I recently had some “anti-wrinkle injections” done in my masseter muscles at Sydney Cosmetic Clinic in order to reduce their size. This is a really popular procedure in Korea where they’re obsessed with creating a “V-line” face with a soft jaw and a pointy chin. It’s becoming more popular in Western countries too.
Now I don’t have wrinkles in my jaw muscles, and I think you can easily guess what I got injected into my jaw, but since I was invited to get the procedure done, I’m covered by the TGA guidelines which forbid me from mentioning “active ingredients in such products and abbreviations of either the trade or ingredient names”. I’ve discussed how these procedures work in the past, but I thought I’d better explain why I’m not using the word in this particular post because it certainly seems weird.
With that out of the way, here’s my experience!
Why did I get this done?
Mostly curiosity, with a bit of vanity.
I’m a fan of “beauty at any age” and I don’t want the overly fake plastic surgery Barbie look. But I’m self-aware enough to realise that I’m genetically blessed to have reasonably attractive features and am lucky enough to be in a situation where my self-esteem is decent. Because of that, I don’t judge people who get cosmetic procedures, and I can imagine that my feelings towards getting them might change in the future.
(I guess the reason I’m putting all these metacognitive ramblings here is because I find it very weird that lots of beauty bloggers and vloggers get cosmetic procedures done and but few mention them – for fear of judgement, I assume. It’s especially weird when they put their face out there and expect people not to notice…)
I’ve inherited a rather square jaw shape from my mum. Additionally, my body likes to put on muscle (thanks dad!) and I like to eat, plus I grind my teeth a little in my sleep which has caused my masseter muscles to get a bit…swole. My mouth is also on the narrow side. This means that overall my jaw looks more square than average. While I’ve grown to accept this, it’s still one of the first places I contour, and I wouldn’t mind slimming it down a bit.
These injections paralyse muscles, which is why they’re used to freeze “wrinkles in motion”. They can also be used to stop the masseter muscles from activating as much, so they wither down over time. The effects aren’t as radical as for V-line surgery where they shave down and move around bits of your jawbone, but it’s a lot less painful, less expensive and far far safer – and for some people, these injections can make a huge difference, depending on your anatomy.
The nighttime jaw clenching has also meant that I often wake up with a sore jaw. These injections are also sometimes used to treat this, so I figured this treatment could conveniently help on that front too!
My masseter reduction injections were performed by Dr George Mayson at the Sydney Cosmetic Clinic, situated in the CBD about 5 minutes from Town Hall station, opposite Hyde Park. Dr Mayson was the first person to start performing these cosmetic injections in Australia back in 1994, and was trained first-hand by Dr Jean Carruthers who pioneered the treatment, so I knew I was in good hands.
I get nervous about needles and injections, so I was feeling pretty jittery in the waiting room. But the receptionist made sure I felt comfortable and answered all my panicky questions cheerfully (“Does it hurt? No really, does it hurt? Are you sure?”). She reassured me that it would be less painful than a vaccine, which I really doubted at the time. I filled in some forms and read a very detailed information booklet on the active ingredients while I waited.
I was led into one of the rooms, where Dr Mayson examined me and marked out my masseter muscles with a pencil. He described what the expected results would be based on my face shape, and talked me through the details of the process.
I received 25 units in each side – the exact amount you get varies depending on what your anatomy is like, and on which brand is used. There were about 16 injections in total, which sounds like a lot but it was over very quickly thanks to the tiny volume of each injection! Each side took around 10 seconds.
And the receptionist was right – it did hurt less than a vaccine! All I felt was a mild stinging which went away after a few minutes, with none of the tender feeling I usually get after a vaccine. Vaccines use thicker needles (23-25 gauge for vaccines vs the 32 gauge insulin needles commonly used for these cosmetic injections), and a lot more liquid is injected into one spot very slowly (I swear I end up telling the injector my entire life story while the vaccine needle’s in my arm). Since the masseter is a pretty big muscle as well, it’s meant to hurt less than the forehead where the injector can accidentally hit the bone, although this happens very rarely, especially with an experienced injector. The anticipation was way worse than actual procedure!
Immediately After the Injections
Afterwards, you’re not meant to rub the injected areas for four hours to avoid spreading the ingredient and weakening nearby muscles. There’s a risk of bruising and swelling for a day or so afterwards, but all I had were tiny injection marks that people at work didn’t notice. Here’s what my cheek looked like 6 hours later (some of the red dots are actually old pimple marks).
It takes a few days for the injections to set in, and the visible effects increase over the first couple of weeks and reach a maximum after 2 to 9 weeks, depending on who you ask. Typically masseter reduction takes a bit longer than other treatments for visible effects, since not only do the muscles need to be paralysed, they also need time to atrophy.
Going to sleep the first night felt a bit weird, though I think it was mostly the fact I was more conscious of my jaw than usual. The next few mornings though, my jaw felt especially weird – from a notable lack of stiffness! Clearly, the injections do work very quickly for jaw grinding (although the issues will return after they wear off in 3-9 months time).
Interestingly, I found that after a long chewy jerky eating session a week later (I am a disgusting eatbeast), muscles near the front of my face started aching – probably because they were being used more now to compensate for the loss of strength of the masseter muscles. Don’t enter any extreme chewing competitions after these treatments.
As for the jaw slimming – here are some before and after shots at 3.5 weeks. It turns out that it’s a lot more difficult to take photos from the exact same angle! I’ve tried my darnedest to dig up some good examples though, so hopefully you get an idea of the effects they had on me so far. It’s subtle, but definitely noticeable! I’ve especially noticed the difference when posing for selfies – my usual angle no longer looks the same!
Unflattering bathroom selfies with the contrast amped up to show the effects more clearly. The first photo is the day of the injection, the second is three weeks later. You can see how my face shape has gotten softer around the jawline.
It’ll be interesting to see if any more changes occur in a few more weeks!
Would I get this done again? I’m not sure – while I’m impressed that such a quick, virtually painless procedure is able to change the shape of my face, my original jaw shape and the pain from grinding doesn’t bother me enough to justify the price. If my masseters grow to the point where they really annoyed me it would be worth it – in the worst case scenario where it only lasts 3 months, this treatment typically works out to be $4-14 a day in Australia (less after the first treatment, as the muscles won’t need as much product once they’ve been reduced). Again, we’ll see if there are more noticeable differences before I give my final verdict!
What do you think of masseter reduction injections? Share your thoughts below!
This procedure was provided for review, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.