Bad Botox can happen to good people — even famous people who have access to some of the best cosmetic dermatologists out there. It happened recently to Kelly Ripa, by her own admission on Wednesday during an episode of “Live With Kelly.” In her typically lighthearted way, Ripa recounted the experience to her guest host, Fox News political commentator Megyn Kelly.
“I’m going to tell you a story I’ve never told anyone,” the 46-year-old began. “I got bad Botox about … what was it, a year ago?” Producer Michael Gelman chimed in “Who’s counting?” from off-camera. “Ok, who’s counting?” Ripa retorted, then continued, “And it was bad. And it did something to my good side, so then I had two bad sides.”
She claims that the botched job affected her smile. “There was about a six-month period where people were like, ‘What’s wrong with Kelly? She doesn’t smile anymore. And I’m like, ‘I am smiling!’” Ripa says she’s now starting to look like herself again, but the experience must have been somewhat traumatic because she told Kelly, “I won’t talk about it beyond that.”
It’s understandable that Ripa would be disturbed by the cosmetic catastrophe — it’s her face, after all. Some known side effects of bad Botox include crooked facial expressions, including a lopsided smile — like Ripa’s — or droopy eyelids that sometimes mimic the look of a stroke victim. Seeing a face you don’t recognize in the mirror — especially if it’s one you don’t like — can have heavy psychological fallout.
One plastic surgeon told Forbes “she’s seen cases where Botox injections, which paralyze certain facial muscles, caused the other active muscles to appear strangely overpowering and ‘odd.’” Plastic surgeon Robin Yuan told Forbes, “If there is a problem and the patient is not emotionally stable or financially secure, the results can be disastrous. A person who is already insecure about an aspect of their appearance may suffer a severe blow to their confidence if the [procedure] goes awry.”
If you’re on the receiving end of a botched Botox treatment, though, there is hope. The first thing to remember, as Ripa learned, is that it’s not permanent. According to Alexander L. Blinski, MD, who gives Botox treatment to patients at his New York office, Botox typically lasts about three months. “Botox is one of the fastest-growing noninvasive cosmetic procedures in the country. [It can] shave a few years off their face or prevent signs of early aging,” Blinski tells Yahoo Beauty. “Unfortunately, with the growth of Botox’s popularity come increased risks, inexperienced injectors, and counterfeit Botox.”
If you’ve had the injections and don’t like the results right away, be patient, Blinksi advises. “It’s important to wait for the Botox to take full effect before judging the results. Always wait five to seven days for the full effect to settle in. Sometimes certain locations work faster than others.”
Related: When to Lift and When to Fill
But let’s say you’ve waited the requisite week and you’re still dissatisfied and yearning for your former face again. Then what? “Contact your injector. In most cases the problem can be fixed with a little more Botox injected properly,” Blinksi says, noting that the most common side effect of bad Botox is what he calls “the Jack Nicholson look” and that “it’s usually from undertreatment or poor injection technique. Most experienced injectors will warn you if you are a tough case and what to do if you do have ‘bad injections,’” he adds.
If your problem is less about your smile and more about droopy eyelids or heavy brows, though, you can still do something about it, but “these can be more complicated to fix,” Blinski says, “but [they] can be alleviated with medication or further injections.”
Or you can just wait it out. If you’re thinking of getting Botox shots, Blinski strongly advises doing your homework first. “Botox is a great procedure that has been shown to make people look better and feel better about themselves,” he says, but “always do your research and use someone you trust to be your injector.”