I’m not the kind of guy you’d expect to see getting Botox.
I’m only 32, and I don’t get paid to read the news on cable. Thanks to years of diligently applying sunscreen and moisturizer and keeping my pale Midwestern skin in the shade, I think I’ve held up reasonably well.
Yet here I am in a chair in a dermatologist’s exam room, watching as she marks potential “trouble areas”—the beginning of crow’s feet around my eyes and a barely-there crease along my forehead—with a black pen.
What Is Botox?
Botox is a synthetic neurotoxin that blocks the release of a chemical signal from nerve to muscle, reducing muscle contraction.
It lasts three to four months and costs $300+, depending on the amount of Botox required.
Beware of bargain prices and steep online discounts, which could mean the doc lacks experience. The results will show.
It works a little like a 401(k) for your skin: The earlier you start, says Dr. Peredo, the better you’ll look as you age.
Where I Need Botox
Crow’s feet are common targets for men my age who seek the treatment, I learn.
Every time I smile, laugh, or squint, my facial muscles create small creases that worsen over time, explains Marina Peredo, M.D., the dermatologist who gave me my treatment. Even if I kept a straight face my whole life, those same muscles would still flex unconsciously, creating lines that are impossible to prevent—without a little help.
For a lot of guys, that promise is suddenly very appealing.
In fact, research shows that over the past 16 years, the use of botulinum toxin type A, which includes Botox, has jumped more than 350 percent among men. In 2015 alone, more than 400,000 men sprang for these treatments.
How I Felt And Looked After Botox
Warding off wrinkles is only one reason that men are lining up for a shot of the neurotoxin. Other benefits are drawing them in. Who knew, for instance, that Botox could be the solution to migraine pain and sweaty armpits?
In my case, I admit, it’s about keeping up appearances.
After the doctor finishes dotting my face, she makes a dozen or so small injections—each one a quick but relatively painless pinch. I take a nervous glance in the mirror. To my relief, there’s barely a drop of blood, and only a slight puffiness that the doctor assures me will go away within an hour.
The next morning I can already notice a difference. It’s not like I look 18 again—more like I’ve just awakened, thoroughly refreshed, from the greatest nap of my life.
After a few weeks, I notice the areas around the injection points don’t move as much when I raise my eyebrows, but I still look natural—not frozen or numb.
I’ve seen unexpected benefits, too, like the fact that I sweat less from my forehead.
I can’t say for sure if I’d do it again. The cost is jarring—a year of college tuition for a lifetime of treatments.
But I see why men do it and why more might start. In fact, a friend who’d expressed surprise when I told him texted me later that day. Could I, he asked, share the name of my doctor?