What is Botox

Millions of people have got it done, and millions more want to get it done. We see it in celebrities, and famous people, as well as in our day-to-day life at work and at parties. What are we talking about? – The cosmetic procedure of Botox injections.

Botulinum toxin injections, as we know them by their common name – Botox, is an injection used as a part of a cosmetic procedure that helps to relax the facial muscles resulting in a smoother skin surface and evening out things such as fine lines, frown lines and wrinkles in both men and women.

Unlike most other procedures that require an injection, such as dermal lip fillers which last up to 6 months before getting it redone if needed; the Botox injection procedures last around 4 months. 

As a solution to temporarily reduce the appearance of unwanted lines and wrinkles on the face, this has become one of the most sought-after cosmetic routines that adults of all ages above 30 years get done. However, it has been approved for patients as young as 18 years old to be able to get it done. According to experts, the ideal age is between your mid 20’s and early 30s, as a preventative treatment.

The injections use a solution known as onabotulinumtoxinA, which helps to prevent any muscle from moving. This type of toxin is fashioned from a specific microbe that causes botulism; a type of food poisoning.

Other Uses of Botox Besides on The Face

The primary use for these is, as mentioned above, for facial wrinkles, however, there are also other treatments that are performed by use of Botox. These include:

  • Eye twitching – Botox inoculations may help dismiss contracture or twitching of muscles around the eye.
  • Lazy eye – The most common cause of lazy eye is a disparity in the muscles responsible for positioning the eye.
  • Cervical dystonia – In this painful condition, your neck muscles contract involuntarily causing your head to twist or turn into an uncomfortable position.
  • Bladder dysfunction – Botox injections can also help decrease urinary incontinence caused by an overactive bladder.
  • Muscle contractures – Some neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, can cause your limbs to pull in toward your center. In some cases, these contracted muscles can be relaxed with Botox injections.
  • Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating – In this condition, excessive sweating occurs even when the temperature isn’t hot and you’re not exerting yourself.
  • Chronic migraine – If you experience migraines more than 15 days a month, Botox injections may help reduce headache frequency.

Other Types of Botox Toxins Available on The Market

The first drug to be used was the botulinum toxin, however, nowadays there are five other known types including Botox, being used on the market and these include:

  1. incobotulinumtoxin A (Xeomin)
  2. onabotulinumtoxin A (Botox)
  3. prabotulinumtoxin A (Jeuveau)
  4. abobotulinumtoxin A (Dysport)
  5. rimabotulinumtoxin B (Myobloc)

Each one is slightly different from the next, especially in terms of its dosages.

Preparing for Your Botox Injection Treatment

One of the most crucial steps in getting this cosmetic procedure is the preparation stage. When you have a consultation with your doctor, you need to let your doctor know if you have had such or a similar procedure done in the past 4 months. 

You would also need to disclose if you have been taking any medications, drugs or muscle relaxants, sleeping aids, or allergy medications. Anything from pain killers to blood thinners needs to be disclosed to the specialist before they begin the procedure. This will help to diminish the effects of excessive bleeding or bruising on the areas. In which case you will be requested to stop taking them a few days beforehand.

Before the procedure

During the procedure, it is very rare for patients to feel any discomfort. In most cases, the skin is numbed either via a topical numbing anesthetic cream, vibration anesthesia, or an injection and where other areas are treated such as the soles of your feet or palms of your hand, for excessive sweating, the numbing agent is a necessity.

During the procedure

Your appointment will be booked in the doctor’s office and performed by the surgeon or doctor. They will use a thin needle to inject the botulinum toxin (Botox) into the muscles and the skin. Depending on how many areas need to be treated the number of injections will vary, as will the cost of the procedure.

After the procedure

It is recommended not to touch, massage, or rub the areas for at least 24 hours after the procedure is completed. This is because it may hinder the toxin from spreading as it should, to the various areas, naturally. This is a non-invasive process so you do not need to take time off work, and can resume your daily activities almost immediately.

What to Expect with Results of a Botox injection

Between one and three days after the procedure, the treatment will start to work. If the problem is a facial issue like lines and wrinkles, it could be sooner and will last for up to 6 months, and in some cases even as long as 12 months. If needed you can get regular follow-up injections done at the doctor’s office.

Is Botox Safe?

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology it is FDA approved and has very rare side effects. It is used safely and effectively throughout various medical practices globally, both cosmetically and therapeutically, with successful outcomes. Nowadays the majority of dermatologists also offer treatments at their beauty clinics.

The Science Behind Botox or Botulinum Toxin

Known as a neurotoxin, the substances help in targeting the nervous system, whilst disrupting the signals of the nerves and their processes, which lead to muscle contraction. In other words, the drug causes a temporary paralysis of the muscles in specific areas into which it is injected.

If the muscle needs to contract the nerves will typically release acetylcholine or a messenger, where the muscles and nerve endings meet. This acetylcholine attaches itself to the receptors of the muscles, causing them to shorten or contract. 

When a patient has been injected with Botox, this contracting or shortening of the muscle is prevented from happening, which in turn helps to make the muscles stiffer. This is why when patients get the injection, they may not show any frown or smile lines when they are frowning or smiling and their facial features will look and feel smoother.

Since 2017, over 7 million people have had Botox injections done for cosmetic purposes.

Where Can You Request Botox Injections on Your Face?

If you are not entirely sure where you can request to get a Botox injection done on your face, the list below of some of the common areas people get it done may help you decide:

  • horizontal creases in the forehead
  • wrinkles around the eyes, known as crow’s feet
  • “cobblestone” skin on the chin
  • wrinkles between the eyebrows, called frown lines, glabellar lines, or elevens
  • lines at the corners of the mouth

A point to note is that even though the FDA has approved the injections, the only areas they have included for approval are the forehead and around the eyes. There is still ongoing research being done on things like dark circles around the eyes, and other studies on whether it can help improve people’s hair. The research and results are not yet concluded.

How Long Does It Take and How Much Does Botox Cost?

As per any type of cosmetic or other surgery, the time it takes and the price will depend on a few factors. Some of the more common things to consider include:

The cost of Botox depends on various factors, including:

  1. the number of Botox units involved
  2. who provides the treatment
  3. whether it is for medical or cosmetic purposes
  4. where the treatment takes place

For cosmetic use the costs will also defer and depend on the above factors, to give you an idea, according to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, on one patient the typical scenario would be:

  1. the cost of a Botox treatment for frown lines or crows’ feet was $376
  2. the procedure lasted 30 minutes
  3. the improvement appeared in 1–5 days
  4. repeat treatments were necessary every 4–6 months
  5. the person could return to work at once

Are There Any Risks or Side-effects of Botox?

In general, the majority of patients can tolerate Botox injections perfectly well. Side effects or risks thereof are very rare. However, as we are all different from one another in terms of our internal systems, sometimes, in very rare cases, Botulinum toxin can cause some unwanted effects. Some of these include:

  • a headache
  • an upset stomach
  • dry eye, following cosmetic uses
  • temporary eyelid drooping
  • cardiovascular events, such as arrhythmia and myocardial infarction
  • mild pain, swelling or bruising around the injection site
  • numbness
  • temporary unwanted weakness or paralysis in nearby muscles
  • a worsening of neuromuscular disorders
  • urinary problems after treatment for urinary incontinence
  • spatial disorientation or double vision after treatment for strabismus
  • corneal ulceration after treatment for blepharitis

People Who Should Not Use Botox

Not everyone can be recommended to use this type of cosmetic procedure to fix their issues. These are people who have:

  • an infection at the injection site
  • a sensitivity or allergy to it
  • difficulty in breathing after the injection

The main difference between those who can and those who cannot get Botox injections is in the genetic differences. If you feel like you would like to try this procedure out but are not sure where to start, perhaps this information above can point you in the right direction. 

Always make sure you discuss everything with your doctor including the costs, risks, and any other queries, questions, and considerations you may have. Due to its medical and cosmetic uses, Botox is considered a safe solution to treat and help people look their best, both on the outside as well as on the inside when helping with muscular disparities.

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