As you get older, a lot of things start to change. This is especially true when it comes to your face. Years of laughing with your best friends can leave laugh lines that aren’t so funny. Scowling at your boss every time she makes you work late can leave imprints on your forehead. And squinting from bright sunlight at the beach can slowly make you realize why those lines around the eyes are called crow’s feet.
It’s true that fine lines and wrinkles are just a natural part of aging, but if you would like to prevent or reduce them, Botox could be a game-changer. Here’s what you need to know about America’s most popular non-invasive facial rejuvenation procedure.
One of the causes of wrinkles such as frown lines and crow’s feet are small muscle contractions. Over time and with repetitive facial expressions, these wrinkles to become more prominent. As the skin ages, it loses its elasticity and these lines and wrinkles can become noticeable even without muscle contractions. While Botox may not completely remove the visible wrinkles, it can soften their appearance considerably.
How Does Botox Work?
Botox works by blocking a muscle’s acetylcholine receptors without causing damage to either the nerve or muscle. Injections cause selective muscles at the injection site to become desensitized and prevent them from contracting. With no contractions, Botox injections reduce the wrinkling that naturally occurs when you make facial expressions and can help to prevent any further wrinkling in that area.
Acetylcholine blockage generally takes place within 48 hours of having an injection. The effects of the injection become noticeable within five to 10 days. Over the next four to six months post-treatment, the muscle gradually develops new receptor sites for acetylcholine to attach and the muscle begins to contract again.
Will it Hurt?
Everyone reacts to Botox injections differently, depending on skin type and injection site. The actual injection feels like a small prick, but it isn’t a deep injection and the needle is extremely small.
While you will feel a small prick, the injections are over before you know it; most appointments take less than 15 minutes. Injection sites will be slightly red and puffy for about 30 minutes, and light bruising will fade in a few days.
What Will the Results Look Like and How Long Do They Last?
Botox causes such a subtle change that most people won’t even notice you’ve had anything done. While others might say you look “rested” or comment that your skin looks healthy, you’ll likely be the only one who sees a massive change. Those frown lines smooth out and your makeup no longer sinks into your crow’s feet by lunchtime, accentuating every single line.
Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so everyone’s results will be different. Generally speaking, results can last about four months. Botox injected into deeper wrinkles like frown lines and crow’s feet often return first because these are areas of repeated expression.
Are There Risks to Botox?
Botox was approved for specific cosmetic uses by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002. Treatment areas include the forehead, between the eyes, crow’s feet, bunny lines on the nose, around the lips, jaw, and more!
Risks and adverse results are generally associated with using too much of the neurotoxin or injecting in the wrong areas. This can result in a “frozen” face that lacks expression, asymmetrical issues, or drooping. Although there are always risks involved with injectables, in the hands of an experienced provider, the risk is minimal.
Choosing the Right Clinic
There are a wealth of Botox clinics out there, so it’s important to do your own research and choose the clinic that’s right for your needs. A few things to research might include:
- Look for providers who are board-certified, aesthetic medicine practitioners. These people are facial experts and intimately understand facial anatomy.
- Check the clinic or the provider’s website, look at their social media accounts, and read through their last several months of Yelp reviews. You’ll often be able to find before and after photos, along with patient reviews that can help you make an informed decision.
- Ask your circle of friends for referrals. Chances are good that you already know someone who’s had Botox. Find out which clinicians they use or have used in the past, then ask if they were happy with the results.
- Call the clinic and schedule a consultation. Talk to the clinician about your goals and find out if Botox is right for you. If you feel pressured during the consultation, you need to continue your search. Ultimately, you want to find a clinician who listens to your concerns, clearly explains the potential outcomes, and displays a bedside manner that gives you confidence in his or her expertise.