It can be used cosmetically to temporarily decrease frown lines and crow’s feet by targeting the cause of these lines which is repeated muscle contraction. These areas are FDA approved however, Botox may be used off-label to reduce a “gummy smile”, turn up a down turned mouth and decrease horizontal forehead lines, just to name a few.
Botox can also be used medically to decrease chronic migraine headaches and overactive sweat glands.
How is a Botox treatment performed and what does it feel like?
Botox treatments are a quick procedure that require no anesthesia. A fine needle is used to inject a small volume of the product into targeted muscles. I typically schedule 30 minutes for each patient receiving a Botox treatment to allow time for discussion and before pictures. The actual treatment takes just a few minutes.
Many patients say Botox injections feel like a small pinch that resolves as soon as the injection is completed. I offer my patients ice to apply to the treated areas immediately following the treatment which also helps decrease any discomfort.
Will I see results immediately and how long will they last?
Botox takes between 3-5 days to take effect; onset varies with each patient. You will notice a gradual smoothing of the treated areas.
Botox typically lasts up to 4 months.
What are potential side effects of a Botox treatment?
The most common side effects of a treatment include redness and swelling at the injection site, minor bruising or a mild dull headache. These side effects typically last only a few days if they occur. I recommend that patients avoid alcohol, aspirin or ibuprofen the week prior to their treatment to reduce the risk of bruising. Bruising is typically mild and can usually be covered with make-up.
Less common side effects include migration of the product to muscles outside the targeted treatment area causing forehead or eyelid drooping. Having an experienced injector who is well educated in facial anatomy perform your treatment will reduce your risk of this occurring.
Infection of the injection site is also an uncommon risk involved with a Botox treatment. Effective cleansing of the treatment area and clean technique will reduce this risk. I have not had any patients develop a Botox injection related infection.
Who is a good candidate for Botox treatments?
Healthy adults who are interested in preventing facial wrinkles or improving already existing moderate to severe wrinkles are good candidates for Botox treatment. I have many patients in their 20’s who have not yet developed wrinkles such as crow’s feet or “elevens” but routinely get Botox treatments as a part of their anti-aging skin care routine. By reducing the muscle contraction that creates these lines with Botox, you can prevent wrinkles from forming.
Those patients that already have moderate to severe facial wrinkles can improve the appearance of these lines with Botox and prevent further deepening of the area. I often recommend routine Botox treatments combined with a skin care routine consisting of a daily sunscreen, anti-oxidant serum and retinol.
You should not receive Botox treatments if you are pregnant, have certain nerve or muscle conditions, are allergic to any ingredients in Botox or to any other botulinum toxin product or have an infection in the planned treatment area.
As always, consult with an experienced injector and review your specific medical history to determine if Botox is right for you.
How much does Botox cost?
The cost of a Botox treatment is typically priced by the unit. Units will vary based on the number of treatment areas, severity of wrinkles and the ultimate look the patient is going for. A typical treatment of the forehead area and crow’s feet will average between 20-40 units. The cost of a unit is around $12.
There are many ways to save on Botox treatments. Most brands of botulinum have rewards programs you can enroll in to receive money saving coupons. Allergan, the manufacturer of Botox, have the Brilliant Distinctions Program. Each Botox treatment will earn you points that will be turned into coupons for money off your future treatment.
Will I look “plastic” or overdone?
Many of my new Botox patients fear that they will look fake or overdone before getting their first treatment. If done correctly, there are no tell-tale signs you have had Botox. I always start with the least amount of Botox necessary to relax the dynamic muscles that result in wrinkles. Depending on patient preference, we can always touch up a treatment with a few extra units two weeks after the treatment.
Finding an experienced injector will assure that you have fabulous results each treatment.