People Are Getting Botox for This Surprising Reason—a Derm Explains Why It’s Worth Considering

All your beauty questions—answered. Our resident dermatologist, Dr. Geddes Bruce breaks down the biggest topics in beauty, from hair loss to Botox and everything in between. Send us a DM @camillestyles with your own burning q’s and we may address it in a future column. 

My algorithm thinks I need Botox. Scrolling through social media, I see ads, testimonials, and before/afters all to convince me to make an appointment at my nearest medspa. I’m at the age where many of my friends have injected a syringe or two of Botox into their fine lines, foreheads, and even their armpits (apparently it can stop sweating)! But even with all the hype, Botox is still misunderstood. Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Geddes Bruce, agrees. Beyond its aesthetic benefits, Botox is gaining more popularity as a wellness tool. Surprised? I was too! But as a painkiller, Botox for muscle tension could be the thing you’re looking for to ease your discomfort. Let’s investigate.

Featured image from our interview with Cyndi Ramirez by Belathée Photography.

Everything You Need to Know About Botox For Muscle Tension

I’ve starting hearing about people using Botox for muscle tension. I’m Botox-curious, but how do I know if this treatment is for me? And is it something that derms recommend?

As a beauty editor, I know the buzz around Botox is real. But could it be too good to be true? Or worse, could Botox be dangerous? Botox for muscle tension might be the next big thing, but it’s imperative to understand what you’re getting into. So I invited Dr. Geddes-Bruce to share her insights.

First things first, she told me that what we think of as “Botox” isn’t always… Botox. “Botox is a trademarked name but is used colloquially to refer to all neuromodulators,” Dr. Geddes-Bruce explains. It’s a brand, albeit the most popular, not the name of the treatment. Whether you’re opting for Botox or another neuromodulator, the possibility of an injectable painkiller might be right for you. But as with all treatments, be sure to consult a derm.

Why are patients using Botox for muscle tension?

Neuromodulators like Botox prevent muscles from contracting too strongly, thus causing a relaxing effect. We’ve capitalized on this effect in medicine and use it to safely treat painful conditions ranging from migraines to teeth grinding or jaw clenching, and much more.

How do you know if you need Botox for muscle tension?

This is subjective and depends on how your pain and tension affect YOU and your quality of life. Different tools help us as clinicians assess this in the office. In general, you should consult the appropriate specialist for evaluation before using Botox for muscle tension. For example, see a neurologist for migraines.

Which muscles can benefit most from Botox?

Neuromodulators work by binding to receptors on the muscle and blocking the signal sent from the nerve to “move.” The muscles that benefit the most are those that are contracting so strongly that they create medical issues, or those that can create a softer expression when weakened.

One of our most popular treatments is treating the masseter muscles of the jaw. We can improve tension headaches and save your tooth enamel by relaxing those muscles. Not to mention, an added benefit is a more tapered jawline and facial slimming. Another, newer treatment is injecting the superior portion of the trapezius muscle to relax the shoulders, elongate the neck, and relax muscle tension of that region. This has been popular for our patients who spend a lot of their day sitting at a desk, working on a computer.

Image by Belathée Photography

How long does Botox take to relax a muscle?

Depending on the specific brand of neuromodulator, you can start to see results a couple of days after the injections. However, full results usually take about two weeks to visualize. And full weakening of the muscle can take up to a month to fully appreciate.

The relaxing effect is twofold. First, we see an initial relaxing of the muscle when the neuromodulator fully kicks in around two weeks. Then, we see further relaxation when that muscle is no longer being used like it had been previously, which usually happens around one month after treatment. 

How often do you need to get new Botox injections?

Several factors determine how frequently you need to get new injections. Everyone metabolizes them a little differently. The most important is: how long does the effect last for you? On average, we see it last anywhere from 2.5-4 months. There are a few outliers that may go through it quicker or have it last closer to 6 months. And we’ve learned that the dosage used affects the duration—the more units, the stronger the initial effect, and the longer it will last.

Is Botox FDA-approved for tight muscles? Do Derms recommend it?

Yes! Botox is FDA-approved for the treatment for several conditions, including

  • Cervical dystonia, in which the neck muscles are involuntarily contracted and cause the head to twist to one side)
  • Overactive bladder leading to urine leakage
  • Prevention of chronic migraines
  • Blepharospasm and strabismus, aka involuntary blinking or crossing of the eyes).

All of these conditions stem from tight or overactive muscles. As dermatologists, we use many medications “off label” in the treatment of disease, as long as they have been proven safe for our patients. This includes neuromodulators for teeth grinding or jaw clenching, shoulder tension, excess sweating, and many different cosmetic benefits such as softening a gummy smile or frown line. 

Are there any risks to using Botox for muscle tension?

Thankfully, neuromodulators like Botox are pretty low risk because they are temporary. If Botox is placed incorrectly or diffuses into an unwanted muscle, then you can get undesirable effects like the dreaded eyelid drop or an asymmetric smile!

However, these things are rare with an experienced injector. Patients with baseline medical conditions involving muscle weakness (such as myasthenia gravis, for example) avoid neuromodulator injections, as well as anyone who has had a hypersensitivity or allergic reaction to neuromodulators, or pregnant women.

Are there any similar treatments to consider instead?

There are muscle-relaxing medications that are most often used temporarily after an acute injury, like a back strain. For chronically tight muscles, one can also consider gentle massage, physical therapy, targeted exercise, mindfulness, meditation, and acupuncture.

What else should we know before we go?

It’s not necessary to fully weaken or paralyze a muscle to see the cosmetic and medical benefits of Botox. We can tailor the dosage to your desired effect, and the results can be as subtle or strong as you please! Also, know that there are five different FDA-approved neuromodulators for use in the United States: Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, Jeaveu, and Daxxify. Each one has subtle differences in effect (and price) and you can discuss which one is best to fit your needs with your doctor. 

If you can, it’s best to avoid any blood thinners before receiving injections to minimize any risks of bruising. Things like aspirin, ibuprofen, fish oil, and even alcohol can thin the blood. After the injections, you can expect some mild swelling that will mostly dissipate in about 20 minutes, so it truly is a “lunchtime procedure.”

This Buzzy Wellness Drink is Trending—a Health Coach Shares Why It’s Actually Worth the Hype

Matcha, mushrooms, and dark leafy greens all prove that there’s no shortage of functional food options to pile on our plates. In the same vein, just as we’re getting ready to reach for our PSL, the lemon water movement still holds strong. And when it comes to the Ayurvedic practice, we’re proponents incorporating a citrus-spiked mug into our morning routines. Why? Because drinking lemon water in the morning comes with plenty of health-boosting benefits.

It’s said to promote digestion, flush out toxins, and be the ultimate gut detox. Many of the wellness elite claim to start every morning sipping the elixir and reaping the benefits day in and day out. But is lemon water really as good for you as it sounds and do its magical, purported benefits hold up? Is this holy grail of health really worth the hype?

Featured image by Michelle Nash.

The Expert

Today, we’re separating fact from fiction. For all the deets on this detoxifying beverage, we tapped Georgia Thompson, an Austin-based Integrative Nutrition Health Coach whose healthy hot takes and gentle approach to wellness keeps our social feeds positive, informed, and inspired.

Ahead, Georgia’s sharing everything you need to know about lemon water—from a breakdown of its benefits to how to make it a part of your own morning routine.

Image by Michelle Nash

The Benefits of Lemon Water in the Morning

I’m personally a huge lemon water fan! Above all, when we infuse water with anything that we enjoy—lemon, mint, cucumber, berries, etc.—we tend to be enticed to drink more of it. While, yes, lemon juice specifically does provide some health benefits, I think simply drinking MORE water is the biggest health benefit of adding lemon water into your daily wellness routine.

To get more specific, though, lemon juice contains a healthy dose of vitamin C (1/6 of your daily recommended amount in 1/2 lemon). The benefits of vitamin C include:

  • Supports our immune system.
  • Provides antioxidants that protect cells against free-radical damage.
  • Necessary for collagen production, iron absorption, and wound healing.

Likewise, the citric acid found in lemon juice can aid in digestion as it has been shown to boost gastric acid secretion, a digestive fluid that allows you to break down and digest food in the stomach. Just be careful as TOO much lemon might trigger acid reflux.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that lemon water is a weight loss or metabolism cure, but it certainly can be a part of the larger picture. Making small tweaks to your routine like swapping a sugary soda or juice with lemon water could indeed help weight loss. Yet it’s more about choosing this healthier alternative than the lemon water itself.

Image by Michelle Nash

How to Make Lemon Water a Part of Your Morning Routine

I recommend drinking lemon water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning as a reminder to hydrate before coffee (a common habit for many of us!). Plus, it can also be a wonderful way to wake up your digestive system.

If you’re looking for digestive benefits, I recommend enjoying lemon water before meals as the boost in gastric acid will help you more efficiently digest your food. But overall, anytime you remember to drink water is a good thing!

[Lemon water is] thought to help kickstart your digestive system which can be sluggish in the morning for many people. I likewise think it’s become popular in the morning as a way to hydrate and replenish first thing (especially before coffee or other dehydrating, caffeinated drinks).

Image by Michelle Nash

Do you drink lemon water? If so, what benefits have you noticed?

I love my “morning drink” which consists of warm water, lemon juice, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and cayenne pepper. This might be a bit intense for some people, so I’d recommend starting with just lemon water, adding some honey to the concoction or swapping cayenne with cinnamon. These additions add to the digestion-boosting benefits of lemon water.

I’ve personally found this drink helps when my digestion is sluggish, and it makes me mindful of hydrating more throughout the day when I make it a priority first thing in the morning.

This post was originally published on August 19, 2022, and has since been updated.

Shop Like a Pro—What to Buy at Costco That’s Actually Worth the Membership

When we think of shopping wholesale for our groceries and household items, there is one name that instantly comes to mind: Costco. There’s no doubt that Costco is the undisputed mother of bulk-buying heaven. And as the mother of two hungry and messy children, I can confidently say I am a proud member of the Costco cult. I even have a membership card to prove it. That’s why when folks are wondering the best things to buy at Costco, you better believe I’m happy (and perhaps unexpectedly thrilled) to show them the way.

Yes, I’ll admit that the bougier side of me once preferred a strict grocery shopping experience at Whole Foods or even Trader Joe’s. But after having kids, that’s a concept I had to put to bed—at least for the items that need to be bought in bulk. For things like spices, sauces, and high-quality veggies, I tend to do my shopping at smaller, local stores. However, for big things like meat and snacks for my family, Costco is practical and substantially more affordable than the leading grocery store. Sounds like a win-win!

Featured image by Michelle Nash.

Image by Christie Graham

The Best Things to Buy at Costco

It’s clear that many other parents agree, too. The only common downside to Costco is how overwhelming it can be sometimes. With that in mind, I thought I’d round up my list of the best things to buy at Costco. For even more insider insights into the wide world of bulk shopping, I tapped fellow Costco mom, Brittany, to share her top picks she never leaves the store without.

Below are all the items that make the shopping list before I head out. Who knows, they might just inspire your own Costco journey. Let’s get into it!

Snacks and Sweets

Naturally, food and beverage are the staples of Costco’s wholesale catalog. Who doesn’t love to stock their fridge and freezer with goodies after just one shopping trip? From family favorites to kid pleasers, Costco has it all. These are Brittany’s and my must-add items to your list.

Organic Pitted Deglet Noor Dates

Organic dates at Costco come in clutch for snack time (slather with nut butter!), to sweeten smoothies, to chop up for salads, to make your own date caramel—the price can’t be beat.

Organic Dried Mangoes

One of my favorite snacks that my kids also can’t get enough of. Mango makes a regular appearance in their lunch boxes.

Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

IYKYK. No peanut butter tastes better than this.

Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers

You must always leave Costco with something crunchy and snacky in your cart. Simple Mills Almond Flour crackers are addicting in the best way and buying them in bulk is the most affordable way to go.

Trubar Protein Bars

These protein bars are DECADENT and such a treat. Trubar is a woman-founded company and they knew what they were doing when they formulated protein bars that taste like cookie dough and donuts. Favorite Costco find of the year.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Maintaining a protein-heavy diet can be expensive. However, at Costco, you’ll find tons of affordable options for protein powder and pre-mixed shakes. Vital Proteins are one of my favorite clean protein options, and you can find almost any variety of the popular brand’s protein blends (from marine collagen to collagen peptides and its standard protein powders).

Humm Organic Probiotic Kombucha

Your favorite brands of kombucha in bulk? Yes, please! You can find Bend, Oregon-based Humm Organic Probiotic Kombucha on your local Costco shelves. Personally, even the Kirkland brand’s raw Ginger-Lemonade kombucha is a gut-friendly fave.

Harmless Harvest Organic Coconut Water

Harmless Harvest is one of our favorite coconut waters and Costco sells them six in a box. Essential for summer hydration and so good in smoothies.

Breakfast Foods

Kirkland Signature Bagels

If you’re someone who loves venturing out for your weekend bagel and coffee, I totally feel you. It’s a little luxury that I could always do with more in my life. But if you’re looking for a quick-and-easy option—whose price you can’t beat—Costco reigns supreme. I love that the bagels are water-boiled, making each nice and chewy on the inside while the exterior gets a crispy, golden-brown texture. I’d even go as far to say that their plain bagel is a treat—but the parmesan is my true fave.

Kodiak Pancake and Waffle Mix

A solid protein-fueled breakfast is essential for kids (and your) brain health going into a day of school (or work). When eggs or yogurt just won’t do, this mix gets the job done. And you can make more than just waffles or pancakes—the muffins and breakfast cookies are perfect to whip up for on the go or quick snacks.

Au Pain Doré Frozen Butter Croissants

For a fancier take on a morning pasty, stock up on some delicious, buttery croissants. They’re excellent from the bakery, but the Camille Styles team has even raved about our mutual love of the brand’s frozen croissants. While Costco’s in-house Kirkland brand offers them, my favorite are those from Au Pain Doré (a Montreal-based bakery). Hot tip: Bake yours in the air fryer and brush on a little egg wash before popping them in. You’ll get the perfect golden-brown croissant.

Meal Essentials

Kirkland Signature Pepperoni Pizza

Costco has some delicious options for pizza, both frozen and already baked. It’s definitely a must-have that will please the whole family (and is a great option when you have zero dinner plans).

Wild Alaskan Salmon Burgers

If you’re looking for a protein-fueled lunch or a quick dinner idea, a single salmon burger packs a whopping 20g of protein.

Organic Chicken Stock

Chicken stock is a pantry staple when it comes to sauces, pastas, soups, or even livening up rice. Kirkland’s Organic Chicken Stock is delicious on its own, so you know it’ll pump flavor into whatever you’re cooking. Plus, it’s made from simple ingredients—the same simple vegetables and spices I’d use if I were making stock at home.

Organic Smoked Chicken Sausage

These sausages are made from simple ingredients and the perfect jumping off point for a quick dinner. Grill with onions and peppers, slice and serve over pasta, roast on a sheet with veggies—easy and delicious.

Siete Almond Flour Tortillas

A personal favorite of mine. They’re great for quesadilla night or a simple lunchtime wrap. We’re obsessed with everything the famed Austin-based brand puts out. And while these tortillas taste purely authentic, they’re also friendly on your digestive system and keep you from feeling weighed down post-meal.

Home Items

At Costco, you can fill your fridge and furnish your home in one trip. In fact, they have a full home section where you can find tons of affordable pillows, blankets, and more. While I don’t personally take advantage of many of their household selections, some items that I do love to buy while on a Costco run include the following.

Pendleton Blankets

No matter what your vibe is at home, Pendleton blankets are the perfect way to cozy up your space. If you’re familiar with Pendleton, then you’ll be as blown away as I was to find it on sale at Costco. Perfect for you or as a gift. 

Toilet paper 

It’s not furniture, but it’s a household staple nonetheless. Arguably one of my favorite items to get at Costco is toilet paper in bulk. It usually lasts several months and yes, is unbelievably soft. If you were also traumatized by TP Gate 2020, you’ll never miss an opportunity to stock up at Costco.

Paper towels

… same goes for paper towels. When it comes to Costco, the brand excels in both the little things that make life a luxury (see Pendleton blanket and croissants above) as well as the staples every day requires.

Self-Care Buys

Much like household items, I still prefer to get lots of my makeup, body care, and skin care from other brands. However, Costco has some great options that you might find surprising. Here are a few I always add to my cart. 

Retinol

Everyone’s getting on the retinol train. PSA: While some of the pricey options do work like magic, budget buys can be just as effective. Below is my fave that delivers results, minus the harsh side effects.

Vitamin c 

We all know well that once you enter the supplements game, things can start getting expensive, fast. But if you shop at Costco, don’t pass up the opportunity to get solid picks at a fraction of the price of other brands. I take this Vitamin C every day to keep my cells healthy and happy and my body loves the results.

La Mer 

Lastly, one of the most surprising brands I have found at Costco is La Mer. Think what you will of Kim K, but her skin is flawless—and La Mer skin cream is her fave. So, of course, I’m going to jump at the opportunity to buy it in bulk. Costco really is the greatest.

Some Surprising Favorites

You may or may not know this, but Costco also sells some incredible activewear. (Gen Z is already way ahead of the trend.) But when I first found this out, I was in awe. Now, I can get a variety of different gym outfits to swap for different days of the week without having to spend a ton of money on the big athleisure brands. Game changer.

And of course, a Costco list for parents wouldn’t be complete without one last item: diapers. It seems like a no-brainer, but before I started shopping at Costco, it never registered that I could buy bulk diapers there. You’re welcome!

This post was originally published on February 28, 2023, and has since been updated.