My Journey To Self-Expression Through Botox And Fillers

Shutterstock / – Yuri A

In a society that often imposes narrow beauty standards, I’ve chosen to redefine and embrace my path to empowerment. As a Black woman, I’ve found strength in making decisions that align with my personal sense of beauty and self-expression. Opting for Botox and fillers is not just about aesthetics but a bold declaration of autonomy over my choices.

While contemplating my decision and reading articles on the stigma behind Black women and fillers, I knew that when exploring this nonsurgical cosmetic procedure, I would see one person: Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton, MD of Brooklyn Face & Eye. During my commute to visit Dr. Jeanniton, I spoke on the phone with my mother about my upcoming visit, and she questioned my reasoning for wanting to explore this.

The first thing she said to me was, “Black people don’t do those things.” This statement echoes the phrase, “Black don’t crack,” often used in our community, and frankly, it isn’t true. Despite having very fine lines and most probably thinking I didn’t need Botox or fillers, I wanted to move forward with exploring the treatments.

I arrived at a chic Brownstone across from Prospect Park, where beautiful artwork lines the hallway walls, and products from Dr. Jeanniton’s epi.logic skincare line are displayed. I was greeted with a warm hello from the kind receptionist at the front desk and immediately taken to the back to a photo studio to get pictures taken. The assistant took about 4-5 photos of my face from different angles. At this point, I was nervous but excited about what was to come.

Dr. Jeanniton, a formidable presence, then welcomed me. She was very warm and chic, with long braids and a flawless 3D manicure. I couldn’t help but notice the numerous degrees and accolades on the wall behind her wooden desk. Dr. Jeanniton started by asking about my concerns and explaining the various types of nonsurgical treatments she provides. 

I immediately explained that I wanted to eliminate the lines between my eyebrows, called the 11 lines, and my smile lines. She explained that lines aren’t bad and that we shouldn’t be afraid of aging but should be open to ways to enhance our natural beauty. “I don’t think movement is the enemy. I’m never someone who’s going to say you should try,” Dr. Jeanniton tells me. “I typically like hearing what some areas of concern are, or ways that you think your reflection does not match up with how you’d like to look.”

Given my concerns, I asked whether Botox or fillers were more suitable for me. Dr. Jeanniton explained, “the way you know the difference is that Botox is better suited for muscles of expression of the face. So, when you lift your brows, you notice that the fine lines have intensified with a particular movement. It’s more or less gone or minimized at rest,” she says. “Whereas your nasal labial folds, in other words, the folds around your mouth, are always present. They may be a bit more increased when you smile, but are not related to a particular muscle that’s been contracted,” making them better suited for filler.

I Tried Botox And Fillers For The First Time– Here’s How It Went
Tira before Botox and filler.

Dr. Jeanniton’s response struck me because I assumed a little Botox would fix all my concerns. The idea of fillers unsettled me, given the appearance of some Hollywood stars. However, Dr. Jeanniton reassured me that there was nothing to worry about.

“Even though I love injectables and appreciate having access to these products, I believe we should do as little to our face as possible. Given the multitude of treatments we’re likely to engage in over decades, we need to be mindful of the choices we make today and their impact on our future face. We’ve seen some starlets who’ve let it get away from them, and we witness firsthand what happens with a loose approach to facial aesthetics,” Dr. Jeanniton says. “It’s also my responsibility to protect their future face. Even if someone comes in and says, ‘Doc, let’s do it all today,’ I’m likely to pump the brakes. I’ll ask, ‘what’s the one thing we can do that will have the most impact?’”

I asked the doctor whether Botox was the fast track to aging. She responded eloquently, saying, “poorly administered Botox is the fast track to aging.” She elaborated, “The fast track to aging is when you’re so focused on erasing all of the lines and wrinkles that you don’t zoom out and take the entire face into consideration.”

During the examination, Dr. Jeanniton instructed me to raise my eyebrows and make a poker face and an angry frown. She gently pressed on my cheeks, underneath my eyes, and in the corner of my eyes using a Q-tip. “I pressed a little bit of your cheek fat into the under-eye area just to simulate what a little more volume there does.” She noted some areas where Botox and fillers could be beneficial and asked for my thoughts.

We both  agreed that a touch of Botox in the forehead and eyebrow area could provide a bright look, and she also suggested enhancing my appearance with a bit of filler in my cheeks. “I think it’ll give you a little more shape in your mid-face, which I think is really the focus of your face.” I gasped with excitement because I had never considered that treatment.

Now, down to the science – cheek filler is hyaluronic acid gel injected in and around your cheekbone to give your cheeks more volume. Dr. Jeanniton used 1 ML of Juvéderm Voluma XC in my cheeks and 19 units of Botox in my forehead, and eyebrow area.. Cheek filler is expected to last for about a year, and Botox for about 3 to 6 months, depending on your lifestyle. 

The doctor recommended that I take it easy, refrain from exercising or drinking alcohol for a few days, and avoid facials and massages for three weeks. She mentioned the possibility of some bruising, which did occur on the left side of my face, and a bit of discomfort. Overall, I felt great, and the results were stunning. Dr. Jeanniton requires all her patients to return in two weeks to ensure everything is healing correctly, and I happily followed through. We were both excited about my results. Costs for these treatments are approximately $725 for Botox, and $1000 for cheek fillers.

Breaking free from stereotypes and societal expectations, my decision to explore cosmetic enhancements celebrates individuality and the freedom to define beauty on my terms. It’s about acknowledging that self-care comes in various forms, and for me, this journey represents a conscious effort to prioritize my well-being, confidence, and the pursuit of happiness.

I Tried Botox And Fillers For The First Time– Here’s How It Went
Tira after Botox and filler.

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