Sometimes we look in the mirror and are surprised to see fine lines or even deep-set creases staring back at us. For many people, this can cause distress or bother them as it may not reflect their best-self and thus begins the 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 of food poisoning. Despite the dangers of paralysis, scientists discovered a way to use the toxin for human advantages.
In the late 1980s, botulinum toxin therapy was approved by the FDA as a way to primarily stop ailments such as uncontrolled muscle twitching, constant blinking, and even lazy eyes. It wasn’t long until cosmetic physicians also began using it to treat facial creases and wrinkles. Today, it can be used to treat a range of conditions such as migraines, facial creases, crow’s feet, and even excessive sweating.
It is important to note that there are various formulas of this toxin used to treat patients and that 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.
Botox is not a facial filler as it does not fill wrinkles, facial creases, or lines.
How does it work?
Botox works by blocking signals from the nerve to targeted muscles which prevents the muscle from contracting or tightening. The muscles begin to relax, allowing relief for the patient and achievement of their desired goal.
Wrinkles caused by sun damage or gravity often do not respond to injections and you should speak with your doctor and dermatologist for other treatment options.
What is the procedure?
The procedure itself is short and can be done within a few minutes without anesthesia. The patient is injected with very small amounts of purified botulinum toxin into targeted muscles.
It is a quick treatment that allows patients to return to most daily activities immediately with results that are seen within days.
However, you should avoid consuming 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 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?
Results are not permanent but can last anywhere from 3 to 4 months. Muscle action will gradually return and need to be treated again. Symptoms usually return less severe and subsequent treatments often produce more lasting results than the patient might have experienced previously.
What are the side effects?
Temporary bruising is the most common side effect. Though rare, headaches can also occur but typically disappear within 24 hours. A small percentage of patients may develop drooping, but this often happens due to the treated area being touched or put under stress within 12 hours of treatment.
Other side effects include swelling, redness, soreness, and weakness in surrounding muscles.
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. Dermatologists want their patients to look natural, so they only inject small amounts of the toxin, just enough to weaken and relax the targeted muscles without affecting other areas. This allows you to maintain your natural facial expressions.
Botox can be a great way to help you achieve a more youthful appearance. One of the greatest benefits of this treatment is that it can all be done without surgery or significant downtime (time lost due to recovery). Patients who receive treatment will often report an increase in confidence after treatment. Consult Washington Dermatology Consultants today for more information or if you have any questions.