As we grow older, some of us may look in the mirror and see the appearance of fine lines or even deep-set creases staring back at us. For many people, this can cause distress as many people feel these signs of aging may not reflect their best-self and begin to search for solutions. One of the most common cosmetic treatments for fine lines is botulinum toxin therapy, most commonly known as Botox.
What is Botox?
Botox is a brand name of a toxin therapy produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. In large doses, the toxin can cause a muscle paralysis known as botulism, a common side effect from food poisoning. Despite the dangers of paralysis, scientists discovered a way to use the toxin for human advantages. Today, it can be used to treat a range of conditions such as migraines, facial creases, crow’s feet, and even excessive sweating.
As stated previously, there are various formulas of this toxin and Botox is merely a brand name of the treatment. Other brand names are Dysport®, MYOBLOC®, and XEOMIN® to name a few, but Botox is commonly used to refer to the treatment as well as the product.
It is important to note that Botox is not a facial filler as it does not fill wrinkles, facial creases, or fine lines.
How does Botox work?
Botox works by blocking signals from the nerve to targeted muscles preventing the muscle from contracting or tightening. This causes the muscle to relax, softening the appearance of lines and creases and allowing the patient to achieve the desired goal.
Some wrinkles are caused by sun damage or gravity and may not respond to Botox injections. Your doctor will work with you to find the right treatment option for you if this is the case.
How long is the procedure?
The procedure itself is short and can be done within a few minutes without anesthesia. During the procedure, the patient is injected with very small amounts of purified botulinum toxin into targeted muscles.
This quick treatment allows patients to return to most daily activities immediately with results that are seen within days. However, we recommend avoiding alcohol or heavily touching the treated area for at least 24 hours. We also advise you to wait a minimum of 2 hours before engaging in any strenuous physical activity such as working out, heavy lifting or any activities that might raise your heart rate. Do not use any blood-thinning medication as well, as this may produce a reaction following treatment. Those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffer from neurological diseases should not receive botulinum treatment.
How long do the results last?
Though the results are not permanent, they can last anywhere from 3 to 4 months. Muscle action will gradually return and need to be treated again. The appearance of lines and creases generally return less severe with subsequent treatments often producing more lasting results than the patient might have experienced previously.
What are the side effects of Botox?
Temporary bruising is the most common side effect. Though rare, headaches can also occur but typically disappear within 24 hours. Other side effects include swelling, redness, soreness, and weakness in surrounding muscles. A small percentage of patients may develop muscle drooping, but this often happens due to the treated area being touched or put under stress within 12 hours of treatment.
Will my face be frozen?
There is a common myth that your face will freeze or that you might end up like a character in a movie with a plastic face. We want our patients to look natural, which is why we only inject small amounts of the toxin. This enables us to control the effect just enough to weaken and relax the targeted muscles without affecting other areas, allowing you to maintain your natural facial expressions.
Botox can be a great way to help you achieve a more youthful appearance. Patients who receive treatment will often report an increase in confidence after treatment. For more information on Botox or to schedule an appointment, please contact The Gael Center today.