Botox, the commercial brand name for botulinum toxin (BTX), is an injectable cosmetic dermatology treatment that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face.
Unlike injectable wrinkle fillers, which work by filling a crease in your skin with another substance, Botox actually relaxes targeted muscles to reduce the look of lines in the face. This results in smoother skin with a more youthful appearance.
Each Botox injection relaxes key facial areas by temporarily paralyzing specific muscles. This temporarily removes wrinkles and improves the look of laugh and frown lines, skin bands on the neck, crow’s feet, forehead creases and more.
Although it was originally developed to treat eye muscle disorders, Botox has become popular cosmetically and this is now its primary use. In fact, Botox injections are now the most common cosmetic treatment in the U.S., with 6.3 million procedures done in 2013. Because Botox inhibits the release of certain neurotransmitters, it is also sometimes used to treat chronic migraines.
Botox is very popular and has been used by millions of women and men around the world. Unlike other more invasive cosmetic treatments, Botox requires no surgery and recovery is immediate.
Anyone in good physical health, and without a history of neuromuscular diseases (such as multiple sclerosis), is generally a good candidate for Botox treatments. It is not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing, or for anyone under the age of 18.
Botox is a quick procedure that is done in just minutes in your doctor’s office. Using a fine needle to minimize swelling or bruising, your practitioner will look at the pattern of lines on your face and inject tiny amounts into the corresponding muscles. This causes the muscles to become “frozen” or immobile, and prevents the appearance of wrinkles on your skin.
Some side effects of Botox can occur, such as swelling or redness at the injection site. In some cases it can cause flu-like symptoms, including a sore throat, runny nose, tiredness and respiratory infections. Other short-term side effects may include anxiety, ringing in the ears and dizziness or drowsiness. There are also risks, such as toxin effect, associated with dermal fillers being injected improperly or by people without the necessary training and qualifications. However, there has not been a confirmed case of such side effects when Botox is used correctly to treat frown lines, crow’s feet or both.
The results of each Botox session last for several months. Most patients schedule three sessions each year to maintain the desired smooth, youthful appearance. Different metabolisms may absorb Botox more quickly than others, which means you’ll need more frequent treatments to maintain the same look.
*Results may vary by individual