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What is Botox?
What exactly is Botox? Most have at least heard about Botox, and now more and more people seem to be getting Botox injections. And why not? Botox is an injectable muscle relaxer that helps tame wrinkles and other signs of aging. It is based upon botulinum toxin type A; this botulinum toxin paralyzes the muscles when injected. And in the process, it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Far less invasive than cosmetic surgery, Botox is widely considered a safe and highly effective treatment to help people fight off the signs of aging that can make us feel less confident about our appearance as we get older. Popularly, Botox may be used around the eyes, the forehead area, and the mouth. However, there are other areas and other treatment applications where Botox can be helpful.
Botox was initially approved for use in the late 80s. And then, in 2002, it was approved for cosmetic treatments, for example, to reduce the look of those frown lines between the eyebrows or to help perk up otherwise sagging eyebrows, among other treatment areas. Since its introduction into the cosmetic universe's procedures, Botox has been heralded as safe, effective, and in some cases, a truly miraculous treatment option for those wanting to slow down the hands of time.
How to prepare for Botox injections?
For those considering getting Botox treatments, the preparation in advance of any such procedure is relatively minimal. Remember that the injections are generally done within a medical office or spa/clinic setting. And you can get right back to your normal activities directly following your Botox injections.
Before the actual Botox injections, you will consult with the practitioner. At this point, it’s important to be forthcoming about any medical conditions, your medical history, skin conditions you might have, any known allergies. Anything you can think of or are concerned about, you should freely address with the provider before you get Botox. If you have more chronic medical conditions, it is strongly advised to talk to your doctor first about your concerns.
Before the Botox procedure, you will usually have to remove your makeup and undergo a cleansing treatment to rid the skin’s surface of bacteria. It is also suggested you don't do anything that can thin the blood before a Botox session, such as consuming alcohol or aspirin, for example.
What areas can be treated with Botox?
Because it is so versatile and an injectable that requires a minimally invasive process, Botox can be used in several key areas. As mentioned, the eyes and forehead are among the more popularly treated areas.
You can also have Botox injections for the following:
- Crow’s feet
- Smoker’s Lines around the mouth
- Lines across the bridge of the nose
- Dents in the chin
Botox has also gotten FDA approval for use with migraines, excessive sweating issues, overactive bladder, and lower limb spasticity in recent years.
How does Botox work?
Among the most frequently asked questions about Botox is how exactly it works to help reduce the look of wrinkles. When the Botox gets injected, it blocks nerve signals and muscle contractions. What this does in effect is to paralyze the treated areas. By preventing further contraction of muscles in the face, it reduces the look of wrinkles and slows down the development of any new wrinkles—sometimes significantly so.
Unlike major cosmetic surgeries that can be painful, far more costly, and have long downtimes, Botox is minimally invasive and far less painful. The provider will numb the area to be injected with a topical anesthetic in many instances.
A thin needle gets used to inject the botulinum toxin into the targeted area during the procedure. So, for example, if you are getting Botox between the eyebrows, you may require three or more injections depending on the severity of the wrinkles. The same can be said of treating crow’s feet and frown lines. All told, the procedure itself can take anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes, and then you are on your way and back to your normal activities.
Are there risks or side effects associated with botox?
The risks/side effects associated with Botox treatment are generally relatively minor. Because of the nature of injections, there could be some slight bruising. There also may be minor discomfort associated—both go away in just a couple of days. Other side effects can include: swelling, headache, neck pain, tiredness, dry eyes, and in some rare instances, allergic reactions can occur.
What to expect after Botox?
Again, as noted, there is little to no downtime following your Botox treatment. You can go back to work or resume your usual activities. You want to avoid rubbing or applying any pressure to the treated areas. If you do apply pressure, for instance, Botox can spread. It is essential to localize where the injections were so they have the maximum effect.
If you are getting Botox injections between the eyebrows or forehead region, you want to try not to lie down for at least a few hours afterward. In some cases, if the Botox slips downward, this can cause drooping of the eyelid.
When noticing the results of your Botox treatment, many note that they see results in as little as a day or two after treatment. And in terms of the duration of the Botox treatments, usually, the full effect will hold on for about four months, at which point you will need further injections. Remember, though, that Botox helps prevent new wrinkles and fine lines from forming.
Given that Botox is FDA approved, it is considered a safe and effective treatment for reducing the look of wrinkles and helping remove fine lines. Choosing a credible and responsible provider when getting your Botox treatments is critical. And also, be sure to go over your medical history quite thoroughly so that if there are any issues, the provider is made aware of these.