What is Botox?
Botox treatment is the trade name for a protein extracted from Clostridium botulinum, a species of bacteria. This microorganism causes botulism (a type of food poisoning) in large quantities, but science has found a way to dilute it into small quantities and use it in cosmetic products. Botox injections are used to smooth out moderate to severe expression lines and have become a valuable part of anti-aging medical skin care.
Why Botox injections?
When the same facial muscles make the same facial expressions over and over, deep wrinkles can form. Botox injections relax the facial muscles that are most often used. The skin above the wrinkles also relaxes and smoothes the wrinkles.
Botox is most often used for wrinkles between the eyebrows. It is also suitable for wrinkles in the upper part of the face, such as forehead lines and crow’s feet. The muscles around the mouth are necessary for chewing and speaking, which is why Botox treatment is less often used in this area. Since no muscles are involved, it is not an effective treatment for wrinkles caused by gravity or excessive sun exposure.
Botox is also used for a number of medical applications, including treating excessive sweating and migraine headaches.
Botox is an excellent non-surgical method to combat the signs of aging on the face. It is an excellent option for patients who do not want to engage in more invasive anti-aging procedures such as facelifts.
How does Botox work?
Botox interrupts the nerve signals that cause muscles to contract and temporarily weakens or paralyzes them. When the muscles stop contracting and relax, the skin over them also becomes more supple. The wrinkles soften significantly and the muscles weaken so that the wrinkles do not become deeper.
Who is a good candidate for Botox treatment?
Good candidates for Botox treatment should not have any nerve or muscle diseases that could be affected by the injections, be in good general condition, be over 18 years of age, not be pregnant or nursing, and be in good health. You must have realistic expectations of the outcome of the surgery and be concerned about moderate to severe expression lines on your face.
There are several contraindications to Botox treatment. Botox may not be indicated if you have one or more of the following conditions
- skin problems with expression lines that you wish to correct
- very pronounced eyelids (e.g., eyelids that are too large or too small)
- muscular problems that you wish to treat, such as severe facial muscle weakness
- skin problems caused by Botox injections
- Severe skin reactions from the injections
- Scarring around the injection site or very thick skin
If you are unsure if you have any of these problems, please come in for a consultation. Your plastic surgeon will discuss your situation with you to determine if Botox treatment is right for you.
What happens during the Botox consultation?
During the initial consultation, the plastic surgeon certified for Botox treatment will review your medical history. We will assess the condition of your facial skin and determine if there are any expression lines that may be of concern. Injections can be administered in one session, taking into account the number of injections needed, medications you are taking, your current lifestyle, and the time you have available.
If you have to undergo surgery again, your surgeon may ask you to stop taking certain blood-thinning medications. In addition, you will need to refrain from drinking alcohol about a week before the procedure.
How does a Botox treatment work?
The Botox treatment is a simple and quick procedure. It does not require anesthesia or time off work. The medication is injected into the target muscle using a very small, thin injection needle. During the injection, you may feel slight discomfort, such as a pinch, which quickly disappears.
Depending on the size of the muscle(s), several injections may be necessary. As soon as the injections are finished (usually within 30 minutes), you should not rub the affected area for 12 hours.
How long does it take to recover from a Botox treatment?
There is no specific downtime after a Botox injection, but you may feel a slight bruise or pain at the injection site. As soon as you leave the treatment room, you can resume your normal daily activities. Again, avoid rubbing or lying on the affected area 3-4 hours after the procedure as the product may move.
When will I see the final results?
The effects of Botox are generally visible after 3 to 7 days. The exact time depends on the individual patient.
Is Botox permanent?
Botox injections are not a permanent procedure. The effects wear off in about 3 to 6 months. As the medication wears off, you will notice that the wrinkles become larger and more pronounced. At this point, the treatment can be repeated. With repeated Botox treatments, the muscles relax, so that over time, the wrinkles become looser and looser.
What are the risks of Botox treatment?
The most common risk associated with the use of Botox is the appearance of bruises during the injection. If bruising occurs, it will disappear within a few days. Some patients may also experience headaches, which disappear 24 to 48 hours after the injection. Other risks include drooping eyelids (which disappear after about three weeks), itching, redness, nausea, and sweating.
More serious risks include cramping, flu-like symptoms, eye pain, blurred vision, and difficulty swallowing. If you have been treated with Botox and experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor immediately.
Sara is a freelance writer, linguist, and communications expert based in Southern Europe. At age 10, she read a book called “1001 Questions about the Human Body” and has since dedicated her life to breaking down the complexities and myths around the human body like botox cost and the culture surrounding it, especially in relation to mental and physical health. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.