I Got Botox at 22—Here's Why I Don't Regret It

Botox isn't for everyone, but the effect it's had on my self-esteem has been life-changing.

Growing up, I struggled with low self-esteem. I spent a lot of money on makeup to mask what I disliked about my face—uneven skin tone, sparse brows, and severe cystic acne

In my early 20s, I became particularly unhappy with two newly-formed (but still deep-set) lines on my forehead, which I caked makeup onto to cover them up.

Looking back, I'm embarrassed that I once let myself get so worked up over these so-called imperfections. And I realize now that some of my insecurity was tied to anxiety and depression

I was so unhappy with those "flaws" that I was uncomfortable looking in mirrors. I would blow off social engagements if I thought I needed to look better to attend. And when I did see friends, I was often so stressed about my appearance that I could barely enjoy myself.

Around that time, I began to research Botox. I read before-and-after stories on online message boards and spoke to family members who had given it a shot (no pun intended), some receiving the treatment regularly. 

And finally, after a long talk with my mom about the pros and cons, I decided to try the procedure once to see if it was for me. Here's what you should know about my experience with Botox—including how long they last, the cost, and the most common side effects.

How Botox Works

Botox was the first product developed, but there are many more products (called neuromodulators) available now that do the same thing. Some other brands include Dysport, Xeomin, Jeuveau, and Daxxify. These injections work by interrupting the nerve connections to the targeted muscles which then prevents the muscles from contracting and eliminates the lines or wrinkles. These products are most commonly used on the forehead and around the eyes to temporarily relax the facial muscles that cause wrinkles. The nerve connections regrow in four to six months so that's why the injections have to be repeated periodically.

Along with being used to treat wrinkles, Botox is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for numerous other conditions. Those include chronic migraine headaches, overactive bladder, crossed eyes, and eyelid spasms, to name a few.

Using Botox

After finding a healthcare provider I felt comfortable with, I made an appointment to have them inject 15 units of Botox into my forehead.

Hearing the first crunch of the needle breaking into my skin was a little scary. But after the lightheadedness passed, I didn't feel any pain or discomfort. The procedure I had spent months researching was over in less than five minutes. I left the healthcare provider's office with a red forehead, eager for the results to kick in.

Increased Self-Esteem

After the redness disappeared about 20 minutes later, I was left with smooth skin and a line-free forehead. The change was subtle, but it made a world of difference to my self-esteem. Keep in mind that results can often be seen in a day or two, but sometimes it takes as long as a week to 10 days to see results.

I was more confident in my appearance and no longer felt like I needed to tote a makeup bag full of products and brushes everywhere I went. And to my surprise, my face didn't feel "frozen" or look unnatural the way I had seen post-Botox patients portrayed on television. In fact, my face felt the same.

According to Jeanine Downie, MD, a New Jersey-based dermatologist, I'm not the only young fan of the procedure.

"Many of my patients start getting preventative Botox in their early 20s," mentioned Dr. Downie, adding that people with sun damage and early frown lines often ask about Botox. "I explain to patients that Botox is perfect for prevention because if you never get a deep line, you will never get a deep crease there." 

Based on 2017 data, Botox is the most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States.

How Much Does Botox Cost?

Botox isn't cheap—my session cost about $300—but the results lasted eight months. 

When my frown lines returned, I booked a second appointment. Like the first time, I was pleased with the results and happy to have access to such a quick treatment that made me feel better about my skin.

Are There Any Side Effects of Botox?

As a treatment, Botox is safe and effective with very few severe side effects when completed by a healthcare provider. But it's always important to know the risks. Some of the possible side effects related to injections in the forehead include:

  • Pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site
  • Headache 
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Neck pain
  • Crooked smile or drooling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Eye dryness or tearing
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Swollen or drooping eyelids
  • Allergic reactions, including itching, rash, red welts, wheezing, asthma symptoms, or dizziness

A Quick Review

I'm not saying that Botox is for everyone. And I don't think it's necessary to "fix" perceived flaws. 

I realize that some people may judge me for undergoing a cosmetic procedure like this at a young age. But I don't regret my decision to make a change for the sake of my happiness. As someone who has struggled to face the mirror, Botox has helped me finally stop obsessing over my appearance and feel more comfortable in my skin.

Was this page helpful?
4 Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Sundaram H, Signorini M, Liew S, et al. Global Aesthetics Consensus: Botulinum Toxin Type A--Evidence-Based Review, Emerging Concepts, and Consensus Recommendations for Aesthetic Use, Including Updates on ComplicationsPlast Reconstr Surg. 2016;137(3):518e-529e. doi:10.1097/01.prs.0000475758.63709.23

  2. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. New statistics reveal the shape of plastic surgery.

  3. Witmanowski H, Błochowiak K. The whole truth about botulinum toxin - a reviewPostepy Dermatol Alergol. 2020;37(6):853-861. doi:10.5114/ada.2019.82795

  4. Food and Drug Administration. BOTOX® cosmetic (boe-tox) (onabotulinumtoxinA) for injection.

Related Articles