Anti- Aging Botox at Fashion Week

Before BotoxI can’t wear  4 inch high  cage shoes, don’t  have access to the Conde Nast closets  and the last time I wore size 2, I was two.  So when you are over 50, getting ready  for Fashion Week means  turning to science rather than shopping.  To give me a little extra confidence, I asked my wonderful Dr Ellen for her amazing “baby botox”.  These are smaller than usual  amounts of Botox  to  just give a little extra  anti-aging smoothness, erasing the crows feet around my eyes.  It actually takes  a few weeks for the full effect to appear–  erasing the years of worry lines and wrinkles  that  makes  the whole face look  happier and  fresher.  I also  use a bit of Botox to relax aging neck   muscles under the chin for a smoother jawline.

Bad News About Botox?

There has been some negative  press about Botox, primarily from overuse.  The  glassy overstretched blank look that  give Botox a bad  rep is due to incorrect  placement   and  too frequent injections.  The original  results are so delightful that there is tendancy to want to do it more frequently.  In less skilled hands, even small amounts of Botox can  inhibit  muscles needed  for  normal expression.   I think the best way to  get a good  “injector” as they are called, is from personal recommendations.   

After BotoxThe effecs of Botox lasts about 3-4 months.  I reserve my  fix of Botox for  big occasions– weddings,  TV  appearance, Fashion Week,  and that special hell, school reunions.  This is   about once a year and I know it will give me  more  impact for  my money than a  great new dress or shoes.  They will  go out of fashion, but a smooth fresh face is always in style.

FYI:  Botox is actually the trade name for the first approved  tktk.  Dysport  which approaved a few yers later is an equally good option.  Some people who do not  respond to Botox  may get better results with Dysport.  


Botox vs Fauxtox

Crows feet before tretmentThere are literally hundreds of exhibits  at the International Beauty Show, so when I saw that one small booth was always three deep with visitors, I had to check it out.  I managed to wiggle my way to the front ( I know, I’m a New Yorker)  to see a table  selling just one item– a small pink bottle called Instantly Ageless.  The  posters and brochures  showed impressive before and after photos.     Application of a few drops on the face promised  instantly ( albeit  temporarily)  to erase crows feet and laugh lines.

A quick scan of  the ingredients showed that Instantly Ageless contained Hexapeptide, aka ‘fauxtox” a protein that  may  produce Botox like effects  in a product spread on  rather than injected into the skin.  Instantly Ageless also contains silicates  which  can form a  film much in the way an egg white mask tightens the skin.

Directions were  super simple.  Apply a moisturzer to the  skin and let  it dry throughly. Then pat ( not rub) a half drop of of Instantly Ageless to targeted areas. Allow it to dry  and stay still and expressionless for 1-2 minutes.  Then top with  an oil-free foundation. So far, so good. The serum-like fluid tingled a bit as I applied it to my skin and I could feel my skin tightening– not uncomfortable, but  definately tighter.

Did Instantly Ageless Work?

So did it deliver as promised?    The photo on top left is my before pix that  highlights a nice deep crows foot at the corner of my eye.  The photo on the right  was treated to a drop of Instantly Ageless.  Even in this less than perfect  shot, you can see that the  little line is shorter and less pronounced.   I also felt  that it made my eyes look a bit fresherCrows foot after treatment and  the dark circles  less apparent.  I think that, IRL, the improvements  were more apparent. The  changes last for just a few hours  and is an affordable option  when you want to crank it up for a event– eg high school reunion, blind date or job interview.

Instantly Ageless did not give me the same dramatic results  that I saw in the brochure, but I definately saw a difference.  It also did not give me the same degree of improvement as  Botox, but at $40 a bottle, it is a safe, affordable and effective addition to my beauty tool kit.

Botox or Laser- Which is Better?

Q&A2Question:  My Mom  reads your blog and  has been talking about getting Botox  or the “lunchtime laser.”  I want to get  her a treatment for Christmas but don’t know which one to choose.  I can afford  only one  and I want  her to see the biggest results.

Answer:  What a great question and you’re a great daughter! Both  Botox and  Intense Pulsed Light  laser  ( also known as the lunchtime laser) will make a major  difference in her appearance.  The choice depends on the condition of her skin.  If she has spent many  happy hours in the sun, its likely that she has lots of freckles and dark patches.  An Intense Pulsed Light treatment  will literally vaporize this aging pigmentation and leave her skin younger and refreshed.  The results are permanent but brown spots will return if she goes out without sun protection.  If she was not a beach bunny and  her skin  has   lines along the cheeks, forehead and  and around the eyes, Botox will erase them– for about 3-4 months.   Because lasers leave the skin extra sensitive for a few days,  you can also give her a stocking  filled with a gentle cleanser ( eg Cetaphil), sunscreen ( Neutrogena for Sensitive Skin)  and soothing water spray ( eg Dermalogica UltraCalming Spray).

The Right Tool  at the Right Time

Which anti-aging tool to use  and when to use it  was the fundamental question   behind the No-Nonsense Beauty Blog.   Initially, I planned to start with  Retin A  to reve up the circulation and skin growth, add Botox to reduce lines and polish things up by removing  large freckles and age spots with a laser.  But  as it turned out,  lasers work best on darkest spots, so I started the anti-aging journey  by removing them with a   traditional laser and then continuing with  my  plan. 

But in the past  few years since I started, there have been so  many new options  that  my new plan has become  an exploration  of new forms of Retin A, new lasers and new machines that  deal  both singly and in combination with a slew of aging issues.  At a recent dermatology  conference at Mount Sinai, the experts  came up with an effective anti-aging game plan  that started with   gentle lasers like Intense Pulsed Light  to brighten and Botox to smooth the skin.

I’d love to hear which treatment you chose.  Happy holidays!

Q & A– Botox No-Shows

Question:  Why doesn’t Botox  work  for  me?  After an injection I see a difference  for a week or two, then I’m back to where I started.

Answer:  Such an appropriate question since  this year is the 10th anniversary of the FDA approval of Botox– the  trade name  for the neurotoxin that is arguably America’s favorite anti-aging tool.  When  properly injected, it relaxes the facial muscles including frown lines on the forehead and crow’s feet around the eyes.  Botox can also make changes to the face that makes  the eyes look wider and raise the eyebrows.

The key word here is “properly”.  The face has 40 different muscles- some move up and some  move downward.  The injector  has to know where to position the shots to get the desired impact.

According to Fifth Avenue cosmetic surgeon Dr Paula Moynahan, there are  several possibilities to  your lack of response. 

1.  The injector  is not hitting the right spots on the face.  Botox needs to be in the area of a specific muscle in order to relax a targeted  wrinkle or lift a sagging spot.

2. If you were been tempted by an offer of a discount Botox treatment, it may have been over diluted.  This could make the injection less effective with little  or short lived results.  The  Botox arrives as a hard film at the bottom of a bottle.  The physician adds liquid to the bottle to reconstitute the neurotoxin.  To save  money, an injector may add  extra  dilutant to make the dose go further.

3.  And then there are the people  who are genuinely resistant to Botox.  FYI Botox is actually a brand name and there  is a second FDA approved Botulism A  product called Dysport.  Dr Moynahan  suggests that people who are resistant to Botox  may have  different results with Dysport.

Keep in mind that as good as it is, Botox cannot reverse all the natural and environmental signs of aging.  It needs to be a part of an anti-aging  game plan that includes Retin A and IPL to clarify the skin’s surface, lasers to erase freckles and facial hair and Zoom tooth whitening trays.  And to preserve all these anti-aging  efforts, never  leave the house without a sunscreen.

No-Nonsense on the Radio

True story.  I was at  a blogger meetup at the HBA, a huge beauty expo, when I was introduced to a very pretty young woman with  a popular  blog called Aging Backwards.  I was a bit put off. What  would this young woman know about aging?  When she told me her age I was shocked– and impressed.  I decided that  if she could look like that at her age she certainly   knew her stuff. Her blog is now part of the Fashion Flash group and Jackie  also  co-hosts the  The Ageless Sisters, a well-known radio show with Cynthia Rowland —  and this week I was   delighted to be a guest.  The Ageless Sisters  asked such  great  questions that I   uploaded  the full interview to share it with you.  From Invisalign to the new BB creams to the No-Nonsense  beauty diet,  The Ageless Sisters steered   the conversation into  useful  fact-  filled areas. 

  In a short interview  I had to boil down my  beauty philosophy to four key points. Since   I can spend  an hour  discussing the differences between  AHA’s like glycolic acid and Retin A, time limitations made me focus on what is really important.  Compressing  a file of info into  the top four tips is a great way of getting to the most critical facts for  just about any subject.  From buying a car to writing a resume to choosing the name of a baby,  selecting the four  top  ideas is a relevant way  to cope  in a busy world with a short attention span.    Let me know what  you think.

The Ageless Sisters also presented at Beauty Bash last October, demonstrating Facial Magic, their exercise routinue  to firm up the skin.   It was  amazing to see the entire audience  trying out the exercises  that Cynthia and Jackie  were showing on the stage.   I could genuinely feel  the  muscles  under my jaw working to build up contours. And FYI,  without Botox or fillers their skin is smooth, taut and free of lines and wrinkles. 

Click here to hear the Ageless Sisters Radio Extravaganza

Microdermabrasion or Botox– Which is Better?

Question–  In a few months I’m turning 50.  After half a century, my skin is looking tired and I want to give myself a birthday present.  Which would be better, microdermabrasion or Botox?  You seem to really like both of them.

Answer– Happy birthday!  I do like both  microdermsabrasion and Botox, but  they are very different  anti-aging tools and  deal with different  problems.  Microdermabrasion  takes of the top dead layer  of skin cells to leave the skin smoother, brighter and softer.  In addition, removing these old cells actually stimulates the lower levels to grow.  Researchers have noticed that  mens’ skin seems to age more slowly than women’s– and they believe that part of the reason is the daily  shave which encourages the growth of  fresh new skin every day.

Botox injections at  problem areas  can erase fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the eyes and  forehead.   It can change contours of the face, while microdermabrasion changes the texture and color of the surface of the skin.  The two tools actually work very well together– microdermabrasion  to improve the texture and color of the skin and Botox  to deal with contours that are a half a century old. 

Your question actually gets to the heart of my anti-aging journey–  which tools and techniques  work and how to combine them to get the best possible results.  I decided to start on the dark spots and splotches  from sun damage- first with Retin A and then with microdermabrasion.  When the skin’s surface looked smooth and fresh,  I added Botox to erase the lines at the sides of  my mouth and around my eyes.  You can see these results  on  the No-Nonsense Beauty BLog Facebook Page.  Just click on the Facebook  icon.

Microdermabrasion, as  much as I love the immediate results, lasts only a few days.  For long lasting  results, I suggest starting with a low dose   nightly Retin A  cream.  You should see very nice results within six weeks.  The skin will  look fresher and clearer.  Then  try the Botox to deal with the after effects  fifty years of laughing and talking.  And here’s to  another wonderful fifty years.

Question: What can I do to look fabulous in less than a week?

Question: I just found out that my old crush is coming to the holiday office party this week. I want to look  amazing.  Would you suggest  IPL or Botox?

Answer:  Both  procedures are very effective, but I would be concerned about doing them right before an important event, especially if its the first time you’ve had them.  Although its called the “lunchtime laser”, IPL can leave red splotches and scabs  that will take a few days to heal.  Botox injections can  hit  a little blood vessels and produce  pretty big bruises.   Rather than doing a full court  press on your face,  If you need to look amazing immediately I would start with  a home microdermabrasion kit  from Clarisonic, DDF, or Neutrogena.  They will polish and refresh your skin and make an incredible difference, especially  if  its not something  you do everyday.    Then  make certain that  you hair is freshly colored, cut and blown  out professionally for the  night of the party. And  I trick I learned  in college,  stop by a cosmetics counter and get a professional makeup.  There’s no charge, but I always  buy a lipstick or shadow since  most stylists work on commission.

If you really want to own the room, make sure  your outfit is new and reflects  current  style trends.  For really great holiday fashion tips check out  Fabulous After 40.

Its Faux Tox Friday!

Question:  Do  Botox  creams really work?

Answer:  Its sounds  like  a back room  beauty product– Botox in a gel that  you simply  apply  to the skin.  But its really happening.  A true  Botox  topical gel is  deep in clinical trials and results are very encouraging.   The gel is applied to  the skin  by a physician and delievers about 25% of the impact of a Botox injection.  According to Reverance Therapeutics which is developing the gel, more than 200 patients have been treated with it and it  has been shown to be both safe and effective.   It will be approved for treatment of wrinkles around the eyes and offer  a reasonable  option for those of  us who cringe at  injections. I’ve heard that the price  for applications will be  significantly less than true Botox, about $150/treatment. 

However keep in mind  that  you won’t be able to use it at home.  Every application will have to be done in a doctor’s office.  Its still in clinical trials and probably won’t be available for another year.  But its very nice to know its coming.

Currently there are a number of  existing  products that claim to  have Botox-like effects.  They often contain  ingredients  like argireline  which  is supposed to inhibit a unique protein in the cells that sends  signals from nerves to muscles.  At least that’s the way its supposed to work.  Most experts  are not impressed with the results and I am going to wait  for the real thing.