Botox has become a household name for anyone who cares for their skin, and is often the first treatment that comes to mind as wrinkles begin to appear. Read more to learn how Botox can help you look and feel younger!
Is Botox safe?
Botox stands for botulinum toxin, and, while it is the most recognizable name of the available neurotoxins, there are others, as well—Dysport, Xeomin, and soon Jeauveau.—all of which are derived from bacteria. While it might sound scary to have a toxin injected into you!, Botox is extremely safe and has been used as a medical treatment for well over 50 years. Botox was discovered in the 1820s by Dr. Justinus Kerner, and its safety and efficacy have been studied for centuries, with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving it as safe for medical use in 1989, and then for cosmetic use in 2002. Today, it is the only treatment approved to improve crow’s feet, forehead lines, and frown lines. The amount of Botox used around the world is a testament to its safety. While over 13 million vials have been sold in the United States alone, Botox is approved in almost 100 countries,and there are countless studies in scientific journals attesting to its safety and efficacy profile when performed by an experienced injector. A board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon is the right person to go to for this procedure.
Is Botox Effective?
An experienced injector can target the correct amount of Botox into the intended muscle to achieve the desired effect of improving wrinkles. Most patients are extremely satisfied with the results, which appear within a few days. Botox should be reinjected every 4-6 months initially to maintain optimal results. Gradually, your muscles will be “re-trained” to move less, so that over time, you will need fewer injections to maintain the desired result.
In addition to improving appearance, Botox has also been effective for a variety of medical conditions including hyperhidrosis (excess sweating) and migraines. Recently, Botox has been shown to improve mood as well.
Botox works by inhibiting muscle contractions—but how does that counteract facial lines? Well, remember the old adage we attribute to our mothers—-“Don’t make that face or it will stay like that!”? Well, your mother was well ahead of her time in understanding that. Over time, the repeated contraction of muscles, combined with increasing laxity of skin, causes permanent creases or wrinkles to develop. Think of it like the dry cleaner pressing creases into your pants. After a few cleanings, those creases cannot be undone, Of course there are many other things which contribute to the overall aging of skin, some of which happen to everyone and some are compounded by things like sun exposure and smoking. The sun and overall environment are responsible for producing free radicals in the skin, which cause damage at the cellular level and thus induce a variety of changes to make the skin lose collagen and elasticity, develop pigment abnormalities, and lose the glow of youth. And as our chronological age increases, so do the number of times we squint, frown, smile and look surprised—all of which contribute to the eventual lines we call our “elevens” between our brows, our “crow’s feet” around our eyes, and our “forehead lines.” Depending on our facial structure and pattern of movement, each of us develops a different pattern of wrinkling. And sometimes looking at one’s parents can give a sneak preview into the future for our lines.
Over the last few years, Botox has been used more and more frequently in younger patients to PREVENT deep lines from forming , which will surely prove to be helpful as younger patients are also becoming more attentive to ALL of the necessary steps to keep themselves looking great for longer. And the number of men receiving cosmetic treatments has literally tripled in the last decade, with over a million Botox treatments performed on men in just the last three years!
What should I expect from my Botox injections?
An experienced dermatologist will first evaluate your face to identify areas that will benefit from Botox to make you naturally appear more youthful and rested. After this evaluation, the Botox will be injected with a few small pinches that are similar to mosquito bites, and you will be ready to return to work or other regularly scheduled activities immediately afterward. Because it takes a few hours for the Botox to be fully absorbed by the muscle, you should avoid heavy exercise or laying with your face prone or head upside down for a few hours. You will begin to notice results in a few days, and see the full effects in one to two weeks. Some, but not all, patients require a quick touch-up at this point to achieve optimal correction.
When done correctly by an experienced injector, Botox gives a natural look and you will continue to have expression in your face. This is why it is so crucial that you be injected by an expert in facial anatomy, such as your dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Friends and family will usually comment that you are “well-rested,” or ask if there are any changes to your skincare routine. You will look like you, but with lines that are less noticeable.
What are some myths about Botox?
Many people think that they don’t have time for Botox, or that changes will be permanent. Others are concerned that Botox will give them a “frozen” look, that they’re too young for Botox, or that Botox is only for people of one gender. None of these is true! It’s also important to realize that everyone’s face moves differently, and the art of injecting Botox is figuring out which muscles are appropriate for treatment. Some of us have eyebrows that are naturally straight, or naturally arched, and each shape requires its own injection pattern. Same goes for forehead lines, because sometimes the forehead muscles need to remain active to keep your brows lifted, and this will be evaluated thoroughly by a skilled injector. As a result of our individual anatomy and movement pattern, not everyone will be able to eliminate particular lines which might bother them. So just because your friend was able to erase all of her forehead lines, that doesn’t mean those results are achievable in YOU.
Botox works with busy schedules because the treatment itself takes less than ten minutes, and, other than minor bruising in some patients, there is no downtime. Yes, there is maintenance every few months because the results are not permanent, but this is not much different from the need for maintenance of our haircuts, haircolor, teeth cleaning, etc.