When I turned 27, I decided it was finally time to get rid of my forehead wrinkles. Those four moderate to severe lines had made themselves right at home across the center of my forehead, and became the centerpiece of every selfie I took. No matter how many serums I applied, chemical peels I sat through, or times I massaged my face with a dermaroller, they persisted. After two years, I finally got sick of looking at them.
So, less than a week from my birthday, I took my mission to the professionals at New York Dermatology Group in Manhattan. That’s where I sought out injectable wrinkle reducers, a temporary treatment that smooths the appearance of lines like these in areas like the crow’s feet, frown lines, and yes, those pesky forehead wrinkles.
Admittedly, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. Not only was I afraid that the injections would hurt, but I didn’t totally understand how the whole thing worked.
“It’s going to prevent your muscle fiber from firing,” explained North Carolina-based plastic surgeon Peter Capizzi, MD, when I asked him what would happen to me when I got injected. “It is a straightforward, procedure.”
He also warned me that I needed to set my expectations at the right level. Older, more etched-in wrinkles are more challenging to reduce. “If I inject [wrinkle reducer] in there, it’s not gonna be gone tomorrow,” Dr. Capizzi explained. “But it will diminish over time.”
“Temporarily diminished wrinkles” sounded great to me. Cut to the treatment chair, where Dr. Amy Perlmutter, MD began our session by walking me through exactly what was going to happen.
“It blocks the neurotransmitters that are stimulating muscle contractions — [the wrinkle reducer] actually blocks that action, so that’s why the muscle contraction decreases,” she said.”
She started the with the space between my eyebrows (my “elevens”). Next, she moved on to the forehead lines. She pricked me on the right side, then evened things out on the left. It didn’t hurt nearly as much as I had expected it would, though I held onto a stress ball for dear life throughout the treatment, just in case. Before I knew it, the procedure was over.
Immediately following the treatment, my forehead was swollen in the places where it had been pricked — it reminded me of what the inside of my arm looked like after an allergy test. After I iced it the area for five minutes, any evidence of the fact that I’d just had a series of injections in my face was gone. There was no bruising and I went about my day as if nothing had happened. (This isn’t the case for everyone, though! It’s important to note that your body may react differently to injectable wrinkle reducers than mine did. This is a medical procedure that warrants an in-depth conversation about potential side effects with an experienced provider. Talk to our concierge to find an injector in your area.)
The doctor told me it would take 5 – 7 days for me to begin seeing results, but the next day there was already a clear difference.
When I raised my eyebrows, my forehead didn’t wrinkle in the same way that it always had, and when I relaxed my face, there were no lines left behind. I had been nervous that I wouldn’t be able to show any expression at all (having a highly expressive face is how I ended up with so many deep wrinkles to begin with!), but was pleasantly surprised to find that my brows were able to show shock, disgust, and interest the same way they always had.
An unexpected perk of receiving wrinkle reducer treatments is that my makeup routine improved. And one more benefit in the aftermath of the injections? My friends have now started commenting “#foreheadgoals” on my Instagram photos, a title I am more than happy to have earned.
I’m now a week post-treatment, and in love with the results. In another week, I plan to go back for a follow-up so the doctor can check to make sure everything is even and settling nicely.
This may have been my first turn with an injectable wrinkle reducer, but I have to be honest: It definitely won’t be my last.
– Originally written by Zoe Weiner for Spotlyte