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'I Tried Botox for the First Time at 29 -- Here's What It Was Like'

This is what went down when I went under the needle
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Aside from the typical teen acne, I've luckily never dealt with any major skin issues. I have good genes (thanks, Mom!) and my career as a beauty editor to thank for that. I've been able to try the latest and greatest skin-care products, plus pick the brains of top dermatologists (#werkperks).

Ever since I turned 29 a few months ago, though, I've started stressing over the fact that wrinkles could be just around the corner. During my years in the beauty industry, I've learned that lines often appear in women's early 30s -- and sometimes even sooner than that.

While it makes me happy that the beauty industry is moving away from being so obsessed with age (Allure banned the term "anti-aging" over the summer and CoverGirl appointed 69-year-old Maye Musk as their latest spokesperson), I'm sure I'm not the only woman who still feels pressure to look young. Maybe it's because it's been ingrained in me for so long that youth = beautiful. Whatever the case, I often find myself at the mirror searching for wrinkles or new gray hairs.

So in an effort to fight the man (the man being time), I recently decided to have a little work done. No, I didn't go under the knife -- I went under the needle. Yep, I got Botox -- and I lived to tell the tale.

Image Courtesy Christina Heiser

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What Is Botox?
ICYMI, Botox is an FDA-approved cosmetic injectable that can improve the appearance of wrinkles between the eyebrows and around the sides of eyes (aka crow's feet). It turns out that Botox is actually made from a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum -- the same toxin that just so happens to cause botulism, a type of food poisoning that can lead to death. No biggie, right?

In addition to temporarily smoothing fine lines, Botox has a whole slew of other uses -- it can curb underarm sweating, stop uncontrollable blinking, help ease chronic migraines and even nix overactive bladder. It's a miracle drug, to say the least.

Image via Getty

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Why I Decided to Try Botox
As a beauty editor, I've had plenty of opportunities to get Botox -- but in the past I always turned them down. For starters, I'm in my 20s (well, at least for a few more months) and don't really have any visible lines on my face. In fact, strangers are pretty shocked when I tell them my age -- they usually think I'm still in college! Plus, I've seen my fair share of celebrities with frozen faces, which has always made me hesitant about trying any kind of injectable. Oh, and needles freak me the eff out.

But then I met Dr. Michelle Henry, a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon in New York City. She told me that I could have something docs refer to as "baby Botox." Basically, this is the teeniest amount of Botox you could have injected into your face to soften lines. She assured me that the end result would be natural -- no one would even know I had any work done. OK, I was in.

Image Courtesy Christina Heiser

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What Getting Botox Is Actually Like
Once I agreed to be injected, I thought, "What the heck am I getting myself into?" Was I really going to allow a dermatologist to stick multiple needles into my forehead? Dr. Henry explained to me that she'd be using the tiniest needles on the market, which definitely eased some of my anxiety. For real: I was imagining big flu shot needles.

I barely felt the first shot in my forehead -- it was like a pinch. After injecting my forehead in four different spots, Dr. Henry then moved on to the sides of my eyes. These injections were more uncomfortable than the ones I had in my forehead, but the pain subsided after a few seconds.

Almost as soon as she began, Dr. Henry was done. She gave me an ice pack to put over my face to help prevent any swelling. I had puffy pink splotches on my forehead, but they went away in about an hour -- and then I was left with zero evidence that I had had Botox. Dr. Henry told me to avoid exercising for 24 hours post-procedure, because the blood could rush to the injection sites and cause bruising. She didn't have to tell me to skip the gym twice.

Image via Getty

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My Initial Thoughts
I knew I wouldn't notice any immediate results post-Botox -- Dr. Henry said that it could take up to a week for it to kick in. Although I couldn't see any differences in the way my face looked in those first few days, my forehead did feel heavy and stiff. At around day five, I noticed a subtle change. If I had to pick a word to describe how I looked, it would be refreshed. While I couldn't scrunch my forehead, my face didn't look frozen -- and I did notice that my forehead was very smooth.

In the days after the procedure, I couldn't help but tell people about my Botox. I wanted their affirmation that my face wasn't frozen, "Real Housewives" style. Everyone I talked to was curious about the process and said that I looked exactly like I did before -- which I was happy about!

Image Courtesy Christina Heiser

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