I'm sure many of you have heard of Botox treatments and how they can help reduce your wrinkles, but how many of you know that you can use Botox to get a smaller face shape?
Uh huh, that's right! You can use Botox to get the much-desired V-shaped face! Of course, you can also go under the knife and do the "bone-shaving" operation to make your face smaller, but I've heard that that's freaking painful, and honestly, most of us do not have the time to take months off work for the surgery and downtime involved. (And most of us definitely do not want our colleagues gossiping about what surgery you went for.)
So it seemed pretty obvious to me that Botox was the best way to do it. Sure it wears off after about 4-6 months (some up to 8 months or even a year), but it doesn't involve anyone cutting you up and you possibly ending up with a face shape you don't like permanently.
I've had many friends ask me about this, and since there are so many curious folks who wish to get this done, I thought I'd share my experience through a little FAQ. My experience was with Dr Zhang Yijun of The Face Aesthetic Clinic, and thanks to him, the entire process was fuss-free, and pretty much painless. =D
What is Botox?
Okay some dry background, but you might want to know what exactly is going into your body. I've read about so many fears with regard to Botox injections, and how it might be harmful to your body. Botox is short form for Botulinum Toxin, a neurotoxic protein produced by a kind of bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum. Wait, TOXIC??? Will it kill me???
Yes, possibly, if you are using it in excessive doses and not administered by a medical practitioner.
So How Does It Work?
This Botulinum Toxin causes muscle paralysis, and if not properly administered, can paralyse muscles that you don't want to. But it is also because of this property that it is used medically to treat certain conditions, like Blepharospasm (the uncontrollable twitching of the eyelid), Strabismus (or what we refer to as Pak Jiao or Cock-eyed, in which both eyes are not properly aligned with each other), excessive sweating, chronic migraine, stroke, or even cerebral palsy. It works by relaxing the muscles that are causing the problem. So yeah, Botox is not a bad thing if you use it properly.
How does it work on the face? You know your jaw muscles that you use for chewing? The part that some men like to clench to show off their strong jaw? I don't want a strong jaw, so I don't want that on my face. You can feel the muscles by putting your hand on your cheeks near the jawline below the ear, and then clenching your teeth and relaxing them. That part that bulges out is called the masseter muscle, and will be where the doctor will inject.
You know how when you go to the gym and when you work on a certain muscle it will just get bigger and more defined, and if you don't work the muscle, it gets smaller? Botox does that by helping you to partially (I say partially because the dosage is very low) paralyse that muscle so you don't use it.
Oh if you have a problem with bruxism or teeth-grinding, like I do, Botox injection in the masseter actually helps make it better. =)
Will I Still be Able To Chew My Food?
Yes, chewing of foods is not affected, and you can still eat as per normal.
Are There Side Effects?
I'd be lying if I told you there isn't. That's why always go to a doctor you trust. I entrust my face to Dr Zhang because unlike some doctors who will just inject what you ask (and sometimes because we are so hiao we will ask for the maximum dosage it takes to not kill us so it lasts longer), he is pretty conservative in his advice and administration. That's also because he prefers the "natural" look as compared to the very tight but expressionless and face-very-shocked look. Lol. He will inject what he thinks is necessary, and then in a week or 2 when you return for your review, decide and discuss with you if you need more, then inject again if necessary.
Because everyone's muscles differ slightly, it might cause surrounding tissues or muscles to be paralysed as well. The first time I went I couldn't smile properly after a month. And then after that I felt that the apples of my cheeks were not as high as before, as though they have drooped or something. I thought it was because I was getting old, but it turned out that as the botox wore off, the apple of my cheeks got higher again. Think I'm weird as not many people have these problems, but Dr Zhang took note and adjusted the injection points as well as the dosage accordingly. Now I can smile properly and still have my high cheekbones.
Always feedback and communicate with your doctor, and let them know any allergies or prior experiences if you've had any. They were taught certain rules and guidelines, but they also understand that each individual is different and needs to be catered to differently. Also, if you are pregnant or on any medication, do let your doctor know as well. Just in case.
I'm Terrified of Needles! Is it Painful?
This was my concern intitally, as they applied numbing cream on the target area about 20 minutes before they began the procedure. Numbing cream means there will be pain involved without it right?
Okay, one thing about numbing cream and injections that go deeper than the skin layer - they are pretty much useless. Lol. Sorry for breaking it to you guys, but think about it, if the numbing cream is applied on your skin, then only your skin will be numb. Maybe the part JUST underneath the skin might be numb, but I don't think it'll reach so deep into your muscles. If so then why do dentists need to inject anaesthetic medication into your gums (which in itself is so damn painful already) before they perform any local dental surgery?
Personally, I think the numbing cream acts as some kind of psychological placebo. During the injection, I could feel the needle. But get this -
IT DIDN'T HURT!
Okay Dr Zhang asked me to clench my teeth (he'd ask you to "bite"), so he could feel where the muscle is, then asked me to relax. After which he injected into the target area. All it felt like was someone pushing my jaw with a pen. I just felt a bit sore, but nope, no acute sharp pain. Phew~!
To confirm this I actually went without numbing cream the second time, and it still felt the same! So I conclude - numbing cream is only good for surface treatments like Laser. LOL! Okok conclusion is BOTOX for masseter reduction is painless! =D *happy* "No Pain No Gain" doesn't necessarily apply to vanity okay!
How Long is the Procedure? Will I Need to Take Leave?
The actual procedure took me less than 10 minutes. So you can schedule your appointment during lunch time! Of course, there is the consultation with Dr Zhang, and depending on how busy he is, you might have to wait a while. The consult should be done in about 15 minutes, but if you have other concerns that you might want to bring up or other procedures that you might want to do, it might take up to 30 minutes.
After the consult, his assistant will walk you through the price, this will take about 5-15 minutes, depending on how fast your decision-making is. When you are okay to proceed, they will apply numbing cream on your face, after which you will have to wait about 20 minutes. But if you are okay with no numbing cream, they can just proceed. (So you can save time and still have some time leftover to go and dabao lunch back to the office!) Just ask him for a stress ball. You can ask for it even if you applied numbing cream of course. It doesn't do anything much physically, but it'll make you feel better having something to squeeze when you are nervous. =)
So the whole appointment for just BOTOX for Masseter Reduction will take about an hour-ish for the average person.
BOTOX for Masseter Reduction:
15min consult + 15min price walkthrough & hesitation & decision-making + 20min numbing(optional) + 10min injection ≈ 1 hour
A safe gauge would be 1 hour and a half (waiting time factored in).
For those of you whose office is near the clinic, you might want to schedule the consult and the procedure on 2 separate appointments, especially if your office is near the clinic and you don't want to be hungry.
Is There Any Downtime?
This is a picture immediately post-injection.
Spot anything? Mmm hmm. The needle is very fine, so there shouldn't be obvious holes. At most you'll notice a slight bump, smaller than a mosquito bite. But because it's at the side of your face, if you don't tell, no one will notice. ;)
How Much Does It Cost?
I'm not allowed to reveal the prices here due to MOH guidelines, but TFAC charges reasonably, and they do have a price list which lists the rates according to area of injection, like there is a price for the masseter, there is a price for the crows' feet, and so on. So you don't have to worry about them trying to knock you off because you look richer than others. Also, many of their satisfied patients bring friends, and friends compare prices, yes? =)
Oh in case you're wondering, because they charge by location, you don't have to worry about paying more during your review. Your review, plus any top-up if necessary, is free of charge. That being said, I strongly advise against requesting for more top than required, because seriously, you want to look good, not look plastic and shocked.
How Long Does It Take to See Results?
For surface injection to help reduce wrinkles, you can see results in a few days. For jaw reduction, results are optimal about 4-8 weeks after injection. That's when you will see your face the smallest. And when friends come asking you if you've lost weight. ;) So if you have an important function to attend, you might want to schedule your appointment about 4-6 weeks in advance.
What Kind of Results Can I Expect Exactly?
It differs from person to person of course, but you will definitely have a smaller face, if the cause of your roundish face shape is your masseter muscle. If however, your cheeks are all just fat, then you might want to consider other kinds of treatments. I can't tell you for sure what your problem is, so you have to let Dr Zhang or whichever doctor you choose assess and advise on what you can do.
Okay here are my results. I did this photoshoot before the jab, and I was so horrified with the pictures, I think that was why I asked Dr Zhang for help. Don't get me wrong, the pictures were nice, but I had higher expectations of myself, and I certainly got a shock when I realized I had let myself "go".
Unedited okay. When I smiled I had excess cheek behind my dimples. O.O
I mean, okay, the eyebrows looked great, since it was for an eyebrow embroidery ad, but oh my goodness when did my face grow that chunk at the side??? For this picture my face was already tilted down for the small face effect, and STILL looked chubby. *cries*
This is 2 months after my visit to Dr Zhang for the jab:
Notice how it's more defined?
Sorry I didn't do any photoshoot during that period so selfies are the best I've got. But the jawline is really a lot slimmer.
These were all taken about 1-2 months after the injection. =>
And this is about 3-4 months in? I don't really like to eat meat, and generally prefer soupy stuff, porridge and kway teow. So that probably explains why my effects last for quite a while. I do notice a difference when I have been eating a lot of meat, like beef. My masseter muscles GROW~~~
How Long Does it Last?
I've been keeping my face small at The Face Aesthetic Clinic for a while now, and I realized that with each shot, it tends to last longer than the last. I've also had friends who tell me that your will require lesser and lesser shots each time, or take longer to go for the next shot. The doctor will tell you that the effects differ from person to person, and it's true. Some last for 3 months, others much longer. But a good gauge is between 3-8 months. I haven't had a shot since August, and I think my face still looks pretty decent. Any rounding is probably due to too much X'Mas and CNY feasting.
How to Maintain the Desired Face Shape and Prolong the Effects?
Eat less chewy foods like beef that's really hard, or chewing gum. Chewing hard works the masseter muscles, and will cause them to redevelop again. Of course, it's inevitable to chew food, unless you want to eat porridge and drink soup for the rest of your life. (Although, you will lose weight and have an even smaller face.) This is also why it differs from person to person - how much chewing you actually do in those few months can affect how long the effects remain.
How Do I Know When to Go Again?
When you feel that your face is fat and roundish again. Or when you can bite and feel that muscle protrude out by quite a bit. About 4-8 weeks after your injection you can clench and try to feel the muscle. It shouldn't protrude. When it does you know that the muscle is building itself back again. That's when you might consider a second visit.
Where Can I Find Dr Zhang Yijun &
The Face Aesthetic Clinic?
TFAC is located at 20 Malacca Street, Singapore 048979.
Do call them at 62236788 to make an appointment as they can be really busy sometimes!
You can also visit their website at www.thefaceaestheticclinic.com.sg for more details on what they do.
If you are taking the train, alight at Raffles Place and go towards One Raffles Place. They are just beside, along the DBS stretch.
If you drive, park at Golden Shoe Carpark. It's the cheapest in the area, unless you can find parallel parking lots (coupons) along Phillip Street.
Here's to a V-Shaped Face! XOXO!