Thinking about going under the needle? We chatted to Dr. Catherine Stone from The Face Place Auckland, about the merits of appearance medicine.

For a lot, the B-word conjures up visions of frozen facial features à la the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which really shouldn’t be the case. Botox® is common, safe and effective when used in the correct dosages and by a trained professional. Here’s a bit more information about the wrinkle fighting superstar and what you need to know before going under the needle yourself…


Firstly, why does skin start to sag as we age?
As we get older our face shrinks, just like a grape turning into a raisin. In addition to the deeper changes, the skin’s underlying structure or elasticity starts to weaken, making our skin appear less full, plump, and resilient.’ As well as this, our skin renews itself slower and produces less collagen.

So what exactly is Botox?
Botox® is a naturally occurring protein that is purified in the laboratory from a specific bacterium. The bacteria itself is dangerous if eaten in large amounts, but Botox is only one of many proteins produced by the bacteria, and has a long safety history, especially in the smaller cosmetic doses.’ (To put that into perspective – The calculated dangerous dose of Botox is 3500 units, while the average frown line treatment is around 20 units).

How long has Botox been used for?
‘Botox® has been used for over 30 years for the effective treatment of a range of medical conditions such as muscle spasms, eye twitches, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), migraines and cerebral palsy. Cosmetic Botox was first ‘discovered’ in 1987 when Dr Jean Carruthers noticed that the wrinkles disappeared in patients that she was treating for eye spasm. For the last 12 years, Botox has been one of the fastest growing cosmetic treatments globally.’

How does Botox work?
‘It works by relaxing muscles and reducing their movement. Wrinkles will usually develop as the muscles that create expression also cause repeated damage to the collagen that supports your skin. The relaxation of the muscles from Botox can result in softer lines or wrinkles in the overlying skin, giving you a younger and fresher looking appearance.’

How long do results last?
‘Results will generally last on average around 3-4 months, and may start lasting longer with repeated treatments. There are some areas of the face where we use much smaller doses, and results might only last about 6-8 weeks – we prefer to use smaller doses more regularly, so that people retain their expressions, giving a much more natural appearance.’

Does it hurt?
‘It’s about the same as having your eyebrows plucked, and most people find it easily tolerable as the needles used are very small and fine. I always suggest to clients to time their Botox® treatment during the ‘right time of the month’ – not just before or while you have your period when we tend to be a little more sensitive.’

Are there side effects?
‘Fortunately, any potential side effects from treatment using Botox® are minimal when performed by an experienced cosmetic medicine expert, and are always temporary! I have people come to me with stories of a droopy eye, or a restricted smile which can happen occasionally, and wear off very quickly. To reduce the chance of this happening, my advice is to ensure you only receive treatment from an experienced practitioner.’

What else can we do to keep wrinkles at bay?
‘Treatments such as dermal needling and platelet rich plasma also help improve the skin’s ability to repair, so they work well with Botox.
When wrinkles get deeper, or we start to lose volume from the face, dermal fillers may be combined with Botox to fill up the lines or plump up the skin. As well as achieving a better overall result, when used in the same area, Botox can help the dermal fillers last longer, as it prevents them from being broken down.
But remember, for best results you should also have a beautiful, healthy skin! Getting the guidance of an experienced Medical Skin Therapist can help you narrow down the skin products and treatments you have to get.’

Not a fan of needles? Give these new wonder products a go to help turn back the years:

Environ Advance DFP 312, $149 (Available July), La Prairie Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster, $405, Dr Brandt Needles No More, $142, Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Eye Treatment, $95 (available Aug 17th), Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Lip Enhancer, $29.95, Prevage Anti-Aging + Intensive Repair Eye Serum, $230, The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser, $64.95 (available Jul 20).

Also remember to:

  • Ask your Doctor what their experience and training is; how many times they have performed the procedure; and whether they are using genuine Botox or something else.
  • Ensure your clinician has discussed the risks and benefits of your treatment, what they plan to do, and how much it’s likely to cost. You should also sign a consent form which needs to be updated annually.
  • You might also want to check if they use preserved saline to reconstitute their Botox, as it makes it significantly ‘less ouch.’

Click here to visit The Face Place website.
Or call 09-358 5860 to chat with Dr Catherine Stone and her team about your options.
You can also follow them on Instagram here.


WORDS: Elise Wilson
MAIN IMAGE: Caitlin McMahon Photography