Facial wrinkles are an obvious sign of aging and are difficult to hide behind makeup or accessories. Botox®, a cosmetic made by Allergan, eliminates the need to cover up forehead lines and other wrinkles by temporarily smoothing them out.
Botox® is available only by prescription, so it must be administered by a professional who is certified and trained in its use. The cosmetic makes use of a toxin that can be harmful if improperly injected, but is aesthetically beneficial and safe if handled by a professional. Patients who desire the results Botox® can give them should make sure that the dermatologist wielding the needle is licensed and has plenty of experience.
What Does Botox® Address?
Botox® has been hailed by many doctors as something of a wonder drug, given that it can be used to treat everything from migraines to excessive sweating. Its most popular use by far, though, is as a cosmetic.
To that end, Botox® is primarily intended to treat:
- moderate to severe frown lines on the forehead
- crow’s feet next to the eyes
Such lines and wrinkles can form for a variety of reasons, including genetic heritage and sun exposure, but the main force behind their appearance is the repetitive contraction of facial muscles. Over time, increasingly deep and permanent creases can form.
In essence, Botox® keeps these muscles from contracting, reducing the appearance of furrowing frown lines and crinkling crow’s feet. The diminished muscle activity not only keeps skin smooth for months, it prevents existing wrinkles from deepening and new wrinkles from forming.
What Does Getting Botox® Involve?
A Botox® session is almost deceptively simple. The cosmetic is injected with a fine needle that targets very specific areas. Because precision is key, the importance of seeking out a licensed and trained professional to administer the Botox® cannot be reiterated enough.
The entire session should not last too long. In fact, many people are able to get the treatment in about 15 minutes spent at the doctor’s office. Patients who choose Botox® can generally expect:
1) an analysis of their face, allowing the doctor to assess the exact location of the muscles to be treated and the wrinkles they typically form.
2) the application of some sort of numbing agent, if desired. Since Botox® is administered via needle, some patients want a reduction in sensation so they will not feel the tiny pinpricks. If this step is desired, it can add time to the entire procedure length. A numbing cream, for instance, must be applied an hour or more prior to the injections. Other options include separate numbing injections or a cold blast of air.
3) the doctor to make a series of injections in the specific region of the face to be targeted. In the case of crow’s feet, this will be three injections into the muscle to the right or left of the eye, up to six total for both eye areas. In the case of frown lines, patients can expect five injections in a roughly V-shaped pattern: four into what are known as the corrugator muscles over the inner parts of the eyebrows and one into the procerus muscle that sits above the nose and is centered between the eyes.
What Comes After a Botox® Session?
There is not much that Botox® requires in the way of follow-up. Individual doctors may provide aftercare instructions, but downtime is virtually nonexistent.
Patients are discouraged from rubbing or massaging the injection sites, as such pressure and motion can cause the cosmetic to spread to unintended areas and lead to complications. There is also a list of symptoms to watch for in the hours and days after receiving Botox® injections, any of which would prompt at least a call to the doctor.
Making the Choice for Botox®
The best doctors will tailor Botox® injections with a very critical aesthetic eye, allowing their patients to continue to enjoy expressing a full range of emotions thanks to precisely targeted muscles that reduce the appearance of wrinkles but still allow for smiles, frowns, and more.