Doctors have been using Botox for years to successfully treat wrinkles and facial creases. Botox is a brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are also other brand names, such as Dysport and Xeomin.
How Does Botox Work?
Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle can't contract. That makes the wrinkles relax and soften.
Botox is most often used on forehead lines, crow's feet (lines around the eye), and frown lines. Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity will not respond to Botox. It can also be used for lip lines and for the chin and corner of the mouth and neck.
How Is a Botox Procedure Done?
Getting Botox takes only a few minutes and doesn't require anesthesia. Botox is injected with a fine needle into specific muscles with only minor discomfort. It generally takes three to seven days to take full effect, and it is best to avoid alcohol starting at least one week before the procedure. You should also stop taking aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications two weeks before treatment to reduce bruising.
How Long Does a Botox Injection Last?
The effects from Botox will last three to four months. As muscle action gradually returns, the lines and wrinkles begin to reappear and need to be treated again. The lines and wrinkles often appear less severe with time because the muscles are being trained to relax.
What Are the Side Effects of Botox?
Temporary bruising is the most common side effect of Botox. Headaches, which end in 24 to 48 hours, can happen, but this is rare. A small percentage of patients may develop eyelid drooping. This usually ends within three weeks. Drooping usually happens when the Botox moves around, so don't rub the treated area for 12 hours after injection or lie down for one hour after the procedure.
Who Should Not Receive Botox?
Patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding, under age 18, or have a neurological disease should not use Botox. Since Botox doesn't work for all wrinkles, you should consult with a doctor first.
Will My Insurance Pay for Botox?
Botox is not covered by insurance when used for cosmetic purposes. Check with your health insurance company for coverage details.