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If you’re like many aging people, you’ve noticed that your once youthful appearance begins to change with age. Faint lines and crow’s feet that were never there before are suddenly what you notice when you look in the mirror. Some people may feel completely at peace with the aging process while others may seek a solution to this insecurity.
Botox is used to treat fine lines and wrinkles in a variety of areas, mainly on the face. But there seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding about how Botox works and how it is used. Let’s explore everything you need to know about how Botox works.
What Is Botox?
So, what does Botox do and what is Botox made of? Botox is an injectable and it is a brand name for botulinum toxin. It is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum which is found naturally in plants, water, soil, and animal intestines. Botox is created in a lab under careful and strict conditions by Allergan. Rest assured that it is completely safe to use on humans as long as it is administered in small doses. It can also be used to treat specific medical conditions.
It works as the chemical blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, paralyzing the muscle that lasts for several months. As Botox reduces the crinkling and wrinkling that naturally occurs with age, it can also be used preventatively to block further creasing from happening.
Benefits of Botox
Botox treatments come with a variety of temporary benefits to consider:
- Improves the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
- Reduces excess sweating
- Alleviates migraines
- Reduces the size of muscles
- Improves lazy eyes
- Reduces teeth grinding and jaw clenching
The treatment itself only takes around 30 minutes, another major benefit that patients note. In addition, patients love that they can see the results just after one treatment. Keep in mind that the full results of Botox typically take up to two weeks to kick in and will last anywhere from 3-4 months depending on the individual.
In addition to treating fine lines, wrinkles, migraines, and excessive sweating, experts are also using botox to slim facial structures through the masseter – jaw – muscles.
What Can Botox Treat?
As we mentioned above, Botox treatment areas are quite expansive. The injections block specific chemical signals from nerves that cause the muscles to contract. Botox is most commonly used to temporarily relax muscles in the face, but the injections may also be used to treat conditions that impact the body’s functionality.
Examples of what Botox can treat include:
- The lazy eye as this condition is caused by an imbalance in the muscles that position the eye and eyelid.
- Cervical dystonia is a painful condition in which the neck muscles contract involuntarily, resulting in the head turning into a painful position
- Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating even when the temperatures are moderate and you are not exercising heavily
- Bladder dysfunction as the injections reduce urinary incontinence
- Chronic migraines for those who experience more than 15 migraine days per month
- Eye twitching as it relieves the contracture of muscles around the eye
If you have questions about what Botox can and cannot treat, we are more than happy to answer your questions. We do not offer all of these treatments at the Metropolitan but can make referrals after your initial consultation if necessary.
What You Can Expect During Botox Treatment?
Let’s talk about the specifics that you can expect for the treatment itself as well as the long-term effects of Botox.
How to Prepare for Botox
Ideally, you’ll avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications the week before your Botox injections. Most patients don’t feel a significant amount of discomfort during the procedure itself, but skin numbing is a possibility if needed. Numbing – through ice or topical anesthesia – is particularly helpful for excessive sweating treatment.
During the Procedure
Your injector will work with you to understand the areas that you want to treat and the level of movement that you want. They will then use a small pencil to lightly mark where the injection should be placed depending on your muscle movement. Next, they’ll use a thin needle to inject a small amount of botulinum toxin into the skin with the number of injections depending on many factors. The needle used for Botox is the same small needle used for insulin injections.
After the Procedure
The treatment usually doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes. Once it’s over, make sure to avoid laying down for a few hours to prevent the Botox from migrating to a different area. Avoid working out for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to tell the full results of the injections until up to two weeks following the procedure.
How Long Does Botox Last?
You’re likely wondering how long does Botox last? How often will I need to return for a touch-up? Every patient experiences different results due to their metabolism and the specific treatment area. Generally speaking, results last anywhere from 3-6 months for most patients. In order to maintain your results, you will want to repeat the injections as necessary to prevent wrinkles from developing again. We strongly recommend evenly spacing your appointments out to 3 times per year.
Botox Risks and Side Effects
Is Botox bad for you? No! The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved it for certain cosmetic uses back in 2002. Clinicians deem Botox as relatively safe in moderate dosage. However, in 2016, researchers found that higher Botox doses have the potential to spread along with the nerve cells beyond the originally intended injection site. Millions of doses are administered every year and the majority of patients become regular users because it is so safe and effective.
Botox is safe to use in smaller doses to temporarily reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Like any medical procedure, there are inherent risks that accompany it:
- Too much Botox can result in a “frozen” facial appearance
- It has the potential to cause asymmetrical issues or drooping
- Light bruising is common at the injection site
Thankfully, since Botox is temporary, any negative results will wear off over time. Make sure to contact your injector if you’re experiencing any of the following side effects:
- Swollen or drooping eyes
- Double vision
- Dry eyes
- Neck pain
- Allergic reaction, difficulty breathing
What’s the Right Age to Getting Botox?
You may be wondering what age to start Botox for maximum results. The time frame is different for everyone, but generally speaking, it’s ideal to get Botox as soon as your fine lines begin to bother you. Many men and women seek Botox treatment in their mid-20s or early 30s to treat their current fine lines and to prevent new wrinkles from forming. By the time you are 30, your skin cell turnover and collagen production significantly slow down, which is the time that many people notice their skin is aging. Botox may also be a preventative treatment for younger adults who are hoping to stop the cumulative effect of muscle folds over time, delaying the deep lines and wrinkling that inevitably occurs over time.
How Much Is Botox?
You may be wondering how much does Botox costs? Naturally, the cost of the product, the injector’s expertise, and the location of the appointment define the price of the procedure. A single unit of Botox can range anywhere from $10 to $20. Depending on the treatment area, you can expect to need between 10-30 units (forehead and eyes), bringing the cost to $100-$300 on the low end and as high as $600. Getting Botox consistently can help lessen the cost of future appointments as it acts as a preventative treatment. You will know exactly how much your treatment will cost before the procedure during your consultation. We highly recommend that you follow your injector’s advice, underdosing leads to underwhelming results, and smaller doses wear off sooner.
Ready to Try Botox for Yourself?
In addition to Botox, our team at the Metropolitan Skin Clinic offers other injectables including filler, Juvederm, and others. If you’re interested in learning more about our services in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas or you’d like to schedule a consultation, please contact us directly.