Botox – everyone’s getting it (even if they don’t tell you) – but for anyone who hasn’t taken the plunge yet, let us answer some lingering questions you may have … What is it? How does it work? What can it do? How does it feel to get injected? How long does it last? And most importantly – how do you avoid looking like you got Botox®?
First, a little science — Botox ® Cosmetic is one member of a small family of medications made from the bacterial neurotoxin Botulinum toxin. Botox® (onabotulinumtoxinA), Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA), and Xeomin ® (incobotulinumtoxinA), are all “toxins” in this family and work in the same manner by preventing nerve cells in the muscle from firing and thus preventing muscle contraction. Since certain wrinkles on our faces are caused by muscular actions, this means we can treat (and prevent!) some of the signs of aging.
So where does it get injected? The FDA has approved Botox ® Cosmetic for frown lines – those #11 lines between your eyebrows – and for crows feet around your lateral eyes. Additionally, there are many other “off label” uses including forehead lines, bunny lines on the sides of your nose, and vertical neck bands. Toxins can also be used to improve the shape of your brow, and to elevate the corners of your mouth (which tend to start to turn down as we age).
During a consultation, your face is examined to determine your natural muscular strengths and weakness, your eyebrow position, and the presence of wrinkles. Based on this, we can come up with a plan for what you would like to achieve and which areas we want to treat with Botox®. You will get a quick alcohol pad wipe-down, some marks with a removable pen, and then you are ready for your injections. There are no numbing creams or numbing shots required because the needle for Botox® is so tiny they aren’t necessary. The medication burns a little bit, but the whole process takes about 10 minutes and is in general very well tolerated by even the biggest needle-phobes. Botox ® injections don’t usually cause bruising, but you can have some little red marks like mini bee-stings for 30 minutes to an hour after the injections. Botox® takes about 4 days to start working, with maximum effect evident at a week post-injection. It lasts for 3-4 months and gradually wears off.
Any toxin dosage is calculated by number of units, and so it can be completely customized. The goal is not to freeze your face in an unnatural expression! Many people are worried about having an overly “Botoxed” look — the best way to avoid this is to go lightly at your initial appointment and to choose a well-trained injector who understands the muscular anatomy of the face. It is so much easier to add a few units in touch up a week after your first injections than to feel like you used too much up front.
Botox® is no longer a dirty little secret – it can really help to not only improve wrinkles you might already have, but also to prevent more from forming. Call us to discuss more, and keep a look out for our open houses and other events where we do special pricing. If you have a group of girlfriends (or man-friends — “Brotox” is a real thing!) who are interested, let us know and we can organize an evening with skin care, botox, bubbly (or brews), and appetizers. No better excuse for a little party than turning back the clock ….