News center
We aim to offer the best products at the most attractive prices.

What Not To Do When Getting Botox According To A Nurse Practitioner

Aug 31, 2023

Ashley Carmen thought she was just going to brunch with her best friend when she was introduced to Botox for the first time.

"I was instantly intrigued by the way neurotoxins worked after having experienced their effects myself," Carmen tells of the experience. (Botox is a type of neurotoxin that stops muscles from contracting, preventing wrinkles.)

The Virginia-based nurse practitioner says she continued her job as a critical bare bedside nurse for a few years after that first encounter while she found the best route to pursuing a career as an aesthetic injector.

"I pursued grad school and became a family nurse practitioner and started to delve deeper into aesthetics," Carmen says. "I dedicated a lot of time and money to education and training."

After working at a few locations throughout the Washington, D.C.-area, Carmen decided she wanted to open her own practice.

"I wanted to create my own unique experience," Carmen says of her brand, Aiyana Atelier.

Even though skin care hacks seem to always go viral on TikTok and TikTok, Carmen says there's no "magic" approach to preserving your skin.

"Taking care of your skin and injectables go hand in hand," she explains. "Just because you have a neurotoxin in your face doesn't mean skin tone, texture and quality magically improve. Regimented skin care can not only help all of those things, but some topical products can actually help increase the longevity of your neurotoxin."

After practicing for 17 years, Carmen tells she has seen many patients and has one hard and fast rule for anyone seeking aesthetic treatments.

"Don't ever let an injector — or anyone for that matter — tell you what they think you need done," she says. "If you are asking for my opinion, I will provide my feedback ... based on my knowledge and experience ... to guide the treatments needed to help you meet your aesthetic goals."

Carmen tells she has five non-negotiables when it comes to skincare.

Carmen tells that here are "so many gimmicky devices and tricks out there" that it's wise to always seek out a qualified, trained professional.

"From ‘slugging’ to at-home micro-needling, the kitchen ingredients that folks decide to use as a holy grail — honestly, the things that people tell me they’ve done in their homes is truly baffling," she says. "Not only are some of them disturbing, (but) some can cause so much more harm than good."

Carmen says that some facilities will offer discounts on neurotoxins and fillers to draw in new customers, but buyer beware. She says that these places aren't usually offering price reductions because they got a good deal on the product; rather, it might be a sign that you should try to find another provider.

"I feel like (discounts are) devaluing the skill behind the syringe," she says. "I spend a lot of time, money and energy training myself and others to learn the latest and greatest. This industry is forever changing, and if you are not seeking to learn and grow, then you are not investing in your patient outcomes."

Standard post-care instructions for patients receiving neurotoxin injections include staying upright for four to six hours and avoiding vigorous workouts.

"I don't say this stuff for my health," Carmen says of instructing patients to avoid workouts for at least 48 hours. "There are certain dos and don'ts — especially for the first timers — that you should adhere to for the best outcomes and to prevent the product from spreading to places where it shouldn't."

Carmen tells that she has spent a lot of time curating a very specific vibe at her practice using colors, textures and scents that appeal to senses.

"It's all very intentional," she says. "The last feeling I want you to have is that of your primary care physician's office. Aesthetics is very much medicine, but who is to say it can't be comfortable, inviting and cozy?"

Sometimes a skin care routine can seem daunting and tedious, but Carmen explains that, like any habit, it takes time for it to become consistent and efficient. And unfortunately, there's not "one magic product," she says, that combines everything she recommends — such as hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, retinol (time released at night only), moisturizer, SPF, eye gel and neck cream.

But Carmen has some encouraging words for those taking proper steps with their skin: "The best part is that after regular use, the prize is gorgeous skin that makes you want to keep it up."

Kait Hanson is a lifestyle reporter for TODAY. A graduate of Penn State University, she began her career in collegiate sports communications.