Botox is the most popular injectable in the United States, though many do not understand how it works. Known primarily for treating wrinkles, Botox temporarily decreases muscle activity in targeted areas of the face. The facial muscles are located just beneath the skin and are responsible for controlling facial expression. The use of these muscles cause repeated folding of the skin, which directly results in visible wrinkling of the skin.
Getting the looks you have always wanted does not always necessitate cosmetic plastic surgery. There are many non-surgical aesthetic enhancements available that can help you look your best. By undergoing BOTOX® injections, your wrinkles and lines on your face will fade away–no need for surgery and no need for extended recovery after your treatment is done.
Every facial wrinkle is caused by muscle movement. To prevent more wrinkles from forming, Botox is injected into the muscle to freeze it, which limits the movement of the folded skin.
The facial muscles causing the vertical lines between your eyebrows are the corrugator muscles.
The corrugator muscle draws the eyebrows towards the bridge of the nose and is commonly referred to as the “frowning muscles.” The horizontal lines across your forehead are formed by the frontalis muscle, which lifts your eyebrows up toward your hairline. Lastly, crow’s feet around your eyes are courtesy of your orbicularis oculi muscles.
How it Works
The active ingredient in Botox is Botulinum Toxin Type A, which is one of the seven distinct proteins derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In the 1950s, researchers discovered that by injecting small quantities of Botulinum Toxin Type A into overactive muscles, activity was temporarily decreased. They learned that this protein acted as a neurotoxin and temporarily inhibited the function of a neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine (which is responsible for movement). No acetylcholine = no muscle movement = no wrinkles.
Botox is a results-oriented treatment with no downtime and few side effects. It prevents unwanted lines from becoming permanent, which proves to be the best step in ant-aging.
The treatment also smooths the areas treated, making it easier to apply makeup.
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What to expect after a Botox treatment
Botox treatments are quick and relatively painless procedures with such minimal recovery time they can be scheduled during a lunch break. Your doctor will consult with you before your first procedure to explain the details and to make sure you are a suitable candidate. Aftercare is simple, but in general, it is best to avoid lying flat for 4 hours afterwards, avoid massaging or rubbing the areas treated, and wear sunscreen if planning to spend time outdoors.
Tiny amounts of Botox are injected with a very fine needle directly into the muscles that cause your wrinkles. The full effects of the treatment will be evident around 7 to 10 days afterward. You will see a marked improvement to the expression lines that make you look unhappy, tired, or angry. Areas of the face that can be effectively treated are the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. Botox is also effective for some types of lip lines, underarm, and palm sweating. Most people need botox 3 – 4 times a year to maintain the result.
Botox Uses and Information
Botox uses extend beyond the temporary wrinkle erasure. While this cosmetic application is probably the most popular use of Botox, this toxin does more than just prevent facial lines from forming or deepening.
What is Botox, and Is It Safe?
Botox is basically a purified form of botulinum toxin. When injected, Botox smooths fine lines by blocking nerve impulses that trigger wrinkle-causing muscle contractions. Botox is currently the No. 1 cosmetic procedure in the United States today.
The term “Botox” is actually a brand name for botulinum toxin type A. The word botulinum sounds similar to the word botulism for a good reason. Botox is created by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium, the same bacterium that creates serious condition botulism. However, botulinum toxin type A is a very low concentration of the purified and diluted toxin.
But along with interest in Botox comes the questions. You’re likely wondering if it works (it did on me, more on that below), how much it costs (about $400 a treatment), how it works (a doctor makes several small injections), does it hurt (the pain is minimal), how long it lasts (4 to 6 months) and is it really safe to inject botulism into the body (yes, according to my doctor, who assured me aspirin is much more dangerous than Botox because aspirin in high doses can actually kill a person).
Studies show women who get Botox starting in their late 20s develop fewer wrinkles than women who age naturally.
What does Botox do?
Botox relaxes muscles by partially or completely paralyzing them at the injection site. The Botox blocks nerve impulses to the muscle, keeping the area tension-free and thus softening any wrinkles.
These Botox, relaxed muscles make wrinkles appear softer or almost invisible. This does mean that the muscle is temporarily paralyzed, though. There may not be wrinkles on your forehead, but you also cannot move your forehead much until the Botox treatment fades away. This is part of the reason Botox is only useful in certain facial areas.
What is Botox used for?
Botox is usually used for the temporary removal of wrinkles on the face. Because it basically paralyzes the muscles, there are certain areas of the face that should and should not be treated. Forehead muscles and the bridge of the nose are fine to freeze, but you need movement around active muscles, such as the area around your mouth.
Botox can be used for relieving constant pain due to headaches, backaches, and general muscle aches. The injections are also used in treatments to reduce excessive sweating and muscle spasms. It is also used for plumping and smoothing lines on lips.
Who should not use Botox?
Botox is extremely safe, and most people will be able to have treatment. Some of the most common reasons for not being suitable for treatment are listed below. Still, healthcare professionals will always go through a full consultation explaining the treatment in detail and a medical consent form before treatment.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are currently trying for a baby, it would be wise to delay cosmetic treatment.
- Diseases that affect muscle activity.
- Bleeding disorders or are taking drugs that affect bleeding time.
- Some allergies requiring medication.
How is Botox administered?
Botox is injected in small doses over a targeted area. The treatments are rather quick, usually taking only 10 to 15 minutes. The results can last up to four months, depending on the person and what the injections are being used to treat. If used as a wrinkle filler, the lines will slowly re-appear as the Botox breaks down towards the end of three or four months.
Difference between Botox and Dermal Fillers
Dermal fillers and Botox are both non-surgical treatments for wrinkles, and people often get confused over the difference between the two. Some even think of them to be the replacement of each other. Although both are injectable and treat almost similar aesthetic problems, they are far from being a replacement to each other. Not only do they differ in composition, but they also function totally exclusive to each other, have dissimilar strengths, and involve different risks. If you are planning to get a non-surgical treatment for your facial wrinkles, here is a simple guide on the difference between the two options you have.
What are they?
Botox is basically a bacterial neurotoxin, known as Botulinum toxin type A among medical professionals, which blocks the signals coming from the nerves before they reach muscles. On the other hand, dermal fillers include a range of products, each having a slightly different composition. In the majority of dermal fillers, like Perlane and Restylane, the main ingredient is Hyaluronic acid, which is a natural body chemical. While some other types of dermal fillers like Radiesse are composed of Calcium hydroxyapatite.
How do they work?
To understand the difference between the way Botox and Fillers work, remember their first letter: Botox block and Fillers fill. Botox actually blocks brain signals to muscles causing wrinkles, making them relax, which in turn softens the wrinkles. Dermal fillers, by contrast, fill up the deep lines and wrinkles, making skin smooth and wrinkle-free. Some dermal fillers also stimulate collagen production.
How long does their effect last?
Both treatments differ in the durability of their effects as well, where Botox produces results lasting for 3-6 months while dermal fillers’ results last for 6 months to two years, depending on which filler you have injected.
What are their strengths?
Professionals suggest different uses of Botox and Dermal fillers as per their strengths. Botox works great on those wrinkles that are caused by facial expressions, while dermal fillers are for those facial areas where there is a loss of volume on the skin. Therefore, for Botox, the best facial areas are in the upper half of the face: between the eyebrows, forehead, and eyelid. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, can be used in almost all part of the face but is most suitable for the line between corner of nose and mouth and around lips. They are also good at giving volume and shape to cheeks, chin, and jawline. There is debate on the use of Botox around the mouth as some consider it appropriate in this area, while others prefer using dermal filler as Botox might affect the muscular activity needed for eating and smiling.
What are the risks involved with them?
The main risks associated with Botox include swelling or bruising on the injected area, slight face distortion like crooked smile and eyelid droop, eye-sight problems, and loss of bladder control. In the case of dermal fillers, the main side effects are temporary redness or swelling, bumps (depending on the thickness of filler), cysts and granulomas, allergy, and infections. However, all these risks are mainly caused by the inappropriate use of these treatments by non-professionals.
What is for you? Botox or Dermal Filler
As you have already noted, there are some serious risks associated with the misuse of Botox and Dermal Fillers. Therefore, it’s best to see a professional cosmetologist and review your options with him. Your dermatologist can give you the best opinion on which one of the two is best for you.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.