A few weeks ago, Whitney Buha woke up and realized something had gone seriously wrong with her Botox.
Since entering her thirties, Buha, a Chicago-based blogger and influencer who shares her lifestyle and fashion tips on @somethingwhitty, has gotten Botox, usually about two times a year. After her last appointment at a local med spa, her eyebrows didn't look right. Her left eyebrow sagged and didn't have an arch.
She went back to the spa, six days later, to fix the issue. A few days after that, when she woke up, her eye just didn't feel right. She looked in the mirror and saw this.
Buha's eyelid had become droopy, a condition she later learned is called ptosis. As the days went on, the problem only got more severe. To make matters worse, her other eye, trying to overcompensate for the reduction in vision, began to bug out.
At this point, she told BuzzFeed News, she really started to panic.
"I was getting scared that a) this was going to be permanent or b) this was going to really affect my eyes or my vision long term," she said.
At first, Buha, who works full-time in marketing in addition to blogging, tried to hide her eye while filming Instagram stories. But after she mentioned she was covering her eye because of a Botox mishap, followers asked to see what was going on.
So Buha decided to embrace it, sharing daily updates on her situation. Her followers loved it, and, although she never expected it to happen, her following and engagement exploded.
"People are so invested in this and want to know what's happening," she said.
Followers particularly seem to appreciate that Buha is sharing everything about the experience. In an industry that is often criticized as fake, with some influencers refusing to admit they get any work done at all, Buha's candor has been seen as a breath of fresh air.
She's even posted Reels making fun of the situation.
"The strength and honesty to tell this story is amazing. You have the best attitude for this industry. Makes me admire you so much more," wrote one commenter.
What happened to Buha is very rare, Dr. Alan Matarasso, a New York City–based plastic surgeon who served as the president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, told BuzzFeed News. He explained that this type of complication most typically occurs when the Botox fluid seeps from its intended muscle into a nearby muscle that controls the eyelid. Luckily, he said, it's temporary.
"This is totally reversible," he said.
As for Buha, her eye seems to be slowly getting better. She met with a plastic surgeon, who told her the eye droop was the worst they have ever seen. She then saw a nurse who serves as a medical director at a local med spa, who recommended they actually do more Botox to lift Buha's eyelid. The nurse also prescribed eyedrops, which Matarasso also recommended.
After some debate, Buha got the additional Botox, which should take a few weeks to kick in. In the meantime, she is attempting to speed up the process by trying other remedies, like massaging and steaming her eye, which she also documented for her fans, who are eager for updates.
For anyone who reads Buha's story and is concerned about their next Botox treatment, Matarasso said the best thing a patient can do is make sure their provider is fully vetted and that they are clear on the aftercare instructions for their procedure. He also said the patient should ensure that the provider has enough experience to be able to quickly remedy a problem with the Botox if one arises.
"That's really important," he said of making sure your provider knows how to fix an issue. "Because God forbid this happens."
Buha said she hasn't been super upset about the situation, noting that knowing it is a temporary problem has helped.
"I feel like the year that we've all had, it's just been such a crazy year and it's not been a great year for anybody," she said. "So this was kind of another thing that I'm like, Well, this is just something that's happening, and we're just going to get past it."
She also has been thankful for all the support and advice from her followers, who she said have been mostly positive besides some trolling comments. And, perhaps surprisingly, she isn't swearing off Botox for good, but she will be more choosey about who she lets inject her.
"If you have Botox and it's done right, I love it," she said. "It looks great. It makes me feel better."