Cosmetic Surgery Tips

What to know before getting botox for the first time

If you’re considering getting botox for the first time, there are a few things to know about the procedure. Botox is a popular treatment for wrinkles and lines that can help reduce aging or make your skin look younger and more vibrant. This medication is injected into muscles beneath the skin to relax them, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles. It’s important to know that botox is not permanent, so it will only last for a certain period of time before you need another injection.

There are some risks associated with botox, including nerve damage and pain at the injection site. If you have an allergy or hypersensitivity to botulinum toxin A (which is found in Botox), you should not use it—this means that if you’ve had a bad reaction in the past, then this isn’t right for you either.

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on What to know before getting botox for the first time, chemical peel at home for hyperpigmentation. Read on to learn more. We at cosmeticsurgerytips have all the information that you need about at home chemical peel vs professional. Read on to learn more.

What to know before getting botox for the first time

The first and only time I got Botox, I had a stress ball in my hand and I kept my eyes shut as the needle slid into my crow’s feet. Suffice it to say that, despite the fact that Botox injections are among the most common procedures that many cosmetic dermatologists and plastic surgeons regularly do, it’s still nerve-wracking to anticipate what will happen during the procedure and what the results will look like ahead of your first appointment.

To help ease any fears, however, experts are explaining what to expect when you get Botox, so that your first appointment can, quite literally, be smooth sailing.

What exactly *is* Botox?

Botox is an injectable found at the dermatologist’s office that taps a neurotoxic protein called “bacterium clostridium botulinum,” (say that three times fast) and is produced by the parent company called Allergan. Botox has become so synonymous with smoothing out fine lines that it’s used as shorthand amongst many beauty enthusiasts, but there are also other neurotoxins that do the same thing, such as Dysport, Xeomin, and Jeuveau.

Though there are increasing uses for Botox in medical settings (jaw pain, migraines, to stop sweating in the armpits), when used in cosmetic settings, Botox is tapped to soften lines. “Botox works by preventing dynamic wrinkles by temporarily weakening the underlying muscle,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon in New York City. Dynamic wrinkles are those caused by the movement of the underlying muscle, and, over time, these turn into a static line even at rest. “With Botox treatment, the muscle contraction is weakened and the overlying dynamic wrinkle is lessened. And with early and effective treatment, it can not only reduce the dynamic lines with movement but soften or eliminate static lines as well,” she says.

Botox is commonly used on the frown lines (the area between the eyebrows), sides of the eyes (crow’s feet), and forehead lines, but it can be used around the jaw, neck, and elsewhere, according to Dr. Engelman. Those are the basics about the cosmetic treatment—keep scrolling for intel on some of the most common questions about Botox, as explained by dermatologists.

What to expect when you get Botox

Is it safe?

Absolutely. It’s FDA-approved, even, which is more than what many skin-care creams and serums can say. “Botox is safe and actually used to mitigate certain health issues, such as hyperhidrosis and migraines,” says Dr. Engelman. That said, Botox should not be done on those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. And to really make sure that you’re happy with the results of your treatment, it’s vital to go to a trained professional. Getting Botox is a medical procedure, and it really should be treated as such, so make sure to thoroughly vet your practitioner ahead of seeing them in person.

What are the risks?

The most common risks of getting Botox are bruising or swelling, but Lesley Rabach, MD, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon and co-founder of LM Medical, notes that these don’t happen that often. “The chance of infection in someone who’s healthy is almost zero,” she says. What could happen is that you experience asymmetry after the Botox sets in. “There’s a slight chance of that, which isn’t uncommon because usually, one side of someone’s face is stronger than the other,” she says. Oftentimes, your dermatologist will have you come back in for a check-up to even things out if necessary.

Most of these risks are mitigated if you see the right professional for the treatment. “It’s important to go to a licensed dermatologist for treatment,” says Dr. Engelman, stressing that it’s key to not seek treatments based on cost alone. “There’s an ethical component in the preparation of the product and a skill in the injection which can only be found in high-quality offices and with highly trained and certified injectors.”

Does it hurt?

If needles make you nervous, know that Botox injections are done with a teeny, tiny one that’s roughly the same type used for insulin shots. “Think of the needles that are used to get blood drawn—those are massive compared to the needles used for Botox,” says Dr. Rabach. “These are very minor. If you’re doing this for cosmetic use, it should be comfortable and pleasant.”

I got Botox with Dr. Rabach, who held a very small vibrating tool near the spot that was being injected, which distracted my body from feeling the needle. As I clenched before my first injection, two seconds later, she had already finished putting the Botox into the left side of my face before I could even feel it. It’s also common to get ice packs before and after the procedure to help slightly numb the area, which will again make the experience pretty comfortable (though everyone is different).

How long does it take to work?

The first thing you’ll notice immediately after Botox injections are little bumps and dots of blood that look just like mosquito bites. These go away in 20 minutes to half an hour. But you won’t notice the skin-smoothing effects between three to five days (and up to two weeks). “Cosmetic effects are not immediate, and it’s not one and done,” says Dr. Engelman.

Does it make you look really different?

Botox smooths your skin, but it’s not going to fundamentally change your face and make you look like an Instagram filter  (especially if you’re going to a responsible injector, who’s giving you a small dose). “Your skin is going to look smoother, but you’re going to look like yourself, just more refreshed,” says Dr. Rabach. In my experience, I simply looked more awake, and my skin looked much smoother all over.

Is it permanent?

Ugh, no. Over time, Botox is metabolized by the body, and one treatment really only lasts between three to five months on average; however, there are a number of factors that can cause that to vary. “It depends on the individual, and how many units are injected, how the person’s metabolism is, and how often you’re vigorously exercising,” says Dr. Rabach.

What happens after a Botox treatment?

There’s no downtime after Botox. Dermatologists advise you to avoid excessive sweating or exercise for at least 24 hours post-treatment (the boost in circulation can spread the toxin to unwanted areas within the body), but you can continue your regular skin-care routine. It’s also key to avoid touching your face where you had the injections so that the Botox can properly settle, and avoid too much sun exposure, as it can encourage bruising. Other than that, you’re good to go.

Chemical peel at home for hyperpigmentation

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If you’ve ever been hesitant to reach for a chemical exfoliant to help fade unwanted hyperpigmentation, there’s a good reason. “In general, chemical peels are intentionally irritating and not essential to balanced skin, unless indicated otherwise by a board-certified dermatologist for things like acne vulgaris or melasma,” dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur tells Elite Daily, adding, “Self-directed treatment is rife with overdoing it.” When needed, the best at-home chemical peels for hyperpigmentation contain a lower concentration of chemical exfoliants to lessen the chance of irritation. “If you’ve ever experienced hyperpigmentation, as I have in my 20s from patches of melasma on my upper lip and face, you want to do anything bionic to remove it,” Dr. Marmur says of her own experience. “But slow and steady is the only way to conquer hyperpigmentation, so be patient,” she advises, while stressing the importance of checking in with your dermatologist before using any at-home chemical exfoliants.

In addition to taking things slow and consulting with a professional, Dr. Marmur advises that it’s best not to exceed a concentration of 5% of the active ingredient in question. “Mandelic acid and tranexamic acid tend to be slow and steady for hyperpigmentation treatment at home, along with proper sun protection and LED green light,” shares Dr. Marmur. She also adds that other AHAs and BHAs, like glycolic acid and salicylic acid, are popular when it comes to at-home chemical treatments for hyperpigmentation.

As for the delivery method, Dr. Marmur confirms that mechanical exfoliants, like scrubs, should be avoided because they can worsen hyperpigmentation. “Liquids and serums applied and massaged into the skin with your fingertips work much better than pads, which increase waste,” she adds. “Never brush, scrub, or rub chemical exfoliants on skin that’s prone to excess pigment because this will backfire and put you back at square one,” she stresses. “Baby your skin, protect it well, and let your derm help you in your journey against hyperpigmentation.”

Keep scrolling to shop five of the best at-home treatments for hyperpigmentation, from serums to cleansers to face masks.

1. Best Tranexamic Acid Serum For Hyperpigmentation

Naturium Tranexamic Topical Acid 5%

AMAZON

Naturium Tranexamic Topical Acid 5%

$20SEE ON AMAZON

Tranexamic acid is typically a well-tolerated ingredient when it comes to fading unwanted hyperpigmentation and preventing new dark spots from forming. Naturium’s Tranexamic Topical Acid 5% gives you a potent concentration of the active ingredient, while other effective brightening ingredients like kojic acid, licorice root extract, and niacinamide bolster the acid’s skin-evening effects. This combination makes it one of the best hyperpigmentation treatments you can buy for $20 — while plenty of hydrating ingredients like glycerin, panthenol, and hyaluronic acid prevent it from drying out your skin.

2. Best AHA Serum For Hyperpigmentation

Honest Beauty Resurfacing Serum

AMAZON

Honest Beauty Resurfacing Serum

$23SEE ON AMAZON

Honest Beauty’s Resurfacing Serum combines three AHAs to target unwanted hyperpigmentation: Glycolic, lactic, and citric acids. Additional ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and aloe leaf juice all work to soothe and hydrate skin, while niacinamide offers double the skin care benefits by helping to treat hyperpigmentation and calm inflammation. At less than $25, it’s a great entry point into the world of chemical exfoliants. For best results, use it at night and don’t forget to apply sunscreen the next morning (as is the case with any AHA product).

3. Best BHA Exfoliant For Hyperpigmentation

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

AMAZON

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

$32SEE ON AMAZON

Among the 40,000-plus five-star ratings on Amazon, you’ll find dozens of reviews that specifically mention how helpful Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is when it comes to treating hyperpigmentation. The tried-and-true formula uses a 2% concentration of salicylic acid to clear out congested pores and exfoliate dead skin cells, while green tea extract soothes and provides antioxidant protection. Because of salicylic acid’s pore-clearing benefits, this is a great choice if your primary skin concerns are hyperpigmentation and acne or blackheads.

Though it doesn’t have nearly as many Amazon reviews, the brand’s Discoloration Repair Serum, which features tranexamic acid, niacinamide, and bakuchiol extract, is another solid pick for treating hyperpigmentation.

4. Best Exfoliating Mask For Hyperpigmentation

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength Exfoliating Mask

AMAZON

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength Exfoliating Mask

$49SEE ON AMAZON

If you like to use the occasional skin-pampering mask, Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel Full Strength Exfoliating Mask gives you a powerful chemical treatment in just 10 minutes. AHAs in the form of malic, glycolic, and lactic acids combine with the BHA salicylic acid to slough away dead skin cells and even out your skin. Bakuchiol and vitamin C give you more skin-brightening benefits, and aloe leaf juice, grape seed extract, and glycerin help with hydration. Though the mask is formulated with mostly naturally derived ingredients (many of which are organic), it still has the potential to cause irritation. Because of this, the brand suggests doing a patch test on your arm before putting the mask on your face.

5. Best Splurge

Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment

AMAZON

Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment

$85SEE ON AMAZON

This multi-purpose treatment can be used as a leave-on serum morning or night, or as a 15-minute mask that you rinse off if your skin is hyper-sensitive. Sunday Riley’s Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment is a cult favorite for its ability to improve the clarity and texture of your skin, while still being pretty gentle. In addition to the AHA lactic acid, licorice root extract works to brighten skin and fade unwanted hyperpigmentation, while soothing and hydrating ingredients like squalane, arnica, aloe leaf, and prickly pear keep the formula balanced. It offers both immediate and long-term benefits, and has a lightweight texture that layers under other products beautifully.

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Dermalogica Daily Glycolic Cleanser

AMAZON

Dermalogica Daily Glycolic Cleanser

$35SEE ON AMAZON

Though not exactly a peel, a cleanser with chemical exfoliants, like Dermalogica’s Daily Glycolic Cleanser, is a great place to start because the active ingredient gets rinsed right off (as opposed to treatments and serums that are left on and therefore pose a higher risk of irritation). This cleanser uses glycolic acid to exfoliate away dead skin cells, the buildup of which can contribute to hyperpigmentation. You’ll also find jojoba seed oil, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, calendula, and allantoin in here to help condition skin and calm any signs of irritation.

At home chemical peel vs professional

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Dullness. Dark spots. Acne scars. Fine lines and wrinkles. What do all of these skin concerns have in common? They can be treated with medical-grade chemical peels. Depending on your aesthetic goals and needs, chemical peels are available in an array of potencies and have the ability to resurface the skin for more even tone and texture. For those looking to achieve glow-inducing results at-home, less concentrated chemical exfoliators can slough away dead skin cells for a more radiant complexion. Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about in-office chemical peels and at-home chemical exfoliators.

What Is a Chemical Peel?

Professional chemical peels employ chemical solutions of varying strengths to target and remove the outer layers of the skin. “The benefits of a medical-grade chemical peel are endless,” says Lizette Ludwig, RN, an aesthetic nurse and injector in southern California. As she explains, they are a good option for anyone looking to address skin imperfections. “Chemical peels allow you to remove dead skin cells and address fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone in a safe and effective way,” she shares.

Professional chemical peels can be broken down into three categories:

  1. Superficial chemical peels
  2. Medium chemical peels
  3. Deep chemical peels

These classifications are based on the potency of the peels and the ingredients used in the chemical solution. “Ingredients found in medical-grade peels usually include alpha hydroxy acids (lactic acid and glycolic acid), beta hydroxy acids (salicylic acid), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and phenol,” Ludwig says. Below is an overview of each:

SUPERFICIAL CHEMICAL PEELS

The lightest and gentlest of the group, superficial chemical peels remove the epidermis (i.e. top layer of the skin) and are generally tolerated by most skin tones. “These peels are usually made from alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids, but they can also include enzymes or other natural exfoliating ingredients,” Ludwig notes. Because they focus on the epidermis, superficial peels provide a slight improvement to the skin and usually require a series of treatments for best results. Some mild dryness and flaking are a part of the healing process and can last for three to five days.

MEDIUM CHEMICAL PEELS

Falling in the middle of the scale, medium-depth chemical peels produce a more dramatic result in a single treatment than light peels. “Skin will be significantly smoother with an even tone and blemishes removed,” Ludwig says. This type of peel usually contains trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to penetrate the skin and remove layers below the epidermis. Peeling, redness, and swelling are all to be expected post-peel and can last three to 10 days.

DEEP CHEMICAL PEELS

Needless to say, deep chemical peels are the strongest and most invasive. They usually involve a potent formulation of TCA or phenol that can penetrate the deep layer of the dermis. As Ludwig shares, the depth allows them to produce “drastically smoother” and “youthful-looking” skin. “Deep peels can achieve amazing results for sun damage, scarring, and wrinkles,” she says. Due to their strength, however, deep peels can be painful and healing requires patience. Several weeks of downtime is needed, and full recovery could take weeks or months.

Professional Chemical Peel Treatments

Medical-grade chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the face and (possibly) neck. The chemical solution is either applied lightly or rubbed more vigorously onto the skin using a gauze pad. During the application, you may experience a slight tingling (superficial to medium peels) or burning (deep peels). “I like to give my clients a mini fan which helps the tingling or burning sensation,” Ludwig shares. With certain types of chemical peels, the solution may need to be ‘neutralized’ after the appropriate time has elapsed, though most chemicals neutralize on their own.

Regardless of what strength peel you choose, patients are usually sent home with post-care instructions. “Make sure to discuss with your provider how to care for your skin after the peel,” Ludwig says. Even for the lightest peel, you’ll likely need to make changes to your skincare routine for a few days pre- and post-treatment. If you’re planning on a medium or deep peel, antiviral medication may be prescribed beforehand.

CHEMICAL PEEL SAFETY

Professional chemical peels are meant to be performed in a doctor’s office or a medical spa by a licensed skincare professional. As we’ve reported, the DIY dermatology trend that’s fueled by social media and social distancing had led some to try medical-grade treatments (like TCA peels) at home with dangerous and damaging results. “Beware of chemical solutions sold online, as they are usually sold illegally and can cause permanent damage to your skin,” Ludwig warns. “Chemical peels should be applied by a licensed professional.”

Professional Chemical Peels vs. At-Home Chemical Exfoliators

The main difference between a superficial in-office peel and chemical exfoliators or treatments you can find at, say Sephora, is that at-home solutions do not provide the same chemical concentration as their professional counterparts. While similar active ingredients may be found in both versions, the potency is quite different. As Ludwig explains, at-home percentages of glycolic acid, for example, max out around 10 percent, while medical-grade glycolic acids (applied by a professional) can reach as high as 70 percent.

At-Home Chemical Exfoliators

If you’re dealing with mild cases of uneven skin tone and texture or wish to maintain your complexion in between in-office appointments, at-home chemical exfoliators and enzyme treatments can impart a subtle and sustained glow with regular use.

When it comes to choosing a treatment, Ludwig suggests reading the label closely. “I recommend looking for brightening ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, vitamin C, and active enzymes such as pumpkin, papaya, and pineapple,” she explains. “Every ingredient serves a purpose, so do your homework when it comes to the ingredient list.”

CHEMICAL EXFOLIATOR SAFETY & RESULTS

While your skin likely won’t peel or flake the way it will after a professional treatment, irritation is possible with at-home exfoliating products. “Read all instructions carefully when it comes to at-home peels,” Ludwig cautions. “Most will ask you to wash it off after 10 to 15 minutes of application and gradually build up to leaving it on overnight.”

Another way to ensure your skin ends up radiant, not ruddy? “I recommend skipping out on ingredients like retinol and other active serums on days you choose to exfoliate at home,” Ludwig shares. She suggests exfoliating one to two times per week and alternating days with any actives already in your routine. “Less is more, in my opinion,” she says. “Over-exfoliating can disrupt our skin’s microbiome.”

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