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I just wanted to share my story with anyone who may be considering or is curious about Botox for "smokers lines" of the lips. I am 40 yrs. old, and have very fair skin. I have been plagued with those dreaded vertical lines for a number of years although I do not smoke. I have done Botox for about 2 years for the area between my eyes and have loved the results. I can go about 6 mos. now between sessions. When I went into my dermatologist a few days ago for my "glabella" botox, I asked what could be done about my lip lines. Both filler and and botox were recommended. After discussing it, I decided to try the botox first and and maybe a filler after I saw how I responded to the Botox.
I live in a major metro. area and my derm. has been written up as a "Top Doc" multiple times and is always one of the first to have all of the cutting edge technologies available. She is highly regarded and has been in practice for some time. It is for that reason I think I may have been a bit too trusting. I usually do a ridiculous amount of research on things (especially when it comes to my face) before I jump in w/ both feet.
In any case, here is the deal... The first day I could already tell that my left side felt like it was "number". It's kind of a weird sensation to describe. Later my upper lip started to look really strange. The lip portion of my cupid's bow became very bulbar and I resembled a snapping turtle! I decided not to panic yet because I knew it takes a while for the botox to sort of settle in. That was 3 days ago. My lower left lip looked a little droopy to me and I just prayed that it would all come together evenly in the end. I was almost afraid to go to sleep last night for fear of what I might wake up to as it continues to work. As of today I look fine. My lips do look a bit fuller and my vertical lines are gone. Speech is affected. B's, P's, W's, and stringing sentences together that have have alot of those letter combinations isn't easy. I am starting to adapt, though. You just learn how to use your mouth differently. It has caused a lengthening of the upper lip so you don't see as much of the upper teeth when you talk. You are mostly moving your lower jaw. My smile seems fine, though. I expected not to be able to suck from a straw, however, I can't bring my lips together to lick them which is really strange. It is difficult to keep my mouth closed when chewing. I have to pretty much "hamster" the food into my cheeks in order to keep my mouth closed when chewing.
I decided early on that whatever the result I would definitely not be having anything more injected (as I've read some have tried to no avail in an effort to correct a problem) It was my poor judgement to have this done and I will just have to wait it out for the next few months until it wears off. I'm afraid of just making things worse.
Bottom line.... As of now it does seem to have done what it was supposed to do. My lines are gone. Would I do it again?? Not a chance. It was only in hindsight that I realized the risk I had taken messing with my mouth muscles. What was I thinking??? I am just grateful that so far at least everything is symmetrical while I wait for it to wear off. I hope that remains to be the case since I am only on day 4.
My take away from this is that I was fortunate my lack of good judgement is reversible. It's not like me to make knee jerk decisions and perhaps this experience has prevented me from making a potentially bigger irreversible mistake in the future.
Thanks for posting your experience - your reaction to the botox totally sucks and I feel for you.
However, I am curious why any doctor would recommend botox anywhere near the mouth. Since the whole purpose of the stuff is for paralysis, putting it near the mouth suggests to me that it would affect speech, eating, smiling, talking etc.
Also, I have never heard of botox being injected into lip lines. Restylane yes, botox no.
Anyway, at least this is not permanent and has informed anyone else who might think botox for lips is a good idea.
Thank you for the kind words of support. Again, what can I say... hindsight is 20/20. After digging deeply for information after it was too late, there are difinitely varying opinions on the subject of botox in the mouth area. Many don't even consider it, yet there are some more experienced, "skilled" doc's who claim good results when approached cautiously in appropriate candidates. I was injected right above/along the actual lip line maybe 2 times on either side of cupid's bow on upper lip and I think maybe once? on either side of lower lip with a minimal amount of botox. Apparently that is what's key... Small amounts in just right location, and not too deeply. Just to relieve those exterior "pucker" lines. I think maybe I am what is supposed to be a success story as lip botox goes... I don't seem to have any major complications thus far, my lip lines are gone, my thin lips seem to be a bit fuller. However, I feel the emotional price is way too much to pay. Things could have gone terribly wrong, and I am still on egg shells praying that still doesn't happen. The affect on my speech is just plain annoying. I feel like a duck when I talk. Hopefully as my other muscles learn to compensate it will come out more naturally. I'll post again in the next fews as all of the effects settle in.... I just pray it wears off quickly. As botox goes, anyway.
I think I've learned my lesson to just leave that area alone. I researched fillers with mixed results. Many are in the same boat as me... Wishing they had left well enough alone. I'm not willing to go there again. As much as I really hated those lines, I welcome their return!
Once again, however, I do love the botox for between the eyes. It gives such a great result. I now know it is just better to reserve it's use for the upper face, IMO, where it is more predictable. Still in the hands of a skilled physician, of course.
I would like to share my experience about botox of the lips. I had botox injected on top of the upper lip 6 days ago (not on the lip line but above the lip line) only one injection on each side. The results todate have been great, the upper lip is slightly wider and looks very natural. I just love the result. I can still move the upper lip and have no problem with eating or with speaking. I am sorry to hear about your experience, maybe next time you should try injecting the botox above the lip instead of on the lip line. Maybe it's still too early to show the full result but I will let you know if there is a change. I hope this helps. Amal
I am so glad you are having a result you are happy with. I was injected just above the the pink of the lip line twice on either side of the upper lip. Perhaps because my pucker lines were also quite pronounced further out towards the corners of my mouth, too. I do think that based on the way the lack of movement has unfolded over last few days, I may have been ok, if like yourself, there had been only one injection on either side of of the upper lip closer toward the center of the mouth. Actually, I think the little bit on the lower lip may have been a good idea considering, or I would look really strange with the upper lip so relaxed and the bottom "puckered" as normal. I hate that I feel so awkward when I speak. I have a call into the doc this morning. Not that it will mean much or do much good.... Personally, for me, the whole experience has been way to distressing to try anything like this again, but I really am happy that you are doing so well with it. Best of luck!!
UPDATE: Well, It's been one week as of today. I felt like I finally turned the corner yesterday, on day 6. It seemed as though everything had pretty much settled in so that I wasn't worried about things progressing any further. I have to say... My mouth does look great. I haven't had such a smooth upper lip since my early 30's, and they are fuller. I've pretty much learned to work with the speech issue, and I don't think anyone else would know but me. I feel very fortunate in light of how this all began. An unexpected, but comical bonus, I've lost a couple of pounds because the chewing issue I have to take much smaller bites and maybe I've just been eating less due to the stress.
At least everything appears to be ok as I wait for it to wear off. So, in the end I guess this can be successful when done by a very skilled physician with the understanding everyone can have a very different result when it comes to those mouth muscles. We are all wired differently to a degree, so results can be unpredictable. So consumer beware. If you do decide to proceed, be aware of the many after effects such as speech issues, etc., and go with a miniscule amount of botox. It doesn't take much in those tiny muscles, and that way hopefully less time to wear off if doesn't go the way you were hoping. Injections nearer to the corners of the mouth are more likely to cause undersirable effects such as drooling if those muscles are too relaxed, and I also think that's where the chewing and speech issue comes into play. The ones closer to center of mouth outside of cupid's bow seem to give the most natural, desirable effect without as many issues due to too much of the upper lip being relaxed. Again, tiny amounts. I had 8 units total to both upper and lower. From what I can tell based on what I've read, 1 unit per injection site should be more than adequate.
So although it does look great, it's not for me. The mouth is tricky and I'm not willing to risk it again.
I had Restylane injected into those lip lines and Botox in the corners of my mouth to relax the muscles. This was done about 8 weeks ago. My PS said the Botox would help the Restylane last longer. Believe me, if I didn't trust my PS completely, I would never have had this done. In my case, everything looked fine until I tried to press my lips together when I put my lipstick on. In addition, I had a lot of trouble swishing water in my mouth after brushing my teeth. Other than that, I had no side effects. Those issues resolved after about a month and the Restylane is still looking pretty good in the lip lines. I'm not sure whether or not I'll do it again, but if it continues to look this good for a while, maybe I will. Again, you really better work with someone you completely trust, because I think the possibility of having a problem could be high. I guess the good news is that Botox doesn't last that long even if you have a problem.
You said yours was done 8 wks. ago. I'm curious how much of an effect of the botox you're still having. I'm told it wears off much faster around the mouth because that is a rather "active" area. I realize it's different for everyone and the dosage is also a variable, but I'd love to know how you're doing with it. I'm also curious how subtly it will wear off, or if one side might wear off faster looking odd until the other side catches up. Too much stuff to worry about!! I, too, have those after effects you listed in addition to the others I mentioned. There's not much choice but to learn to adapt. It looks silly, but I pinch my lips closed to swish after brushing. Oh well, it works.
It's hard for me to tell whether the Botox is still doing its job, since I'm no longer having those side effects. However, those pesky "smoker's" lines (I don't smoke, either) are much better than they were. During my facelift and other surgeries that were done a year ago, I had Dermabrasion to treat those lines, but I was told I'd get only about a 30% improvement and that's pretty close to my result. My PS told me that there were several areas that could only be helped by injectables and that I'd need to do it at least once a year. I am committed to doing that and if the Botox is actually causing the Restylane to stay put, then I'll probably do the Botox again. My PS is about 600 miles away and I wouldn't trust anyone else to do such a good job, so once a year is probably all I'll be able to do.
Thanks for sharing, Mimi. It sure will be great if they ever come up with a more predictable, fool proof solution for such a troublesome area. I suppose, actually, this is how it's done... On willing subjects, such as ourselves, through trial and error. I think the best we can do is be prudent in sharing information with one another. Maybe that way we can avoid some of the pitfalls by making more informed choices based on the experiences of others. If I had known in advance this could have such an impact on my day to day life, I never would have done it. Even afterwards, I combed the internet and could not find much on the subject from anyone who had actually tried it. If I had come across a thread like this one we have going, before I tried it, I would have probably taken a pass... This outcome has too big of question mark on it, for me.
UPDATE: Just thought I would update for anyone reading down the road who might be wondering how long it will take for their "mistake" to wear off. It's been about 3 weeks now and the speech problem resolved itself by week 2 b/c you learn to compensate. For a while into week 2 I was having some minor salivary issues I was really starting to worry about. That, too, resolved itself. Thank goodness drooling never came to be. I started having some weird lower jaw issues that are hard to explain.... I think it's because you are using it so much to compensate for the lack of control in lip movement. The jaw becomes frequently hyper extended. Like when you drink out of a waterbottle, for example, or even speaking for that matter. Anyway, it was a rocky road for a few days, but that's now fine, also. I think that also contributed to headaches during that time, which I don't normally have.
As far as the end result, there is some minor assymetry on the right side of my mouth when I smile. The corners of my mouth are not turned up as much, making my smile somewhat flat or straight. My n/l area now droops a bit making sort of a weird droopy pucker and line at the corner of my mouth. Don't get me wrong, it's not horrific... I notice it though. I just traded one issue for another until this wears off. And believe me, I am looking forward to it wearing off!!
Fortunately, for me, it ended up not being anything disasterous. I chalk it up to a lesson learned. I still count my blessings that I did at least listen to my gut and not let her do the resty she was suggesting. I think that also not going well, would have changed my features way too much and probably would have pushed me over the edge!!
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