I Went in for Varicose Veins and Came out With Botox

There I was, trying on cutoff jean shorts in the Nordstrom Rack dressing room, when I first saw it in the three-way mirror.


Long, wiggly and bright blue, a vein that should have been deep inside my leg seemed to be resting on the surface, just above the back of my right knee. It felt bumpy under my fingers, and I pulled my hand away as if I’d accidentally touched a worm. Gross.

A panicky call to my mom revealed that varicose veins run in our family. My mother and grandmother both had them, only you wouldn’t know it, because they got them fixed so fast.

It turns out we’re all pretty vain about our veins.

I wanted help with mine, but wasn’t sure how to find the right specialist. Then one day, inspiration struck. I was watching a marathon of Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian and saw a woman having some unsightly veins zapped by laser at a medical spa. A spa sounded much more fun than a doctor, so I booked an appointment. (An advantage of living in Los Angeles, as I do, is that you can actually go to the same spa you just saw on TV.)

A week later, I pulled up to a gleaming white spa castle filled with pampered ladies carrying very expensive purses. The waiting area was like a library of cosmetic procedures, and I couldn’t stop reading. I studied up on a non-surgical facelift, cheek fillers and some sort of voodoo that restarts collagen production in aging skin. I had come in for my leg, and suddenly I wanted to redo my entire body.

The glamazon who met me in the exam room wasn’t an MD, but she took a detailed medical history from me that no aesthetician had ever requested. I felt like I was in good, very manicured hands. Unfortunately, once I dropped trou and she got a look at the snake monster growing out of my hamstring, she had some bad news: “I’m sorry. We treat spider veins here, not varicose veins. You’ll have to see a doctor.”

I must have looked so crestfallen, because a few seconds later, she followed up with, “Can I do anything else for you while you’re here?”

There was a long pause, during which an angel and devil battled it out in my brain.

Angel: You look great for your age! Save your money and go home.

Devil: You’re already here! See if they do that Face/Off operation and you can swap with a 22-year-old.

And then these fateful words came out of my mouth: “I don’t know, what would you do?”

“Just a little Botox to relax these lines,” said the glamazon, gently tracing the frown in my forehead. This sounded like an excellent idea. I mean, I like deep grooves in dance music, but not in my face.

Still, I felt nervous as a lay back on the exam table. Would it hurt? What if I ended up looking like a frozen-faced Real Housewife? What if it cost a fortune and why hadn’t I bothered to ask?

But everything went fine. I barely felt the needles, I didn’t experience any bruising, and the bill wasn’t even that shocking. The disappointment came when I looked in the mirror and saw no immediate change, since it can take a week or so to see the effects. So I waited, spending untold minutes making faces in my magnifying mirror, wondering what would happen. And then one day I woke up and it was as if magic Photoshop fairies had airbrushed my forehead.

I immediately scheduled my next Botox appointment for 4 months from now.

The varicose veins will have to wait.

Image via Getty