Embrace Aging (With A Little Help from Botox)

It's not as scary as it seems


“What a drag it is getting old.” True Mick, but did you ever think that Botox could be a “Mother’s Little Helper?”

Thanks to celebrities, the “B word” is practically an expletive. With their expressionless, frozen faces they give Botox a bad name. But Botox can be a beautiful thing.

“It just makes you look just like you feel,” Maureen Dolan Sullivan, a certified aesthetic nurse specialist, explains. I had set up an appointment with Maureen, a Barrington resident, as an early holiday present for myself. We talked about how in the last few years the stigma of getting an injectable or filler has dwindled. “It’s just part of your regimen. You get your hair dyed and you get your Botox.” She did warn, however, not to get it all done at the same place. “You really need to see a board certified medical professional for the best results,” she says. That’s another reason it get a bad rep: nonprofessionals administering the treatment in a non-medical setting.

Maureen is part of the team at Dr. Patrick Sullivan’s office. Lauded internationally and in medical journals for his innovative techniques in plastic surgery and his work in Africa reconstructing cleft palates, Dr. Sullivan specializes in face, neck and body procedures. The two of them, who happen to be husband and wife, were leaving the next day for a conference in Morocco. “We have access to dermatologists and surgeons from around the world, and we are continuously bringing back the foremost applications,” she says.

When she meets a new patient, Maureen’s first question is “what brought you here?” Depending on the desired result and the shape of the patient’s face, she will choose from a variety of neurotoxins (Botox and Dysport are just a few brand names, and each treat nuances differently). “We can use neurotoxins in many problem areas, like the forehead, crow’s feet and the ‘marionette’ area,” she points out. While the treatment does not remove wrinkles, it does relax the muscles for a smooth appearance. It can last between three and five months, and with repeated use can begin to have a cumulative effect.

Crow’s feet, the long and deep lines around me eyes, brought me to the office. I find myself smiling less enthusiastically because of them. After she takes some “before” photographs for my file and explains that she prefers to do less in a first visit (with the option to come in for tweaking if needed), she begins to slightly numb the area around my face with cold air. A few gentle pricks on both sides, and before I know it she’s done. Within a week, I’m smiling with renewed confidence. Getting older doesn’t have to be a drag after all.

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