Today, many people have been turning to Botox to reduce the appearance of wrinkles or remove them altogether. In a recent survey, 74% of people that had used Botox in the past were very satisfied with the results and would recommend the treatment to others.
Botox has gained such a reputation of success that some groups of people regularly have Botox parties in which the guests all receive injections over drinks and conversation.
Although Botox was approved for a few medical treatments unrelated to wrinkles in 1989, the Food and Drug Administration did not approve the drug for use in cosmetic treatment until 2002.
However, even before the drug’s official approval, it arose as a viable solution to sagging skin. Before considering Botox injections, as with any non-surgical procedure, it is important that you are familiar with how it works and what to expect when you begin treatment. Below are several items to consider when contemplating whether Botox injections may be right for you. In addition, it is always highly recommended that you consult your medical professional before moving forward with any non-surgical procedure.
How does Botox Work?
The actual chemical name of Botox is botulinum toxin A. In fact, the same agents that are contained in the drug are the agents responsible for a form of food poisoning called botulism. There are many serious symptoms of botulism but the one symptom that causes this drug to be used for the reduction of wrinkles is muscular paralysis. The neurotoxin within Botox (referred to as botulinum) blocks out signals that command muscle contraction.
The powerful neurotoxin is safe when isolated to the muscles of the face. However, when people die of botulism in the same way, the most common reason is the spread of the neurotoxin to muscles contained within the chest. With the ability for the respiratory muscles to contract breathing becomes first labored and then impossible.
When injected (using a syringe) into the tiny muscles of the face, Botox will not spread to other parts of the body. In countless clinical trials, the proper use of Botox has been shown to be completely safe in all patients under the age of 65. Beyond the temporary correction of wrinkles or frown lines, Botox is valuable in ceasing muscle spasms caused by conditions like cervical dystonia and strabismus (both serious involuntary muscle contraction problems).
It is important to note that Botox will never permanently remove wrinkles. The paralyzing of the muscles to smooth and tighten skin will normally last from 3-8 months. Following an injection, results may not set in for a few days but that does not mean that the drug is not working. Depending on your physiology and the strength of the drug, results can set in within a couple of hours or longer.
Advantages of Using Botox
Botox is a temporary treatment. You may get your first shot and decide that you do not want to continue treatment in the future.
Your skin is not altered in any way and will return to its original shape over time.
Botox produces quick results. Whether you see results in a couple of hours or days, you will see results if the drug is administered correctly.
Some results are more impressive than others but the drug has been shown to work in nearly all cases.
Besides providing effective treatment for wrinkles, Botox has been shown to reduce or remove the appearance of lines caused by certain facial expressions.
The procedure to administer Botox is short, typically lasting only 5-10 minutes.
There are very few health risks when using Botox. Although pregnant women should avoid this drug, the small chance of Botox spreading and the readily available treatment if it does makes it a very safe procedure.
Disadvantages of Using Botox
Depending on your reason for using Botox, its primary advantage can become a disadvantage. Botox is a temporary solution. You will have to get regular injections for the rest of the time that you wish to remove lines and wrinkles.
There have been some cases of allergic reactions to the drug, particularly in people that taking antibiotics. Although readily treatable, some reactions can quickly become severe and uncomfortable.
Botox can prevent some facial expressions. Botox paralyzes your facial muscles. In some cases this can cause the appearance of a constantly surprised or frowning look.
Although typically not as obvious as in people who have had multiple cosmetic treatments in addition to Botox, you should consider how you will look after the injections.
Botox absolutely requires a professional. Although sometimes popular, Botox parties are dangerous and sometimes ineffective. You need to have the drug administered properly and in a medical setting in case an emergency (like an allergic reaction) occurs.
Botox is expensive. The average cost of a single area injection is $466. This varies depending on your location. Some lower quality versions are available for $100 but have mixed results. In some areas of the country (especially states like California) Botox injections can carry a price tag of almost $2000!
Possible Side Effects of Botox
Although side effects are usually mild and readily treatable, you should be aware of some of the side effects that you may experience as a result of the treatment:
Dysphasia: This side effect is the minor loss of the ability to speak clearly or perform basic facial expressions. Serious cases of this side effect are very rare.
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection: Also a very rare side effect, an upper respiratory tract infection can occur after a Botox injection.
Headache: Unfortunately, headaches are common after Botox injections. The good news is they can be readily treated with over the counter pain reducing drugs like Aspirin.
Neck Pain: Neck pain is another common side effect of Botox. A common concern is that neck pain is an indication of the spread of Botox to other areas of the body. Pain that occurs in the neck does not mean that the Botox is spreading.
Ptosis: About 5% of people that get Botox injections suffer this side effect. It is a temporary condition that causes one or both eyelids to droop.
Bruises or Soreness: At the point where the Botox is injected, most people experience some small bruising or light soreness. If the bruise or soreness becomes severe, seek medical help immediately as this can signal an infection.
Nausea: About 45% of people that get Botox injections experience some nausea. Botox is a foreign material that your body might not welcome without an upset stomach.
Is Botox Right for You?
Botox, although cheaper than surgical alternatives, is usually considered to be an expensive investment for the average person. On the other hand, it is one of the few skin treatments that is temporary and yet yields fantastic results.
If you are unhappy with the current appearance of your wrinkles or fine lines, you may want to consider Botox as a viable solution. Most of the side effects are rare and mild while ones that are intense are almost always quickly resolved.
While having your body injected with foreign toxins may sound horrible, Botox is considered safe and reliable in almost all cases.
The administration of Botox is performed in a very quick session (typically 5-10 minutes) and the results normally appear anywhere from 2 hours to a couple of days.
Be sure to speak with your doctor before beginning treatment to see if you are a good candidate for this drug.
This being said, it is always a good idea to fully understand the “pros” and “cons” of a medical procedure before having the procedure performed.