Will It Hurt? The Truth About Cosmetic Procedure Pain

Too nervous to go through with your cosmetic procedure? Dr. Diane Wong shares what every person needs to know about cosmetic procedure anxiety.

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I want to try a cosmetic procedure, but I’m nervous. Is this normal?

Yes, I find that many women are nervous the first time they come in. Usually, they’re worried about the treatment outcome, afraid that they won’t look like themselves or that they will look “done” or “overdone” and others will know that they did something. They are afraid of looking fake or looking like some of the people they see on TV, in the movies or in magazines.

I take a “baby steps” approach to treatments. I reassure my clients that we can take it slow and add more if we need to. We want to keep it natural and keep you looking like yourself. The aim is to look refreshed and less tired, not necessarily 20 years younger.

The next thing women worry about is downtime. Most women don’t want to have to take time off from work or their activities. Typically, people are busier now than ever and can’t afford downtime. They worry that they will bruise or swell from injectables, peel from a chemical peel or experience dark spots or redness after lasers.

Most of the treatments we specialize in are “lunchtime treatments.” We also customize and combine treatments with effective skin care products or even supplements that can calm and soothe the skin after treatments. For instance, after Botox or dermal filler injections, we offer the option of Arnica tablets or gel that can help reduce any swelling or bruising. After laser treatments, we apply calming, soothing balms.

If we do intense pulsed light treatments with someone who has a lot of sun damage, there may be flaking of the pigment about 10 to 14 days afterward, so we recommend an exfoliating treatment, such as a chemical peel, at that time.

Coping With Cosmetic Procedure Anxiety

There are probably many people who fear pain and perhaps never get as far as coming in for a consultation. The fear of needles with Botox and dermal fillers can be daunting. Rest assured, though, that most people say that it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be after their initial treatments.

Some clients had dermal fillers many years ago, prior to lidocaine freezing being incorporated into most dermal fillers, and remember the pain from back then. But they can be reassured that the comfort level is much better now, like night and day. We’ve come a long way!

Finally, certain techniques can alleviate discomfort. Taking the time to educate clients and explain treatments and outcomes is crucial. Knowing what to expect with each treatment and with each step of the treatment is important. I always prepare clients well, and if they have any discomfort, I acknowledge it and pause as necessary. A calm, soothing voice and gentle bedside manner can go a long way to quelling their fears.

Dr. Diane Wong is a cosmetic physician and owner of Glow Medi Spa, glowmedispa.ca.