Seeing the aging process unfold over years of looking in the mirror, many people reach a point at which they feel compelled to do something about lines and wrinkles. The truth is that the skin and underlying structures start to age long before we see the evidence. During our twenties, the body stops making the amount of collagen, elastin, and other chemicals that are needed for ongoing tissue firmness and resiliency. Throughout our thirties and beyond, this lack of tissue regeneration with the right chemicals starts to produce visible effects. We start to see frown lines even when we’re at rest. We have little crinkles at the outer edges of the eyes even when we’re not laughing or squinting. We are all well aware that we cannot stop the body from aging. Fortunately, there is equal awareness of the many options we have for mitigating the signs of aging. Botox® is one of the most popular.
What is Botox?
Botox is the brand name of a neuromodulator made by Allergan. It is based on a purified botulinum toxin that has previously been used around to world in the treatment of neuromuscular disorders. The FDA-approved injectable is designed to correct dynamic wrinkles. These are the creases that form when we make facial expressions like frowning and smiling. Botox works by temporarily weakening the muscles that are involved in those facial expressions. By reducing the degree to which a muscle can contract, Botox creates an environment that allows the overlying skin to smooth out.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Botox Treatments?
All wrinkles are not created equal, so they cannot be treated equally. Botox is designed to address the wrinkles and creases that we see when we make various facial expressions. Initially, we refer to these lines as dynamic wrinkles. They show up when we’re making an expression like a frown. For some time, dynamic wrinkles disappear when we relax the face. Over time, the skin is etched with the lines, which we then refer to as static wrinkles. They don’t go away when the face is at rest. Whether or not you have lines that appear to be permanent or your dynamic wrinkles still disappear when your face is at rest, Botox can be an ideal treatment option. This cosmetic drug is approved for use in adults over the age of 18, though most patients are in their mid to late twenties and older. Ideal candidates are healthy, are not pregnant or breastfeeding, and understand how Botox works. Before treatment, we conduct a thorough consultation that enables us to confirm the safety and satisfaction of each client.
What Conditions Can Botox Address?
There are several dynamic wrinkles for which Botox can be ideal. These include:
- Horizontal lines on the forehead (worry lines)
- Frown lines
- Descending brows
- Horizontal lines on the bridge of the nose (bunny lines)
- Crow’s feet
- Chin dimples
- Horizontal lines on the neck (platysmal bands)
- Excessive sweating
Botox is now a commonly used injectable for lip enhancement. Called the Botox Lip Flip, this treatment focuses on improving the shape and apparent size of the upper lip.
The Botox Procedure
Botox treatment is brief, convenient, comfortable, and rewarding. To begin the appointment, the provider gets to know the patient and their desired outcome. Together, the patient and provider observe concerns by looking at the facial structure in a mirror. When looking in the mirror, the patient may make various facial expressions so that dynamic wrinkles are put on display. The provider may mark areas in which Botox will be injected. After identifying relevant treatment areas and answering any questions the patient has, the provider can commence with the injectable treatment. Botox injections can take 20 minutes or less. The procedure is very comfortable even without the use of a topical numbing cream. Comfort is maintained through the use of a very small needle. The needle that is used to inject Botox is much smaller than those that are used to draw blood from the arm. After the injections are done, the provider will cleanse the skin to remove marks, if any were made. Otherwise, the patient is ready to go about their day.
It is important to follow post-treatment guidelines after getting Botox. Doing so can prevent exaggerated side effects and the migration of the product to surrounding areas. If you receive Botox and are unsure of what you should and shouldn’t do after your appointment, contact our office. Generally, it is necessary to avoid lying down for about four hours after Botox injections. This helps minimize swelling and product migration. Because Botox can cause some bit of fatigue or flu-like symptoms, patients may want to take it easy for the remainder of the day. Reclining is acceptable right away after treatment, but lying down flat must wait.
How Long Will My Botox Results Last?
Botox begins to weaken the targeted muscles right away, but it can take up to one week for dynamic wrinkles to disappear. The body metabolizes the drug over time, so the effects of Botox may last from three to six months. The rate at which the body metabolizes Botox can vary based on several factors. These range from the number of units injected to the amount of strenuous physical activity a person does to their unique natural metabolism.
How Often Can I Get Botox?
The FDA has approved Botox for cosmetic use as often as every 90 days. Many people find that, as they continue to receive Botox touch-ups, the results from each treatment session last a little longer. Conversely, some people become somewhat immune to the effects of this neuromodulator and need to switch to an alternative like Dysport to continue achieving their ideal outcome.