Botox, yeah baby!
Excuse me if I don’t smile for the next 4 months I’ve just had my face selectively paralysed in the name of beauty, the pursuit of youth, and most importantly because it was something I hadn’t tried before.
Actually I’m joking, not about the Botox, but about being able to smile. I can still smile.
A doctor friend who youth-ens, beautifies, and generally clarifies people’s skin with various laser treatments and skin peels etc told me I looked five years older than I really was – professionally speaking of course. An insult? A sales pitch?
He then told me that he was recently given a trial vial of a new Botox-esque drug called Dysport (which is meant to have a more immediate and longer lasting effect) and was looking for a candidate to test it on. I jumped at the opportunity to shave a few years off my face – if only for a few months.
Up front, I was highly sceptical that a bit of Dysport could make a difference and perhaps even a little nervous when the day came to give it a shot. Now I’m a convert.
When I was a young teenager I contracted Bells Palsy in my face. Essentially a virus that attacked and compromised my facial nerves it left me paralyzed one side of my face. Quite literally, one half of my face didn’t work; was unresponsive to my mental commands. As a result I had a lopsided smile (because the other half of my face wouldn’t join in), a mouth that remained in a constantly relaxed state (partially open so I had to drink through a straw and even then stuff would still dribble out), and an eye that wouldn’t close (so I had to tape it shut at night so it wouldn’t dry out). If that weren’t cruel enough all this occurred just as I was attending my first day of secondary school in a new town. I won’t use names but I’m still haunted by a less than sensitive student yelling across the science classroom for all to hear: “Hey you! What’s wrong with your face?” My fate was sealed.
I thought Dysport would be like that – that I would once again be a prisoner in my own face, egging my muscles on to react but getting no cooperation. But it’s not. In fact I’m completely unaware that I don’t have full facial access; it’s only when I look in the mirror that I realise that all my muscles aren’t onboard.
A number of carefully placed pinpricks – some without any feeling and some that hurt – around the far sides of my eyes and I was promised I’d no longer have crow’s feet extending out to my hairline when I smile.
Disappointingly the results weren’t immediate. I would have to wait three days before I could expect to difference. In the meantime for the first two hours I had to continue to squint, squeeze my eyes, contract my face to somehow work the poison into my muscles that were being paralysed. I also wasn’t allowed to laydown (side or back) or lean forward for fear that the neurotoxin would shift from its intended target.
That was it …
So I waited …
A few days later, as promised, the muscles along the outside of my eyes were paralyzed and not accruing ‘wrinkle-time’ while they lay dormant. When I squeeze my eyes now, as tightly as possible, the area doesn’t budge. It’s only preventative but for the moment my crow’s feet have evaded Father Time for roughly four months, taken a forced vacation before the muscles will come back online and engage when I smile.
Do I look younger? I’m not sure about that but I can see how using it – particularly from a younger age – can minimise the damage done to our skin. I’m hoping to use the next four months to adopt an organic, longer term plan: to break my bad habit of squinting.