Wrinkle Rewind

admin Thursday, December 7, 2023 Comments Off on Wrinkle Rewind
Wrinkle Rewind










 I know what I’m going to write about for my first column,” I say to my coworker, pausing for dramatic effect. “Botox!” Silence. “You don’t need Botox,” Karla says. She’s right, I don’t. My forehead is completely wrinkle free and for that we can all thank Botox.

You raise your eyebrows and a couple forehead lines pop up. You relax your eyebrows and the lines disappear. At least that’s how it starts. Eventually, you can still see the line even after you lower your eyebrows. Now you have a wrinkle. Wrinkles are caused by repetitive muscle movement. Neuromodulators like Botox and Dysport prevent the muscle from moving. If you can’t raise your eyebrows, you can’t form a wrinkle. If you already have wrinkles, with neuromodulators they will eventually soften and even disappear.

Neuromodulators are made from the same toxin that causes botulism, a type of food poisoning. When used for medical purposes they’re not harmful and are approved by the USDA. Nothing is without risk, but in the worst-case scenario the medicine seeps into the wrong muscle and causes smile or eyelid drooping. The good thing about neuromodulators is that they wear off, so it’s not going to be a permanent issue. 

Still, it’s important to find someone who is trained aesthetically and who has treated enough patients to know the anatomy front to back.

My first experience with Botox was in 2021. I was 33 and the deep wrinkles running across my forehead and in between my brows had bothered me for the past year. I walked into an aesthetics business in the Lake Area and walked out 15 minutes later thoroughly unimpressed. The injector was a little too casual. 

I tried to remind myself this was her job. It’s what she does all day, every day, but for the amount of money I was spending ($350) I wanted to have my hand held a little. She popped eight injections across my forehead and sent me on my way. Two weeks later (the amount of time needed to see a final result) I was even less pleased. I was still able to furrow my brow in the wrinkle-causing way I had my whole life.

I called and made another appointment at the same business. More Botox. Two more weeks. By the end of the whole ordeal I had spent about $500 and had hardly anything to show for it.

Months later, a friend suggested I give Renaitre a shot (no pun intended). Renaitre opened its doors in 2018 and joined the Williamson Cosmetics family two years later. Williamson Cosmetics has five locations across the state. They’re the only aesthetics business in SWLA with a board-certified facial cosmetic surgeon on the team. (Dr. Jon Perenack has a pretty active instagram account where he shares patient before and after photos @drjonperenack.)

Renaitre To The Rescue

“Welcome! You must be Diana,” the receptionist says. “Can I get you some coffee or water?” Ah, the aforementioned hand holding. There it was.

Kara Babaz, nurse practitioner, asks me what areas are bothering me. She talks with me about my previous Botox experience and asks what my goals are. She is friendly and knowledgeable. Kara does this all day, every day, too, but she takes it seriously, and I can tell I’m in good hands. 

She suggests we try Dysport instead of Botox. “They’re both neuromodulators and they both use the same communicator, but a lot of my patients who feel heavy in the forehead prefer Dysport. Dysport kicks in somewhat faster, too. I tend to use it on my very expressive patients, and they say it lasts a little longer on them.”

“I think you’ll need 80 units,” she says, studying a page with faces all over it. Kara tells me she charts where and how much she injects for each of her patients. “Every face is different. There is no one-size-fits-all. I like to make sure when the patient comes back, I can use their feedback and what we did for their last appointment to get the best result possible.”  

She uses a white pencil to make little dots on my forehead. “Make a mean face. Relax. Raise your eyebrows. Relax,” and then we do it all over again twice. She steps back to look at my face and then leaves the room to prepare the vial.

When she comes back, she asks me to lay my head against the headrest. The needle is tiny and doesn’t hurt. Kara moves around my forehead quickly and painlessly. She uses a tissue to dab a drop or two of blood from the injection sites. “Ok. That’s it,” she says. “You’re done. Not too bad, right?” Definitely not.

My after-care instructions are to “make sure you don’t lay flat for the next four hours and no massaging facials for the next two weeks. We don’t want the product to move from the area where we injected it.”

The next day I can already see a difference. Two weeks later, I’m mostly happy, even though I can still move the area in between my eyebrows. Kara calls to see how I like my result. “It’s good enough, really,” I tell her. “I guess I’m just too expressive.” Kara says she’d like for me to come back in, free of charge. “I want you to be completely happy with your result and I’m confident we can make that happen.” 

Two weeks later, she’s right. I’m thrilled. For the next year I see Kara every four and a half months which is about how long it takes for my Dysport to wear off. Eventually, the wrinkles across my forehead and in between my eyebrows disappear completely. In 2021, I was injected for corrective purposes. Now I only see Kara preventatively about once a year.

Neuromodulators can be used for much more than just wrinkle prevention and correction. They can lift your brows, open up hooded eyes and with a ‘lip flip’ make your lips appear bigger. They also treat TMJ, teeth grinding and migraines, and can be used under the arms for excessive sweating.

“We don’t want you to look like someone else. Our goal is to have you look like you, just on your best day —awake, renewed and more vibrant,” Kara says. 

It’s important to note that one Botox unit is equivalent to three Dysport units. Each Dysport unit is $4.30, and Botox is about $14 per unit. I need 108 Dysport units, but everyone is different. You may need more or less than I do. For $464.40 per year, I have a wrinkle-free forehead. That’s only $1.27 a day. (In girl math, it’s basically free.) In my experience, neuromodulators like Dysport reverse signs of aging, and Renaitre is the best aesthetics business in SWLA. 

Have an idea for Diana’s next experience? Let her know by emailing her at diana.vallette@gmail.com

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