Life has its ups and downs, but if the negatives are starting to show on your face in the form of frown lines, also known as 11s, then Botox may be on your wish list. You’d be in good company, too, since patients received more than 7 million injections in 2016 alone. It seems as though Botox has been around forever, but we thought you’d appreciate receiving answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this wonder drug just in case you’re considering a visit to your nearest dermatologist or physician.
What is Botox?
Botox, or at least botulinum toxin, has an interesting background. Before receiving FDA approval as a wrinkle treatment, it was used to relax the muscles that cause crossed eyes and eyelid spasms. How it became the gold standard for relaxing forehead wrinkles is pure coincidence, but by the late 90s, Botox had taken the world by storm. Since 2002, Botox has been Allergan’s cash cow. According to a report compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Botox injections accounted for 7.23 million of the “15.7 million cosmetic minimally invasive procedures performed in 2017.”
How does Botox work?
Botulinum toxin blocks nerve signals. In short, when Botox is injected into a muscle, it forces it to relax. Since the muscle can’t contract, the skin above it stays flat and smooth—until the effects wear off. This neuromodulator can last anywhere from 90 days to six months, depending on the amount used.
Muscle size also plays a role in longevity. For example, women have smaller facial muscles than men, so their results last longer. That’s why men often need larger doses at a higher frequency to achieve the same results.
Will Botox eliminate all types of wrinkles?
Before getting too excited about smoothing out those worrisome lines, take a look in the mirror and see which ones are visible when your face is completely still. Don’t smile. Don’t frown. Just stare. The wrinkles that you see when your face is at rest are static. They’re the result of natural aging and lost elasticity, which, unfortunately, can’t be lessened via Botox injections. Now, smile, frown, and squint. Any wrinkles that show up while doing these motions—like crow’s feet, frown lines, or forehead lines—are fair game and can be treated. Remember, Botox stops muscle movement, so if a wrinkle shows up when you express yourself, it’s possible to treat it.
Does Botox have side effects?
Before opting for any type of medical procedure, even one as minimally invasive as Botox, it’s important to understand the potential side effects. Headaches are common after receiving injections but should diminish quickly. Most severe side effects are rare, including drooping eyelids, known as ptosis. According to Plastic Surgeon Dr. Thomas Narsete, M.D., Botox can spread from the injection site to other areas of the body, but this is quite rare. For information on side effects, dosage, and more, visit Allergan’s website
Who can inject Botox?
Whenever a product gains popularity, people will jump on the bandwagon to make a buck. Before considering a provider, do your homework. Local providers need to be properly certified by one of the four drug manufacturers, which include Allergan, Galderma, Merz, and Evolus. Each company offers a different brand name drug as follows:
Company and Product:
Your provider must be a licensed physician or a registered nurse who practices under his or her supervision. It’s also a good idea to find out how frequently your provider performs injections because this is a good indicator of his or her skill and customer base.
What can I expect during and after getting Botox?
Getting an injection comes with a small amount of pain. You’ll feel a pinch where the drug is injected, but the discomfort disappears quickly. If you’re concerned about the pain, ask your provider for an ice pack to slightly numb the area before receiving the injections. Afterward, you may have redness, a small amount of swelling and tenderness, or even visible pin pricks. Slight bruising may also occur. Results aren’t visible immediately, but you’ll start to notice a difference in a week as the toxin relaxes the muscles.
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Botox offers good results as long as you choose your provider carefully. Complications do occur, but they’re rare, and most people are happy in the long run.
To wrinkle-free days,
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