What is Botox?
Botox is the trade name for a highly purified, naturally occurring protein that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum. Botox has a number of therapeutic uses, one of which, is as a muscle relaxant. Botox's ability to smooth the skin over treated muscles, makes it effective in reversing the signs of aging.
How does Botox work?
Normally, your brain sends electrical messages to your muscles telling them when to contract and move. This "e-mail" is transmitted to the muscle by a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Botox works by blocking the release of acetylcholine and, as a result, the muscle does not receive the message to contract.
How does Botox fight the signs of aging?
Botox fights the signs of aging by relaxing the underlying muscles which cause wrinkles and lines to appear on the skin. One common use for Botox, is in treating the deep frown lines which often appear between your eyebrows. Not only do frown lines make you older, they can also make you appear angry or upset, even when you are happy. Crow's feet around the eyes can also add years to your appearance, and make you look like you are squinting most of the time.
It is important to remember that not all facial wrinkles are related only to the activity of underlying muscles. Sun exposure, the natural maturing process, and even smoking, can all contribute to wrinkles. While less effective against these "static wrinkles" Botox injections may still help to greatly improve the overall appearance of the skin when used in combination with filling substances like JuvedermTM, RestylaneTM or RadiesseTM.
Can Botox be used to treat smile lines?
Botox is generally only used on the forehead, and around the nose and eyes. While it could be used around your mouth and chin, it would almost certainly weaken your smile -- something you would probably find undesirable. Smile lines are usually treated by laser resurfacing, facelift or by collagen injections.
What is a Botox treatment like?
Botox treatments are gentle and quick. A very fine needle is used to inject the neurotoxin into the muscle. Some patients report minor and temporary discomfort from the injection. No sedation or local anesthetic is required however, so you will be able to continue with all of your usual activities immediately after your treatment.
How long does the Botox effects last?
The effects from a single treatment of Botox will normally last about 3 months. After this time, you will notice a gradual return of facial lines and wrinkles. Usually, Botox treatment is required only three or four times a year.
Can I take Botox indefinitely?
Botox treatments can typically be repeated as long as you continue to respond well and do not have a serious allergic reaction. Botox has been used for over 10 years commercially worldwide. Acceptable safety in long-term treatment has been well established. However, formal clinical evaluations of long-term treatment have not yet been conducted.
Is Botox right for me?
Botox should not be used during pregnancy, if you are nursing, or if you are taking certain medications. Only your physician can determine the best course of therapy. The effects of Botox may be increased with the use of certain antibiotics or other drugs that interfere with neuromuscular transmission. Ensure that your doctor is aware of any current medications you are taking.
What are the possible side effects of Botox?
All medications have some side effects, but with Botox they are minimal and temporary. Side effects really depend on the location of the muscle being injected. Some people notice temporary weakness of muscles, or discomfort at the injection site. Some people also develop flu-like symptoms, but this is relatively rare.