What is Botox and how does it work?
Botox is a drug made from a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum called botulinum toxin. It is used medically to treat certain muscular conditions and cosmetically remove wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing muscles. Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften. It is most often used on forehead lines, crow's feet (lines around the eye) and frown lines. Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity will not respond to Botox. This product has a variety of applications outside of its cosmetic uses, including migraine pain relief, treatment of cervical dystonia, and inhibition of sweating. In addition, research into Botox is consistently providing new uses for the product.
How Is a Botox Procedure Performed?
Getting Botox takes only a few minutes and no anesthesia is required. Botox is injected with a fine needle into specific muscles with only minor discomfort. It generally takes two to six days to take full effect and it is best to avoid alcohol at least one week prior to treatment. Aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications should be stopped two weeks before treatment as well in order to reduce bruising.
How much does it hurt?
Botox is injected by a needle, so you’ll most likely feel pinpricks at the injection sites. “Patients compare it to getting tweezed”. If you’re especially sensitive, ask your doctor to use numbing cream or ice to reduce the discomfort.
How Long Does a Botox Injection Last?
The effects from Botox will last four to six months. As muscle action gradually returns, the lines and wrinkles begin to re-appear and wrinkles need to be re-treated. The lines and wrinkles often appear less severe with time because the muscles are being trained to relax. Although this depends on the area treated and each how long each person’s body metabolizes the treatment.
What Are the Side Effects of Botox?
Temporary bruising is the most common side effect of Botox. Headaches, which resolve in 24-48 hours, can occur, but this is rare. A small percentage of patients may develop eyelid drooping. This usually resolves in three weeks. This usually happens when the Botox moves around so you shouldn't rub the treated area for 12 hours after injection or lay down for three to four hours. If you are sensitive, ask your doctor to use numbing cream or ice to reduce the discomfort.
Who Should Not Receive Botox?
Patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a neurological disease should not use Botox. Since Botox doesn't work for all wrinkles, a prior consultation with a doctor is recommended.