BOTOX® is a prescription medicine that, when injected into the skin, relaxes muscles that cause some types of wrinkles. The needles used for BOTOX® injections are significantly smaller than are those used for injectable fillers, such as Juvéderm®, so BOTOX® injections are relatively painless.
Drug manufacturers make BOTOX® from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, the same toxin that causes a type of food poisoning known as botulism. There is no chance that a patient will suffer from botulism with the use of BOTOX®, as the medication is a highly purified protein of the bacterium and not the actual bacterium itself.
BOTOX® works by weakening or paralyzing a specific muscle or by blocking certain nerves. These muscles and nerves normally move the skin on the face when the person smiles, talks, furrows her brow, and squints her eyes. Young skin snaps back into place immediately but aging does not, so lines develop. Weakening muscles and nerves prevent them from pulling on the skin as much, which prevents fine lines and wrinkles from developing or deepening.
While BOTOX® effectively treats some medical conditions, such as excessive sweating or overactive bladder, it is most commonly used as a cosmetic treatment. Doctors inject BOTOX® into the skin to treat wrinkles, primarily in the face and neck. Results of BOTOX® cosmetic treatment lasts for three to twelve months, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), depending on the area treated.
Who is a Good Candidate for BOTOX® Cosmetic Treatment?
Men and women who want to enhance their appearance with fewer wrinkles are the best candidates for BOTOX® cosmetic treatment. Candidates should be in good physical health, free from any neuromuscular disorders, and not pregnant or nursing. Those seeking BOTOX® injections should have realistic expectations about their desired goals and the procedure’s ability to meet those goals.
Specially trained and qualified physicians use a very fine needle to administer BOTOX®, so no anesthesia is required. The entire procedure takes just a few minutes and patients can resume normal activities immediately. Wrinkles begin to fade after only 24 hours and continue to improve over the next five days.
As with all medications, side effects are possible with BOTOX® but any adverse effects associated with this cosmetic treatment are usually mild and temporary.
Side effects may include:
- Temporary redness at the injection site
- Temporary bruising at the injection site
- Temporary drooping eyelids
Choosing an experienced physician and following the doctor’s instructions can reduce the risk for complications.