There’s a lot of common usages for Botox. Using a drug prepared from the bacterial toxin botulin, it is most commonly known for treating fine lines and wrinkles as well as other signs of aging. Many men and women get it injected into various regions of the face where aging is most apparent, such as around they eyes and mouth or in the forehead.
Botox works by temporarily paralyzing the facial muscles. This reduces the appearance of wrinkles and also treats various other ailments, including muscular conditions, excessive sweating and migraines. It has also been used to treat bowel and bladder issues in some. Technically Botox is a poison, derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
More than six million Botox treatments are administered each year, making it the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment around. To work, a small amount of botulinum toxin is injected into the area a person is trying to target—this includes places around the eyes and mouth and in the forehead for treating fine lines and wrinkles, into the armpits and other areas with overactive sweat glands to treat severe sweating and areas around the head and neck to treat chronic migraines.
Injections are done using a fine needle so they can be administered directly into the targeted muscle. In most cases there is slight pain often described best as discomfort that resolves quickly.
If it is your first time getting Botox, you’ll most likely have a consultation with the doctor or a registered nurse. This person can address your concerns and expectations about the procedure. At the appointment itself, the patient will fill out paperwork and possibly take some before photos to show improvement over time. If it’s your first time, ask to be talked through the procedure and ask any additional questions you may have before getting started. The appointment will probably take about 30 minutes, with subsequent appointments taking closer to 15 minutes.
Recovery varies per patient and based on the muscles/sweat glands being injected. In most cases, redness and swelling are common immediately following the procedure but usually resolve in a few minutes. It takes about a week for the results of your treatment to show, and up to one month for the full-effects to become visible. Because the muscles are temporarily paralyzed, it’s normal to have loss of feeling. At the one-month mark some people get feeling back in the injection sites, but results differ by patient. In many cases, it takes three months for feeling to return. Additional treatments can offer improved results.
Botox treats several ailments. For patients who experience chronic migraines, the treatment prevents headaches and migraines before they start, relieving on average 8-9 headache days per month. It takes about two treatments to see how well Botox injections are working to prevent headaches, and these treatments are given 12 weeks apart to maximize effectiveness.
Others use Botox to treat severe underarm sweating, which can be embarrassing or bothersome. The medical term for this condition is severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis and Botox is used to treat it in patients 18 and over who do not respond well to topical treatments. The treatment works by temporarily blocking secretion of the chemical that turns on the body’s sweat glands, resulting in reduced sweating. Some patients report extreme success and can go without deodorant after the injections. Research has shown the average person experiences an 82-87 percent reduction in sweating after injections and the treatments last several months.
The most common reason for getting Botox is to treat the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Many people use it as an anti-aging device to keep skin smooth and looking young.
In all, Botox is used to treat more than 20 medical conditions, including muscle spasm, crossed eyes, overactive bladder, incontinence and other facial spasms and muscle control issues.
The benefits experienced from a Botox injection differ depending on the ailment being targeted. For those who experience incontinence, bladder control issues, muscle spasms and headaches, the goal of Botox is to prevent the problem completely, or reduce the symptoms associated with the disorder. For those who use Botox to treat excessive sweating, the benefit is reduced sweating with the possibility of not needing to wear antiperspirants anymore. For those who use Botox to treat signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, Botox allows for smoother, younger-looking skin and can make significant differences in appearance over several appointments. For all of these ailments, several injections may be required over a period of time.
Botox is made from a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin. It is a poison that in large doses can cause harm or even death, however, in small doses it is mostly harmless. Common symptoms associated with Botox are injection site redness and swelling that typically resides within a few minutes. Because the muscles are temporarily paralyzed after a Botox injection, loss of feeling or an inability to control facial muscles is common.
In most cases, people who have more severe reactions to Botox have a genetic predisposition that results in a mild but temporary and unusual response to the drug. Mild pain, reddening of the skin, edema (fluid buildup), numbness, headache, nausea, fatigue, weakness or paralysis of muscles that can cause drooping, trouble swallowing, double or blurred vision, bleeding, hives, rashes, wheezing, swelling, dry mouth, gallbladder dysfunction, neck weakness, flu-like symptoms and decreased eyesight have all occurred.
Those who receive Botox injections to treat fine lines and wrinkles should experience a decrease in facial imperfections; those who get the injections for migraines should experience less headache days per month; and those who get Botox to treat excessive sweating should experience an 82-87 percent decrease in sweating. Other ailments such as incontinence and muscle spasms should experience some decrease in symptoms with regular injections.
Before trying Botox, patients can try over the counter remedies or prescription drugs to treat their ailments. Anti-wrinkle creams and facials may help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, clinical strength antiperspirants can prevent sweating and over-the-counter and prescription medications can be used to treat other medical conditions.
Botox injections commonly cost $300-1000 per injection, or $10-15 per unit. Insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures but if you are getting Botox to treat a medical condition, your insurance provider may pay a portion.
Nichols, Hannah. “Botox: How Does Botox Work?” Medical News Today. August 15, 2017. Accessed April 26, 2018. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/158647.php.
“Botox.” What BOTOX® Chronic Migraine Treatment Is Like. Accessed April 26, 2018. https://www.botoxchronicmigraine.com/chronic-migraine-treatment/.
McAuliffe, Kelly. “The Botox Timeline: What to Expect following Your Treatment.” Fashion Quarterly. October 09, 2017. Accessed April 26, 2018. https://www.fq.co.nz/beauty/skin/the-botox-timeline-what-to-expect-following-your-treatment.
“OnabotulinumtoxinA Injections (Botox®).” Botox® – International Hyperhidrosis Society | Official Site. Accessed April 26, 2018. https://www.sweathelp.org/hyperhidrosis-treatments/botox.html.
Gaziev, Eldar. “BOTOX Costs, Prices & Financing.” DocShop. September 06, 2017. Accessed April 26, 2018. https://www.docshop.com/education/dermatology/injectables/botox/cost.
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