Botox®. You’ve seen its ravishing results everywhere from Hollywood red carpets to the pages of your favorite fashion magazines. But it’s not just famous actresses, models, and celebrities who are achieving flawless faces with a little help from this modern-day magic in a bottle—so are women just like you! When it comes to improving your appearance, there’s no non-surgical treatment that’s more powerful or effective. But what is it? How does it work? Will it work for you? And most importantly, is it safe? Read on to find out the answers to all these questions and more.
What is Botox®?
Botox® is the brand name for one of three anti-wrinkle products—the other two are Xeomin® and Dysport®—that are proven effective at letting you take charge of your appearance. All three essentially do the same thing: Relax the muscles that control facial expression to diminish or eliminate fine lines and wrinkles, especially those between the eyebrows, on the forehead, and around the eyes and lips.
I’ve heard Botox® is a type of bacteria. Isn’t that dangerous?
Indeed, it is true that Botox® contains bacterial proteins, but it would take about $200,000 of the stuff in order to kill a human being (let’s just say few people would choose suicide by Botox®!). However, in proper doses, it has been used successfully for more than a decade for a variety of beneficial purposes, including cosmetic treatments to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. Allergic reactions to Botox® are rare (there is a possible correlation to egg allergies—talk with your doctor), and no major complications or deaths have ever been reported when administered by a licensed physician or medical specialist. The bottom line is this: Botox® and other similar injectables are totally safe, highly effective, and have one of the highest satisfaction rates of all cosmetic facial treatments.
Is getting Botox® painful? What’s the recovery period like?
Botox® is an outpatient procedure that is administered by injecting targeted areas of the face using a tiny needle. While some people find it uncomfortable and some bruising may occur, there are steps you can take to limit these risks. These include applying a topical anesthetic cream to sensitive areas and asking the person administering the injection to use a lighted magnifying loop (for better accuracy) and to change the needle frequently. Post-treatment, avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen, Vitamin E and Ginkgo Biloba supplements, and drinking alcohol. Also, be sure to tell your doctor if you’re taking Coumadin or Plavix, as these drugs can increase the risk of bruising.
How soon will I see results? How long does it last?
Botox® starts working in about three to four days in most patients, with full results in about two weeks. Most Botox® treatments last for three to four months. In general, a patient will require fewer treatments over time, as the facial muscles will “forget” how to overact.
Are there products that will make Botox® last longer?
There is data that shows zinc and certain peptides may lengthen the effects of Botox® by a few weeks. Peptide Argireline® reduces the depth of wrinkles caused by contraction of the muscles for facial expression. Another peptide, Leuphasyl®, softens muscle activity and assists in blocking the contraction of facial muscles. Vialox® makes muscles less responsive to nerve impulses.
Is Botox® addictive?
There are no physical dependency issues associated with Botox®, but you may get hooked on how good you look!
Is Botox® only for those who already have deep lines and wrinkles?
No. Botox® is great at softening lines that have already formed, but it can also be used successfully as a pre-emptive tactic. By keeping facial muscles from contracting, lines never have a chance to develop. Depending on their facial movements and goals, it is not unreasonable for someone in their late twenties or early thirties to start receiving a “sprinkling” of Botox®, typically twice a year as opposed to three or four times, and in smaller doses.
Can Botox® be combined with other cosmetic treatments, like fillers? Can I still get a facial?
Absolutely. In fact, the best results are achieved when Botox® is used in conjunction with fillers and/or other cosmetic treatments. While patients can safely receive any treatment immediately before Botox® administration, it is recommended they wait 10-14 days after a Botox® treatment to engage in additional cosmetic procedures.
Can I get Botox® if I have neuromuscular problems, or if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
No, no, and no.
Can I get Botox® from a non-physician?
Botox® should only be administered by licensed physicians who are trained in plastic surgery, dermatology, or maxillofacial reconstructive surgery. These specialists have a great understanding and knowledge of facial anatomy and physiology, a strong sense of proportion, and know what constitutes a natural-looking, pleasant appearance. Beware of injections from inexperienced physicians. You can be left with unwanted results, including droopiness, asymmetry of the face, and difficulty swallowing.
I see a lot of ads for discount Botox® treatments in magazines and on the Internet. Are they too good to be true?
Not all Botox® is created equal. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Beware of discounted, cheap Botox®. Some unscrupulous injectors purchase “bootleg” Botox®, or dilute their supply to decrease its concentration below that’s recommended. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.