic treatments shouldn't leave you with a shiny, frozen face or a trout pout. Most of us want to feel confident, beautiful, and natural. Non-surgical cosmetic procedures are an excellent avenue for those who want a little more than just active skincare or facials alone.
My experience at Peak Appearance
Before I book anywhere for non-surgical treatments, I always do my research and make sure I choose a clinic and a practitioner that I trust. After all, I'm putting my face in someone else's hands, and I want to be sure I'm cared for, listened to, and safe in a professional, medical environment. Cosmetic injectables are becoming increasingly popular, and there are a lot of operators around who are inexperienced and have minimal training offering. Some of these practitioners are even offering Botox and dermal filler from their homes. While low prices may be tempting, remember that you always get what you pay for. Safety is paramount. With this weighing on my mind, I had a good look over the Peak Appearance website before booking, and I was reassured to see they have highly qualified staff with plenty of experience.
I made the call, and the lovely team were terrific trying to find me a time to suit when I didn't have my daughter in tow. Their level of professionalism was evident even over the phone.
Peak Appearance is situated within a modern medical complex in Havelock North, but upon entering, I felt like I was tucked away in a beautiful spa. I was greeted warmly and took a seat in their cosy waiting area, where I filled out a comprehensive form detailing my personal and health information. Before long, the lovely Sophie welcomed me and led me into the treatment room where we took a seat at her desk. The clinic feels incredibly professional and comfortable with a touch of luxe.
Sophie was warm, friendly, and instantly put me at ease - a good sign. We started with a very thorough consultation including my medical history, and she asked me plenty of questions about my needs, wants, and previous treatments. I mentioned to Sophie that my horizontal forehead lines were the area that I usually treat and that I also treat the frown line area from time to time. She asked me to raise my brows and frown so she could assess my current range of movement prior to beginning my treatment.
I lay back on the treatment chair, and Sophie handed me a stress ball to squeeze if I felt any discomfort. After a short amount of prep, we were ready to begin. When I first started getting Botox, I remember being very nervous, but over the years, I've become a lot more relaxed during the procedure. The needles themselves are teeny tiny, and thankfully, each injection is short and very bearable. In the hands of a skilled practitioner, you should only feel a very mild scratch/sting, if that. Some areas do sting a little more than others, but everything is over so quickly. I like to keep my eyes closed and focus on my breathing, which helps.
As Sophie performed the first injection, I was surprised at how little I felt. She has a very gentle hand and an excellent injecting technique. Within a few minutes, we were done. Sophie finished my treatment with an antiseptic cream over the injection sites, and a light application of mineral makeup to hide any residual redness. I walked out looking completely normal - no one ever would have guessed. After about four days, I started to notice my forehead lines smoothing out nicely as the Botox took effect.
Sophie requested I come back in two weeks so she could assess my results, something Peak Appearance insist on for first-time clients. Sometimes a few extra units are required to achieve the perfect result, and once your injector knows your "formula", they will note it down for your next visit as a guideline.
I’m thrilled with my final result: I now look refreshed, youthful, and there are no lines in sight!
Does it hurt?
Some patients consider it virtually painless, while others experience mild discomfort during injections. Overall it is an incredibly quick and easy procedure. If you're scared of needles, take a leaf out of my book and keep your eyes shut during the treatment!
How long does the treatment take?
The appointment duration which includes a consultation is generally 30 minutes while the treatment itself is a quick, ten-minute procedure.
How long does it take to start working?
Between three and seven days, with the maximum effect seen at ten to fourteen days.
How long does it last?
The effects last 3-4 months, and sometimes up to 6 months . Results are individual depending on your lifestyle, and some areas wear off faster than others.
How much does it cost?
Clinics charge per unit of Botox, anywhere between $18 and $22 per unit (depending on who is doing the injecting). As every treatment is individual, pricing varies, but expect around 20 units to treat the frown area.
Important note: Dysport is slightly different and 3 units equals 1 unit of Botox or Xeomin. One Dysport unit usually costs around $5-$7.
I'm busy planning more visits to Peak Appearance as I'd love to try a few more treatments this year, including the popular PRP “Vampire Facial.” Learn more about Peak Appearance and their offering here.