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How Do Botox Injections Work?

May 1, 2018

Over time, skin naturally loses its elasticity and collagen. This natural aging process, combined with repetitive facial movements and expressions, can lead to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on your face. Botox injections are the most common cosmetic treatment in the United States to smooth and reduce these wrinkles, but how do the injections work and what results can you expect?

Botox, the commercial brand name for botulinum toxin (BTX), is an injectable cosmetic dermatology treatment that is used by millions of women and men all over the world each year. Botox injections are a popular procedure because they are fast-acting, they don’t require surgery and there is no downtime afterward.

Botox injections are popular, but are they right for you? Here’s what you should know.

How Do Botox Injections Work?

Botox injections relax targeted muscles under the wrinkles or fine lines in your face to give your skin a smoother, more youthful appearance.

Unlike injectable wrinkle fillers that “fill” the creases in your skin with another substance such as hyaluronic acid or silicone, Botox injections relax key facial areas by temporarily paralyzing specific muscles and blocking signals between the nerves and muscles. This temporarily removes wrinkles, as well as laugh and frown lines, crow’s feet and forehead creases.

The procedure takes just a few minutes and is performed in your dermatologist’s office. After studying the natural pattern of lines and creases in your face, your doctor will use a fine needle to inject tiny amounts of Botox into individual muscles. The muscles then become “frozen,” which prevents the appearance of wrinkles and lines.

Botox is a quick and easy procedure with minimal pain and very few side effects. The injections themselves feel similar to a small ‘pinch,’ and there is virtually no downtime.

The effects of Botox typically take seven to 14 days to realize and last for several months. Eventually, the signal between the muscle and nerve returns, and the lines and wrinkles will reappear. Your metabolism and how quickly your body absorbs the Botox determine how long the effects last. The faster the Botox is absorbed, the more treatments are required to maintain the results.

Botox has even been used to prevent lines and wrinkles from forming by relaxing the muscles in the face and preventing the creasing caused by repeated facial expressions and movements.

Are There Side Effects to Botox?

Botox injections are generally considered safe for anyone who is in good physical health, but they are not recommended for those with a history of neuromuscular disease such as multiple sclerosis or for women who are pregnant or nursing. Botox is also not recommended for men or women under the age of 18.

Some side effects such as temporary swelling, redness and bruising at the injection site can occur, and some people have reported short-term side effects including headaches, anxiety, dizziness or ringing in the ears. In some rare cases, injections can lead to temporary eyelid drooping or flu-like symptoms including sore throat, fatigue, runny nose and respiratory infections.

Botox injections are considered to be a safe procedure, but there is a slight risk of a “toxin effect” if the injections are done improperly.

Choose Your Provider Carefully

Though Botox injections are not a complicated cosmetic procedure, they should always be performed by a trained and experienced medical professional. If injections are done incorrectly — too deep or in the wrong spot — they can lead to negative side effects or disappointing results.

Research your provider to ensure that he or she has experience with Botox injections. Read patient reviews online, and during your initial consultation with your doctor, ask to see before-and-after pictures of results they have achieved with their patients.

Botox injections are very common. Millions of procedures are performed each year. Though the risks are minimal, it is important that your injections are performed by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who has a lot of experience. Before choosing a provider, do your research and ask for referrals.

Do you want to learn more about Botox injections and other cosmetic treatments that can improve your quality of life and increase your overall self-confidence? To learn more about Botox, as well as other popular cosmetic procedures such as dermal and soft tissue fillers, body contouring, liposuction, laser hair removal and more, contact a board-certified dermatologist at U.S. Dermatology Partners today.

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