What You Should Know Before Getting Your First Botox Injection

Year after year, Botox is the number one non-surgical procedure performed in the world. Since its FDA approval in 1989 for certain eye conditions, Botox has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity as an anti-aging treatment. It is a quick, effective wrinkle treatment used to successfully combat the signs of aging and help preserve your youthful appearance.

Key takeaways:
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    Botox is a safe, effective treatment for wrinkles and other medical conditions.
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    Botox temporarily relaxes the muscles to prevent movement and subsequent wrinkle formation.
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    The results of Botox are temporary and will require periodic follow-up injections.

What is Botox?

Botox is derived from a protein produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. It is a neuromodulator that blocks nerve signals to relax muscles and prevent them from moving. If the muscles do not move, you will not make wrinkles.

What does Botox treat?

Botox has been FDA approved to treat many cosmetic and medical conditions.

Cosmetic

  • Glabellar frown lines - Glabellar lines were the first FDA-approved cosmetic indication received by Botox in 2002. The glabellar wrinkles are located between the eyebrows and are also known as the "angry 11s".
  • Crow's feet - Crow's feet are wrinkles that appear around the eyes.
  • Forehead wrinkles
  • Botox is also used off-label to treat other wrinkles on the face and neck, such as smoker's lines(around the mouth), lips, neck, bunny lines (nose), and masseter muscles (jaw). It can raise the top of the nose, outer aspect of the eyebrows, and corners of the mouth. Botox also helps lessen the appearance of a "gummy smile" and "peau d'orange" or bumpy skin on the chin.

Medical

  • Axillary hyperhidrosis - Botox is FDA approved to treat axillary hyperhidrosis, also known as excessive sweating in the armpits. Botox is used off-label to treat sweating on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and the scalp.
  • Strabismus -This condition is more commonly known as crossed eyes or lazy eyes. It occurs when the eyes do not look in the same place at the same time. When placed correctly, Botox relaxes particular muscles and allows the eyes to align properly.
  • Blepharospasm - This occurs when the eyelids close involuntarily. Botox relaxes these twitching muscles.
  • Overactive bladder - Overactive bladder causes frequent urination. By relaxing the muscles, Botox will prevent incontinence.
  • Limb spasticity - Limb spasticity is associated with cerebral palsy. Botox relaxes the muscles and stops the involuntary jerking of the arms and legs.
  • Cervical dystonia - Botox relaxes the neck muscles to relieve the spasms, as well as stiffness and pain.
  • Migraine headaches - Botox is injected into certain head and neck muscles to relax them and prevent migraines.
  • Botox is also used off-label to treat excessive drooling, bruxism (teeth grinding), and depression.

Is Botox safe?

Botox has been FDA approved for over 20 years, since 1989. It is safe and effective in the hands of a knowledgeable injector. Make sure you do your homework and find a good, experienced injector.

What are the risks and side effects of Botox?

Botox is a relatively safe procedure when performed by expert injectors. There are some common but mild, temporary side effects.

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

There are other less common side effects of Botox.

  • Headache
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Drooping eyelids or brows
  • Crooked or asymmetrical smile
  • Dry eyes
  • Rash
  • Infection
  • Numbness

Severe side effects of Botox are rare.

  • Allergic reactions, including the inability to breathe
  • Blindness
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing
  • Heart attack
  • Worsening of neuromuscular disorders
  • Death

Who should not receive Botox injections?

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not receive Botox injections. Also, patients on certain medications or who have bleeding disorders or certain neurological conditions may not be able to have Botox. Always discuss all your medications and medical history with your injector before receiving treatment.

How do I prepare for my Botox appointment?

Before receiving Botox injections, you must have a consultation with your injector. During this visit, you must discuss your goals and expectations. You must disclose your prescription medications, supplements, and over-the-counter medications. Your injector should also inquire about your medical history, previous experience with cosmetic procedures, and whether you are pregnant or nursing. The more you tell your injector, the safer the procedure will be for you.

What to expect during your Botox procedure?

After your initial consultation, your Botox appointment will be quick, probably 10-15 minutes.

Your injector will cleanse your face with antiseptic, like alcohol. If you require numbing cream, it will be applied now, and you will need to wait several minutes until you are numb.

Your injector will confirm with you the areas you want to be treated based on your consultation and mark them. Next, your injector will inject Botox into these areas with a tiny needle.

After completion of the injections, the areas will be cleaned again, and you will be given an ice pack to hold on to the treated areas.

Do Botox injections hurt?

There is little, if any, discomfort associated with Botox injections. Since everyone experiences pain differently, injectors can employ a variety of techniques to lessen the discomfort, such as applying topical numbing cream, vibratory or cold air devices, or ice packs.

Is there any downtime after Botox injections?

There is no downtime after receiving Botox. It is advised that you avoid strenuous activity, laying down, touching the area, or bending over for 4-6 hours after Botox.

When will I see the results and how long will they last?

On average, results from Botox will last about 3-4 months. It depends on the person and the area being injected. Some people metabolize Botox faster than others. Areas with the deepest wrinkles and the strongest muscles tend to metabolize Botox quicker. Over time, with continued Botox injections, the muscles weaken, and the results will last longer.

Does Botox make you look older when it wears off?

Botox does not make you look older when it wears off. You will go back to how you looked before the injections. Botox does not cause you to age.

At what age do you start Botox?

Botox is a quick, safe way to treat wrinkles on certain parts of your face and keep you looking young. It treats the wrinkles between your eyebrows, forehead, around your eyes, nose, around your mouth, lips, chin, and neck.

Many people start Botox in their 20s to prevent wrinkles from forming. If the muscles cannot move, they cannot create wrinkles. Others wait until their 30s or 40s to treat wrinkles after they appear. It is a personal decision.

Are there other neuromodulators on the market?

Since Botox entered the market over 20 years ago, others have manufactured similar neuromodulators. These products include Dysport, Xeomin, Myobloc, and Jeuveau. They vary in duration of action and onset of action.

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