Im not the kind of guy youd expect to see getting Botox.
Im only 32, and I dont 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 Ive held up reasonably well.
Yet here I am in a chair in a dermatologists exam room, watching as she marks potential trouble areasthe beginning of crows feet around my eyes and a barely-there crease along my foreheadwith 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 youll look as you age.
Where I Need Botox
Crows 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 preventwithout a little help.
Related: The Best Anti-Aging Products For Men
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, its about keeping up appearances.
After the doctor finishes dotting my face, she makes a dozen or so small injectionseach one a quick but relatively painless pinch. I take a nervous glance in the mirror. To my relief, theres 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. Its not like I look 18 againmore like Ive just awakened, thoroughly refreshed, from the greatest nap of my life.
After a few weeks, I notice the areas around the injection points dont move as much when I raise my eyebrows, but I still look naturalnot frozen or numb.
Ive seen unexpected benefits, too, like the fact that I sweat less from my forehead.
I cant say for sure if Id do it again. The cost is jarringa 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 whod expressed surprise when I told him texted me later that day. Could I, he asked, share the name of my doctor?