ESC: Botox

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It's there in every picture of myself since childhood: a slight glistening above my upper lip. That veil of sweat has continually ruined a perfectly made-up face and taunted me at the hint of heat. Often, little beads indicate that I'm hot well before my brain even recognizes it.

In an office of style and beauty editors, we constantly debate how to "fix" our obnoxious (albeit frivolous) physical issues. I've waxed poetic about my many fixations with my mouth area, from discoloration to lip thinness and, yes, my upper-lip sweat. One day in particular, we floated around the idea of Botox for sweat prevention. Many, including celebs, use it to alleviate migraines and to prevent severe underarm perspiration, after all.

Let me also preface my Botox chronicles with this: I try to approach beauty and health in the most natural way possible. I've never once had any plastic surgery or injectable. I rarely even take Advil when I have a headache in favor of simply water. I'm a minimalist to a fault, and to test this out means I was desperate.

Ignoring my mother's suggestion to "just put deodorant there," I took matters into my own hands—well, the hands of Dr. Nancy Samoltis at Facile Dermatology & Boutique in West Hollywood.

"I've honestly never had anyone request this before," Dr. Nancy said to me as I lay in the chair below her, readying myself for needles. While it's common for underarms, where Botox can block chemical signals from reaching sweat glands, it's not so common for the upper lip.

She explained that we'd have to be extremely careful in this area because of delicate muscles responsible for lifting my lip. The exposed surface area of an upper lip also proved challenging. When you sweat there, it's not one concentrated area. Injecting armpits, while still daunting, is easier because it's hidden, not responsible for any major muscle movement and has been proven to work before. With your face, you could be risking movement you usually take for granted.

"You may have issues when trying to drink through a straw, but aside from that it should be fine," Dr. Nancy reassured me.

Using the tiniest amount of Botox possible, she made four injections (two on either side) above my upper lip. The needle felt like a tiny pinch and then it was over. The most alarming part about the whole process is how easy it is—I can see how people get hooked on Botox and injections. 

I left the office with nary a mark, excited for my sweat-free face.

Over the course of the next two weeks, I tapped my upper lip with my hand frequently to check for moisture. It seemed to be less sweaty than before, but was it just my imagination?

I checked back in with Dr. Nancy to report on how it was going.

"I think it might be helping? But I can't really tell," I explained.

"Are you having any issues moving your lip at all?" she asked.

"No, not at all. I don't feel it."

Because I'm not hyper-sensitive to Botox, she injected a bit more and I was on my merry way.

The ultimate test came when I went to New York Fashion Week. Leaving the comforts of an air-conditioned commute and too-cold office behind, I went forth into 90-degree heat, often hustling from show to show by foot. (Also, everyone decided to have their shows outside this season.) This is when I came face-to-face with the unfortunate truth: My lip was dripping like a faucet.

The Botox, unfortunately, didn't do much to help my situation. However, I don't blame the Botox. I'm thankful Dr. Nancy was conservative with the injections and kept the most important part in mind when injecting, which is normal face function. For her clients, it's proven to work with underarms. It was simply not enough to work for my upper lip.

I feel a little ridiculous for even trying this out, and it ultimately has led me to believe it's really not that big an annoyance after all. In a day and age where we fixate over every little hair, wrinkle and blemish, sometimes you simply have to let it go. Not everything can be fixed—nor should it be. 

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