I’ll be honest: I love the products I use for anti-aging skincare, but none of them have had the same impact as tox (Xeomin) and filler (Juvederm). At the bottom, I’ll go through the anti-aging treatments I get and anti-againg products, but first, let’s go through how I got here and what my experience was like.
Summer 2019 I decided that I had enough of the changes that were happening naturally with my skin. I hated the loss of volume I was seeing and the extra shadows. I was fine with the amount of wrinkles I had, but they were accelerating and I wanted to prevent them from getting worse. Also, I’ve always had acne, and wanted to try to improve that.
I did not like the idea of cosmetic procedures. The idea of using Botox and fillers still had negative connotations to me. I came up with a plan: I would invest in getting regular facials for a year and, if I still wanted more of a change, I would start looking into injections.
The Natural Approach
Facials are awesome. I started getting them in September 2019 and would get them on average every other month. I go to Bespoke Aesthetics and they use some great natural products.
I’m glad I went to a professional (someone who lives and breathes skin care) to work on my skin. I honestly didn’t know I had dry skin! Because I was always breaking out, I assumed I had combination or oily skin.
The first thing Jess explained to me was I needed to rebuild my moisture barrier. The products I was using to manage my acne were too harsh and had too many acids, which was destroying the natural moisture barrier that helped to protect my skin. Although I did break out more when I first switched products, my skin has greatly approved in all aspects: look, feel, and less acne.
But, after a year, I realized that the loss of volume wasn’t going to be able to be addressed by facials and topical products alone.
So, injections it is!
First Time with Botox (or Xeomin, or Dysport)
In October, I got my first Botox (actually Xeomin) and had a consultation with Erika at Moksha Aesthetics about fillers. We went over my concerns (loss of volume, shadows where they shouldn’t be and no shadows were I want them), and talked through options.
The best thing I had done was get 50 units (25 per side) in my masseter muscle (jaw). Hands down, I love that I did this. I clench and grind my teeth to the point I have almost no enamel left on the tops of my teeth. Night guards, in my mind, don’t really resolve the underlying cause of the grinding and clenching, and I wanted to see if I could get that.
My masseters were also huge from the constant clenching, making my face look even more square. Getting the injections has helped me not grind my teeth as severely at night (I wake up without that tightness in my jaw), and it has slimmed my face.
The tox works by not allowing your muscles to move. For jawline slimming, that means your masseters atrophy. There is some controversy about getting tox in the masseters, and although a recent study came out that shows limited bone loss in the short term, the TMJ community is not completely sold. When I was considering getting tox in my masseters, I listened to some people with negative experiences. It can be really bad for some people. Be cautious with your masseters because if they atrophy too much, you can end up looking skeletal. Time will tell if my face ends up looking like that, but my injector recommends it every 8 months and the real disaster story was getting it every 3 months.
I also had a little more than 50 units of Xeomin injected in my forehead, between my eyebrows, around my eyes, and a little around my lips. My injector is $15/unit for Botox and Xeomin, which is on the higher end. It cost me $1,500 for 100 units. You can see the progression of the Xeomin taking effect in my Instagram story highlights.
A month later, when I was back for my fillers, I also had some Dysport injected based on where I still had some movement. I’m much more frozen now.
Fillers: My First Time, How Much, and Cost
The idea behind filler for aging is mainly to lift your face. When we are younger, our face is in more of an upside down triangle, pointing down to our chin. As we age, our face kind of migrates down and becomes more of a triangle pointing up, with more volume in our jaw and jowls. This happens as our skin loses elasticity and collagen and we undergo age-related bone loss.
Fillers aim to change not only your cheekbones or lips, but how the light hits your face. Those shadows were responsible for making me look older more than the wrinkles, in my opinion. The goal of fillers is to change where the shadows are by restoring some volume.
I got about 1.2 vials in my left cheek and 0.7 vials in my right cheek to address my face having more bone loss on my left. The remaining ~0.1 vial was injected around my nose and in my jaw below my jowls. There was a special going on, so the cost of two Juvederm vials was $1,500 (normally $1,800).
For the first couple days, I was really worried about my cheeks. I thought they looked really sharp and not how I wanted to look. How I looked immediately wasn’t the final product, it takes some time for the filler to settle and swelling to go down. I had a light bruise on one cheek, but I also bruised from Botox the first time.
I want to take a slow-and-steady approach. I don’t want a dramatic change in one visit, I want to get some filler, wait for it to settle and see what it looks like, get some more, wait again, and so on. I have additional appointments scheduled every 3 months for this approach. Filler in general lasts about 2 years but after about 6 months you’ll start to see less of an effect as it absorbs.
At the end of the day, what matters more than the product you choose is the injector, especially with filler. Find an injector who has an aesthetic you like, because their technique will dictate your end results. There might be wildly different pricing, but you want someone skilled more than a deal—this is your face!
My Anti-Aging Skin Care Routine
Xeomin (Botox alternative) and Dysport: every 3 months
Filler (Juvederm): every 3 months for the next year, then frequency TBD
Danne Montague-King facials: every 2 months
Gentle cleanser (Osmosis MD Cleanse)
DMK Herb & Mineral Spray followed immediately by a moisturizer (currently searching for my favorite everyday one that doesn’t have too many acids)
Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser or, if skin is feeling drier, Osmosis MD Cleanse
After cleansing, I have a couple routines depending on how my skin is feeling:
- Osmosis MD Calm gentle retinal serum and DMK Beta Gel serum (I prefer DMK but Kosmetic Immunity Beta Glucan Recovery Serum is another option if you don’t have access to DMK)
- Zo Skin Health Complexion Renewal Pads, DMK Herb & Mineral Spray, and a heavier moisturizer
- Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish, DMK Herb & Mineral Spray, moisturizer, and a night mask (either Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate & Glow Dream Mask or Murad Night Fix Enzyme Treatment)
- Acne masque (Zo Skin Health Complexion Clearing Masque or DMK Acu Masque), DMK Herb & Mineral Spray, and moisturizer
I made some changes to my diet specifically for my skin. It’s hard to know if all of these help, but I wanted to list these. The biggest thing was rethinking my relationship with fats and focusing of fats with essential fatty acids.
- Fish Oil supplement (I get mine from Costco)
- Vitamin E Oil supplement (Costco here too!)
- Avoiding deep fried foods or foods with a lot of processed oils
- Avoiding processed foods marketed as “low fat” (these generally mean you won’t be getting essential fatty acids from them, so it’s better to eat something else)
- Increasing intake of fish, olive oil, vegetables, and fruits
- Not going too overboard on dairy and sugar (I could never in a million years cut these out!)