By now, we have all heard of, or experienced, the age-reversing affects of Botox®. After all, it is estimated that over 11 million men and women have had Botox® treatments at one time or another. In fact, Botox® is fast becoming the ‘maintenance protocol of choice’ for those fighting signs of aging, or seeking to delay the signs of aging from making their unwelcome appearance.
There are two forms of the botulinum toxin medicine, Botox – used to treat certain medical conditions, and Botox Cosmetic – used to temporarily treat fine lines and wrinkles by relaxing the facial muscles.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Botox to treat the following conditions:
- Moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows
- Facial wrinkles and lines that fan out from the corners of the eyes (crow’s feet)
- Neck pain and abnormal head position associated with severe muscle spasms of the neck
- Lazy eye
- Twitching of the eyelids
- Chronic Migraines
- Muscle stiffness in elbow, wrist and finger muscles due to increased muscle tightness in the upper arms
- Excessive underarm sweating (hyperhidrosis) – in the case, the Botox weakens the action of the sweat glands rather than muscles
How Botox Works
Underneath the skin, facial muscles move and contract hundreds, if not thousands of times a day, forming momentary lines and wrinkles. Over time, as elasticity is lost, those lines start to linger longer and can become more pronounced. For women, whose faces tend to be more animated than men’s, and whose skin is typically thinner and more delicate, these lines may appear exaggerated and more permanent.
Botox is a highly purified toxin that is injected into certain muscles where it weakens the target muscles or blocks targeted nerves, relaxing the treated area and smoothing out lines and wrinkles.
In addition the FDA approved procedures, Botox can also:
- Lift the corners of the mouth
- Smooth out the “pin cushion” look in some chins
- Soften smoker’s lines around the mouth
- Soften vertical neck cords
Botox won’t reverse wrinkling caused by sun damage.
You should not use Botox if you are pregnant or breast feeding
What you can expect
First, Botox must be administered under a doctor’s care. It can be dangerous if it’s injected incorrectly and we do not recommend you participate in ‘Botox Parties” – group treatments administered in a party setting.
Ask for a referral from your primary care doctor or look for a doctor who has experience in administering Botox. A skilled and properly certified doctor can advise you on the procedure and can help determine if the treatment is the right option for you.
Once you have decided on a doctor and treatment facility, your doctor or nurse may prescribe medicine to numb the area where the injection will be given. Some doctors offer topical anesthesia ten minutes before the procedure or ice the area to numb it.
When the area is numb, your doctor uses a thin needle to inject tiny amounts of Botox into your skin or muscles.
- When treating excessive underarm sweating, your doctor injects Botox into the skin under your arms.
- When treating facial wrinkles or other conditions, your doctor injects Botox into specific muscles. By carefully choosing the muscles to treat, your doctor weakens only the muscles needing treatment.
- The number of injections needed depends on many factors, including the extent of the area being treated.
Botox injections take about 10 to 15 minutes to administer, depending on how many areas are being treated. You may experience mild pain with the injections, but most people find the discomfort tolerable.
There is little or no downtown required after the procedure is over. Take care not to rub or massage the treated areas – this can cause the toxin to migrate to a different area. You may have slight redness or bruising at the injection site. Other side effects can include flu-like symptoms, headache or upset stomach.
If being treated for conditions such as lines, wrinkles or a twitching eyelid (blepharospasm), you’ll notice results within 2 days, although the full effect takes about two weeks to develop. So if you are planning to look your best for a special occasion, it’s best to schedule your treatment a full two weeks before the special day.
The effects usually last about three to four months after which time the effects begin to fade. To maintain treatment, you need follow-up injections every few months.
A good result will leave you looking fresher, more cheerful, and perhaps younger. Telltale signs of Botox that has been badly done are a smooth and shiny forehead, or a forehead and crow’s-feet that don’t move when you laugh or cry.
Your skin type, skin thickness and degree of wrinkling all play a role in determining whether these injections are effective for you.
To learn more about Botox, visit the manufacturers’ website.
- Diminish the Look of Crow’s Feet (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- The Electrical Facial (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Fat Transfer for a More Beautiful You (healthyskinsolutions.com)