Botox & Fillers Services Offered in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA

Boutique Aesthetic Spa & Body Contouring Specialists providing Lumecca: IPL services to Santa Monica, CA. To book an appointment at Self Care LA, call us at 323-645-2523

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Our Services / Botox & Fillers

If the development of wrinkles and fine lines is changing your perception of your face, Botox® and fillers can minimize some of the newest age-related differences. At Self Care LA in Santa Monica, California, aesthetic injector Bharat Kothakota, MD, MPH, injects Botox and fillers with a careful hand and artistic eye. To find out if Botox and fillers can help you reach your cosmetic goals, call Self Care LA or book an appointment online today.

Botox & Fillers Q & A

How long does Botox last? 

  • On average, Botox lasts between 4-6 months. It can still vary from patient to patient based on a multitude of factors, including age and metabolism.  

What is Botox? 

  • It is a botulinum toxin that is used to relax muscles. Botox is designed to cause a transient interruption of the nerve signal between muscles. We have now used Botox for years to treat ‘dynamic’ wrinkles caused by repetitive muscle movements.  
  • Botox is an FDA-approved treatment most commonly used to treat the forehead, crow's feet, and frown lines. 
  • At Self Care LA, we commonly use Botox to treat other areas, such as the wrinkles around the mouth (smokers’ lines), the wrinkles around the nose (bunny lines), and the dimpling of the chin and the neck bands.  
  • Incredibly popular treatments are the ‘brow lift’ and the ‘lip flip’. Our highly trained medical professionals can walk you through this process.  
  • We can even use Botox to treat your Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. Not only can it reduce your headaches and grinding, but it also has the nice effect of slimming down your facial profile.  

How much is Botox? 

  • Botox prices vary quite a bit between different providers and in different markets. At Self Care LA, we consider ourselves to be ‘market competitive’ with a price of $12/unit. For the experience of our medical providers and the quality of your outcome, it is an incredible value.  

How many units of Botox for the forehead? 

  • This can vary from patient to patient. Often for a new patient, I like to inject a half-dose of botox so that the patient can understand what botox feels like. It is very easy to give someone more botox; you can never take away ‘too much’ botox. Once we know how a patient reacts to botox, we can easily change injection sites and increase the dosage to provide optimal results. 
  • On average, it takes about 20-24 units to effectively treat someone’s forehead.  

How long does it take for Botox to work? 

  • The majority of patients see results of Botox within a week. But I would say to wait at least two weeks to evaluate how the Botox is working. For new clients, I always encourage having them come back in 2 weeks so we can see how the Botox looks and make adjustments accordingly.  

Is Botox Safe? 

  • Botox is FDA-approved, so it is considered safe in the dosages we use for treating fine lines and wrinkles.  
  • There is a minimal risk profile associated with botox when patients are deemed an appropriate candidates. Main side effects include temporary bruising at the injection site and possible eyelid drooping (ptosis) if injected too low on the forehead.  
  • Our experienced medical staff at Self Care LA can help determine if Botox is the right treatment for your needs.  

Can you get Botox while pregnant? 

  • There are no studies that demonstrate the safety of Botox in pregnant and breastfeeding patients. 
  • As a purely elective procedure, I would suggest that you wait until you are no longer pregnant and/or breastfeeding before we consider treating you with Botox.  

What happens during my Botox session? 

  • Once one of our medical providers assesses you to make sure you are a candidate for Botox, photos are taken (the before’s), and a plan is formulated in terms of where to inject and how much to inject. If it is your first time, we err on the conservative side and inject less. We want you to understand how it feels. We can always inject more during future sessions.  
  • We clean your face using SkinCeuticals products in order to minimize the risk of infection.  
  • The injection process itself is fairly quick. Normally it takes a few minutes.  
  • After injecting, we clean your face again and massage the injection sites down so the world doesn’t have to know you just got botox =).  

Is there any downtime to Botox? 

  • One of the benefits of Botox is that there is hardly any downtime! We use a very small needle, and our skilled medical team makes the process seamless and painless. When you leave, there may be some small bumps on your face that should be gone within the hour. 
  • While bruising is possible, it can be easily treated by icing.  
  • The day you receive Botox injections, you will need to avoid working out (sweating) and makeup and laying down for the next 3-4 hours. The next day you can do whatever you want! 

How long does it take for Botox to kick in? 

  • Literature suggests that about 80% of patients see results within the first week. From personal experience, I say people start seeing results within the first 3-4 days.  
  • I would say the Botox has truly kicked in by the 2-week mark, and that’s a good time to assess and see if you are happy with your injection pattern.  

Do I look ‘older’ if I stop treating with Botox? 

  • This is a fairly common misconception. Nothing suggests that stopping Botox or taking a break from Botox will make you look older. You are merely allowing your ‘natural age’ to present itself, which may be quite a different presentation from when you first started using Botox. 

Are there alternatives to Botox? 

  • While Botox by Allergan is probably the most recognizable botulinum toxin A product, there are alternatives on the market.  
  • We also carry and use Dysport (Galderma) quite regularly. It is also Botulinum toxin A but with a slightly different formulation. It is also FDA-approved to treat the same fine lines and wrinkles. Outside of Botox by Allergan, I also see incredible results with Dysport.  


What are Dermal Fillers? 

  • These products are used to smooth wrinkles and create volume in areas such as the under eyes and the cheeks. We can add shape and volume to the lips and help sculpt the chin and jawline. 
  • As people page, they lose fat on their faces, which causes sagging and drooping of the skin. Dermal fillers are one way to fill that space, restore volume and correct those resulting wrinkles.  
  • Hyaluronic Acid fillers have taken over as the predominant dermal filler in the marketplace as they can be dissolved if need be. While other dermal fillers exist, at Self Care LA, we are proud to carry the entire line of Juvederm fillers.  

How long do Dermal Fillers last? 

  • Despite being a fairly simple and quick procedure (usually less than an hour), Hyaluronic Acid based fillers can last up to 2 years, depending on the product used and the area treated. Other filler types like Sculptra can last longer but cannot be dissolved like the Hyaluronic Acid based fillers.  

How much are dermal fillers? 

  • There is a significant range in cost, depending on what product is used and how many syringes are required. 
  • A single syringe is between $700-$1000. One of our experienced medical professionals can determine what product is right for your goals and how many syringes will be required.  

Are dermal fillers safe? 

  • Each product in the Juvederm family is FDA-approved for the treatment of their designated areas. These fillers are considered safe when used in the appropriate areas and used in the correct amounts.  
  • Possible complications from filler include bruising and some nodules. If the filler is incorrectly injected into an artery, then it can cause vascular occlusion and tissue necrosis. That is why using Hyaluronic acid-based fillers is so important because then it can be dissolved without any lasting effects.  
  • Our experienced medical team at Self Care LA uses the safest techniques possible to minimize these risks but knows how to quickly recognize and treat any of these complications.  

Do dermal fillers cause cancer? 

  • Dermal Fillers have been studied extensively, and those products that are FDA-approved are not known to cause cancer.  
  • Products like Juvederm are Hyaluronic Acid based. Hyaluronic acid is naturally occurring in the body and helps stimulate collagen production.  
  • This applies to products from brands such as Allergan (i.e. the Juvederm family). Such a claim cannot be made for products that are not backed with FDA approval.  
  • There are numerous sources on the internet where patients have purchased and injected their own dermal fillers. This is indeed a dangerous practice, as injecting dermal fillers requires medical knowledge and years of training. Such a safety claim cannot be made for those ‘counterfeit’ products.  

What to expect after dermal fillers? 

  • Once you complete your treatment, you may experience some bruising, which is fairly common. Icing will help. And after a day or so, you can wear makeup to cover any bruising.  
  • Pain isn’t common after treatment is completed. If you experience continued pain, please let your injector know so you can be re-evaluated.  
  • vascular occlusions are typically apparent during the time of treatment. It presents as an area of discolouration resulting from a lack of blood supply. It can be treated immediately with massages, warm compresses, aspirin, and Hyalenex used to dissolve the filler.   

Are dermal fillers permanent? 

  • Certain dermal fillers like Sculptra are considered semi-permanent and can last several years.  
  • The Juvederm products are designed to last 1-2 years and will require annual touchups to maintain the look.  

What happens during a dermal filler treatment? 

  • You will have a consultation with one of our experienced medical professionals. We will help you decide what products to use and how many syringes will be required to achieve your aesthetic goals.  
  • We will then numb you with a topical anaesthetic for about 30 minutes. Once you are adequately numbed, we will clean your face with Skinceutical products to minimise infection risks.  
  • Our medical team will then start marking your face in order to determine where to inject the dermal fillers. 
  • Using either a needle or a blunt-tipped cannula, the filler is slowly injected into the desired treatment area. The results will be immediate, and the goal is to treat to correction and not to overcorrect. 
  • After treatment, we will apply Skinceutical products to optimize your results and provide an ice pack.  
  • Most clients are in and out in an hour.  


Is there downtime for filler? 

  • There will be some minimal bruising and swelling. We recommend no makeup or workouts for the first 24 hours. After that, you can apply makeup to cover any bruising.  
  • Especially for first-time patients, the filler may feel somewhat bumpy in the treated area and will take about two weeks to smooth out. 
  • I would recommend discussing any events you may have with our experienced medical team, so we can advise how to time your dermal filler treatments.