Pretty much everybody has heard of Botox®. When I was finishing my training, my wife’s 90 year-old grandmother was heard to say that she was looking forward to having me around because I “could use that Botox® to fix my neck!” Botox® is a beautiful drug with lots of applications, including making people look good. I discussed the uses of medical Botox® here and here. But today we’re talking about cosmetic Botox®. Here’s some of what you need to know!
1) Botox® works by making muscles relax.
Botox® temporarily blocks communication between the motor nerves and your facial muscles. All of the aesthetic effects that we get from Botox® are derived from this effect. If the muscles in your forehead and around your eyes stop moving, you won’t get wrinkles! It only works on motor nerves, so your ability to feel is completely unaffected. In other words, no numbness!
2) Botox® usually works for about three months.*
After a treatment, you will start to see an effect in three to five days. And it will be subtle- you’ll all of a sudden realize you can’t raise one eyebrow, for instance. You’ll see the full effect about two weeks after your treatment. I will usually want to see you back at this point to check the work and make sure it’s perfect. After that, it will gradually wear off. By three months, you’re usually back to where you started from.
* It is possible to have the effect last longer! With repeated treatments, especially if you come in BEFORE full movement is back, your muscles will shrink some and the effect will last longer!
3) Botox® doesn’t hurt!
Even though Botox® is administered by a series of shots, the needle is tiny and usually you barely feel it. When you leave the office you’ll look like you got attacked by a handful of angry bees because of the injections. But usually this redness subsides in a manner of minutes. You can then resume your usual activity. We generally advise to avoid working out for several hours to help avoid bruising. For more tips on avoiding bruises, check out this post from my archives! If you want to see what the treatment looks like, check out the video below of a much younger-looking version of me doing a treatment for a friend.
4) You don’t have to look frozen from Botox®!
The art to applying Botox® is using enough to get an effect, but not so much that you end up with a frozen expression. We want you to be able to express your emotions while at the same time sparing you from unnecessary wrinkles. Make sure you go to someone with appropriate training and experience. Be sure to check your provider’s credentials!
After five years of residency in head and neck surgery, I completed a fellowship specifically in facial plastic surgery and became board certified in facial plastics. These are the kind of credentials you should be looking for before you ask someone to inject Botox®!