When it comes to beauty injectables, there’s something for everything these days — from jaw reshaping to “the liquid nose job,” we’re living in the era of non-invasive face sculpting. And yet, for years I thought there was literally no solution to my dimpled chin, or what skin experts refer to as an “orange-peel chin.”
I searched the internet high and low for facial exercises and creams that could somehow work to relax my overactive chin muscle, which would often cause the area to dimple when my mouth was closed. But I found no suggestions besides Botox, an FDA-approved brand of botulinum toxin, or Botox, injections that treats fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging for people over 18.
For years, though, I put it off, convinced it would cost me a fortune and distort my smile. And honestly, I was also stressed that people would judge me for being vain enough to dabble in the world of beauty injectables. While my dimpled chin wasn’t something that necessarily bothered me when I looked in the mirror, it would occasionally appear in a selfie or a headshot when I wasn’t smiling. It was like my face would instantly go into a dimpled resting-b*tch-face mode anytime my mouth was closed. I also started noticing it more during the pandemic, thanks to many IG Lives and Zoom calls — and the reminder wasn’t fun.
After years of feeling conflicted about it, all my sister had to tell me was that her wedding photographers specialized in candid photos, which made me terrified of my dimpled chin showing up in the pictures. So, finally, I booked an appointment with our family-trusted dermatologist, Miriam Casal, MD.
I was initially anxious because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. While there are tons of written articles by beauty editors and reporters about getting Botox to treat fine lines and wrinkles, there were utterly no firsthand accounts of getting Botox for smoothing chin muscles. Dr. Casal says she deals with all sorts of first-time patient anxieties, too.
“Many of my first-time patients are very afraid of having Botox because they have seen on TV or social media people that look deformed or very artificial. Those cases are most likely not caused by Botox. Botox is only a muscle relaxer that prevents and improves the appearance of wrinkles,” she tells POPSUGAR, adding that there are no known permanent side effects of Botox. “It really is the safest cosmetic procedure, and I think that is important for our community to know.”
During my consultation with Dr. Casal, I also had her explain what was causing my chin to dimple every time I struggled to relax my face. “An orange-peel chin is the term used to describe a textural change with grooves, dimples, and a pitting appearance of the chin when you are puckering or sometimes resting,” Dr. Casal says. “The mentalist function is to raise the skin of the chin and elevate, evert, and protrude the lower lip. The dimpling is caused because part of this muscle is superficial and inserts into the skin of the chin.”
Botox or any other neuromodulators function as muscle relaxers, Dr. Casal adds. They help relax — or what some refer to as “freeze” — the muscle in order to drop the dimpling. While I’ve always had a lot of anxiety around needles, I was refreshingly surprised by how quick and almost painless I found the Botox procedure to be; Dr. Casal injected the mentalist, a cone-shaped muscle, in just two spots on my chin. To ensure my smile isn’t compromised, Dr. Casal is always careful to properly inject the mentalist muscle and avoid diffusion to adjacent muscles. This is also why it’s important to only seek out beauty-injectable treatments from a licensed and board-certified practitioner.
Technically, Botox is FDA approved for three areas: glabella (between the eyebrows), crow’s feet (the sides of eyes), and frontalis (the forehead). “However, Botox Cosmetic is often used by advanced injectors in the lower face,” says New York City plastic surgeon David Shafer, MD. “One of the most popular areas is the chin to help prevent dimples or orange-peel chin from hyperactive mentalis muscle. Special care must be taken for accurate placement of the Botox because any inadvertent injection into the orbicularis, depressor labii inferioris, or depressor anguli oris (DAO) can cause odd changes to the smile.”
Dr. Shafer explains that while the effects are always temporary — between three to four months — caution is needed to avoid this complication. “If the orbicularis, DLI, or DAO muscles are inadvertently injected, the smile can temporarily appear crooked or the lip can actually lose strength leading to drooling,” he says. “This is very rare, but this is the reason why patients should see advanced injectors such as board-certified plastic surgeons or dermatologists that specialize in Botox Cosmetic to reduce the chance of side effects.”
There’s a misconception that Botox works immediately on the spot, but Dr. Casal told me ahead of our appointment that it would take about two to three days for the muscle to start relaxing. The best results usually come after around two weeks, she adds, with the effects lasting an average of three to six months. I noticed improvements in just a day, and in a week my chin was entirely smooth and dimple-free. The best part was I looked just like myself — only without the dimpled chin.
It was also more affordable than I initially anticipated — only costing me $200 for the one session. After the first week, I was pretty sold and committed to making this a part of my regular skin-care practice every few months.
Image Source: Two days after chin Botox/Johanna Ferreira
It’s now been about a year since I first got the treatment done. I have come back every few months for maintenance because Botox isn’t permanent. But it has greatly improved my chin dimples. Four months can go by, and even when I see a little bit of dimpling going on, it’s so subtle it doesn’t even come out in selfies anymore — regardless of how good or bad the lighting is. I’m also fortunate to be at a place with my self-esteem and body image where there is literally nothing else on my face that bothers me.
I also love knowing that I’m being preventative about it potentially worsening with age. As Dr. Casal says: “Wrinkles and skin defects are dynamic when we are young, meaning the problem is seen when the muscle contracts. Because the skin is elastic when the muscle relaxes, the defect goes away. As we age, the skin loses elasticity and the wrinkle/defect is present even when the muscle is relaxed. Therefore starting early when the problem is only dynamic will prevent the development of such an undesired look.”
When I experienced how simple and safe my Botox procedure was — along with my natural-looking results — I began reframing my perception of beauty injectables. I’d never been someone who looked down on Botox or fillers, but I also always swore I’d never consider them. I thought my committed skin-care regimen combined with my melanated skin and Latina genes would be more than enough; and at a few weeks shy of turning 37, I still get confused for someone in their late 20s. But while I have aged wonderfully, I’ve also embraced that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting a little tweaking every now and then.
It’s also important to remember that we live in a world dictated by exhausting Eurocentric beauty standards — lies that have been created by white men to dictate society. But as long as we’re not subscribing to those standards, I don’t see a problem. Like many millennial Latinas seeking out beauty injectables, I have no plans of doing away with my ethnic features. For now, I don’t see myself doing anything more besides Botox for my chin.
In an attempt to do away with the stigma surrounding injectables, I’ve been super transparent about my experiences with my girlfriends. After all, tweaks aren’t meant to change your face at all, just enhance the beautiful features you were born with — while still leaving you looking like your natural self.
Do I need Botox to feel beautiful? No. Do I think I was beautiful even when the dimples showed up in candid photos? Yes. But I’m also happy to live in a day and age where this kind of technology exists, giving me the choice to do something about my chin dimples. And I’m also fortunate to live in a time where women — women of color especially — have become a lot more unapologetic about getting these kinds of treatments done.
As a Latina, I’m tired of being boxed into what I can or cannot do. If what I want at this phase of my life is to get Botox on my chin to avoid unflattering dimpling, then that’s what I’m going to do. Period.
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