Is it wrong to care about your appearance right now?
Short answer: no. Part of caring for yourself is paying attention to the way you look, and for some people regular injectable treatments like Botox, dermal fillers and professional skin rejuvenation treatments are part of the routine. But as we stay home to help stop the spread of COVID-19, beauty-enhancing treatments and sought-out non-surgical procedures are on indefinite hold.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Americans received more than seven million neurotoxin injections (like Botox), and more than 2½ million filler injections in 2018, spending US$16.5 billion on cosmetic surgery. Equivalent data for Canada is not available, but global beauty trends clearly indicate that many people consider injectables like Botox and dermal fillers to be part of their regular maintenance regimen.
For those who anticipate missing their annual injectable treatment while in lockdown, is there some magic alternative you can do at home that will replicate professional results? “In short, no,” according to Dr. Mike Roskies, a plastic surgeon and the medical director of SpaMedica in Toronto. “The long answer is: preparation before lockdown would have been the key.”
Botox usually lasts three to six months after treatment, but regular Botox treatments can affect how long the result lasts. In general, you will need fewer Botox treatments over time to get the same smooth forehead and crow’s-feet-free eyes.
How soon your Botox wears off comes down to a number of variables, and everyone will experience this differently. Dr. Roskies recommends starting early (before the wrinkles start to show) and opting for smaller doses more frequently for more natural-looking results. He compares his smaller doses and good compliance theory to building more stamina by running a 10K every day rather than running a marathon just once.
If you haven’t been doing all that already, what canyou do during these unprecedented times to give your skin a helping hand? Dr. Roskies recommends that you keep your skin hydrated with plenty of water, fruits and vegetables; keep coffee and alcohol to a minimum; and maintain your skincare regimen.
“The best thing you can do if you can’t get in for treatment is to start a good skincare regimen,” Dr. Roskies says. “Wrinkles are formed by the underlying muscle action [which neurotoxin will treat], but also by the skin losing collagen and elastin.”
“Also, UV sun damage accelerates skin aging, so sunblock is key,” says Dr. Roskies. He recommends that anyone over the age of 30 should use a retinoid that increases the collagen in skin. Noted.
The great rush back
If you do choose to go for a Botox touch-up when clinics begin to reopen, you’ll find it a very different experience from what it was before COVID-19 hit.
Masks, frequent sanitization and changes to booking procedures are just some of the things to expect from clinics when they are allowed to reopen, as they work to keep both their employees and customers safe. The changes and the rush of people looking to book an appointment will likely result in even more delays in securing an appointment.
“It’s true that cosmetic clinics will be very busy, but your face is worth waiting for,” says Dr. Roskies. “That said, treatment doesn’t take very long, and we will work hard to get everyone in!”
“My number one caution is to avoid the ‘bargain Botox’ offers from clinics looking to cash in on people suffering from withdrawal and looking for a quick fix. If they’re cutting prices significantly, they’re likely cutting on quality as well.”
While we wait for an end to this “physical distancing,” Dr. Roskies points out that clients can take advantage of the downtime by scheduling a virtual consult with their go-to clinic. Most clinics, including SpaMedica, are doing skincare consults and are even shipping skincare products directly to customers.
“Many are referring to this time as ‘The Big Reset,’ allowing us to slow down and reassess what matters to us most in life,” says Dr. Roskies. “For some, that means re-evaluating your career; for others, it means doing more meditation. I think the biggest benefit is that we will emerge a more self-loving, kind and happy society. And what’s more beautiful than that? Maybe adding in a little bit of Botox to make you look as great as you feel.… Now you’re ready to take on whatever life throws at you.”