Discomfort and beauty are always in tension, so we teach ourselves the algorithm of: Is it worth it? We learn the calculations between ouch and better skin (or flatter abs, or a firmer jawline, or…). But you can’t do the math without knowing what kind of pain you’re in for. We went to the people who know best—the patients—to find out exactly what it feels like to be on the receiving end of all those needles, blades, and lasers.
*Pain Meter runs on a scale of 1-5.
BOTOX®: An injectable neurotoxin used to temporarily paralyze facial muscles and smooth wrinkles.
The Patient Report: “I get it every four to six months to erase the etched lines on my forehead. Most doctors numb the area first with ice. I dislike that more than the needle—it’s like a brain freeze. Each injection is quick; usually I don’t feel a thing. But the area just underneath the eyebrows really hurts. Like a bee sting. The pain goes away immediately, though. Sometimes I get bruises that last a few days, but I can cover them with concealer. After a week or so, my brow feels a little heavy, like when your hand falls asleep. That’s right around the time people start telling me I look really relaxed, as if I was just on vacation.” —Andrea Modlin, 41
The Doctor’s Note: “I put a little pressure on each injection site right afterward to help with the sting and get very anxious people to do Lamaze-style breathing. The muscles start to feel kind of stiff, once the BOTOX® kicks in, about five days later. You get used to that after a week or so, and soon you almost forget how to frown. Research even shows that you’ll actually feel happier.” —Ava Shamban, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills
The Pain Meter: 1
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