One thing everyone dreads is aging. Another thing we all, women especially, dread is what comes along with aging- the uninvited wrinkles and unwanted lines. Feeling young and rejuvenated on the inside alone doesn’t count much when the fine lines on the outside say otherwise.
Everything You Need To Know Before Thinking Of Botox!
How many of you feel the immense need to stop time so that you won’t age another day? Be it for living life, chasing dreams, making memories, or simply not seeing the aging marks you see every time you look in the mirror. The dreaded appearance of lines on your forehead, between the brows, around your eyes and lips, that go deeper and stays longer, are inevitable. But there has to be some way out, right?
Like all the other times, the beauty industry has answered yet another long-term question of worry with a short-term quick fix named Botox. Botox is undoubtedly the number one non-invasive procedure in 2022. Over 7.4 million people in the US are receiving Botox treatments. This number goes even higher when considering global treatments, where the Botox market is worth about $4.4 billion (8). Let’s learn everything you should know about Botox.
Freeze Time, Don’t Age Another Day
Botox is used medically to treat certain muscular conditions, and cosmetically to remove wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing muscles. It is made from a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin that is produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum. In simpler words, Botox is the diluted form of botulinum that can be a temporary solution for those furrowed lines of worry that are etched deep into your skin.
The nerves should release acetylcholine [a neurotransmitter] at the junction where the nerve ending meet muscle cells in order for muscles to contract. Acetylcholine will attach to receptors on the muscle cells to contract. The injected Botox inhibits the release of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction, which paralyzes the surrounding muscles that produce lines and folds in the skin, thereby preventing contraction and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. It basically prevents the communication from nerve cells reaching muscles, therefore paralyzing them.
It is said to last for 4 months or longer while the results could vary from person to person depending on the age of the person, the depth and patterns of the wrinkles, muscle strength, and the quality and elasticity of the skin. As this was found in the 1980s, there haven’t been any reports of its long-term effects of it(1).
The average cost of Botox treatment is $466, according to the most recent statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The Two Types Of Wrinkles
The wrinkles are of two types; static and dynamic. The static wrinkles are the ones that are etched on people deeply after years of laughing, frowning, and raising eyebrows. Dynamic wrinkles are the ones that appear while making particular facial expressions. Subsequently, the goal of botox treatment is to prevent the formation of static lines altogether. The most common wrinkles that Botox can treat are lines on the upper face, i.e. the “11” between the brows, horizontal lines on the forehead, and crow’s feet around the eyes.
I know how this sounds, you will be cheating the aging process. I have done my fair share of judgment on people who go to the derm and go under the needle. Because I am perched safely on my chair of the 20s with baby-soft, wrinkle-free skin. But what about the time I start seeing lines forming on my face? Wouldn’t I like to not see them every time I look in the mirror?
Dig Deeper to the Base
Many of you stay unaware of certain facts about Botox. I would like to shed some light on the lesser-known facts about Botox and its various misconceptions. Keep scrolling!
Lesser-Known Facts About Botox
- For the heavy sweaters:
Botox is used to treat excessive sweating. It will block the nerve signals responsible for producing sweating, stopping the sweat glands from producing too much sweat(2).
- Lift your mood, not just skin:
Enhance mood and help with depression – As emotions like fear, sadness, anger goes through the muscles between your brows, botox simply inhibits the muscle and calms it down. That will make it difficult for the person to feel negative emotions.
- No more ows and ouches!
Other uses of Botox are for treating chronic pain, chronic migraine(3), crossed eyes, spasm of the eyelids, neck and shoulder muscle spasms, overactive bladder, etc.
- It’s not forever!
Botox is temporary. If you want to try it, go ahead. You can choose not to do it after the effect wears off if you are not comfortable with it.
- More scores more! Continuous use of Botox for 10+ years will make your skin look brighter.
- Not just for Women! There is no gender for Botox. In fact, Botox is the most common beauty treatment among men.
Misconceptions About Botox
- Makes you stone cold with no facial expressions – It is only injected in discrete points, there are many muscles that are working perfectly on the face.
- Eradicates wrinkles completely – Botox cannot completely eradicate wrinkles that have already been etched on the face, as it’s not iron.
- Should be used continuously for years – Years of Botox means fewer visits over time.
- Higher dose will stay permanent – After three months the effects of Botox will wear off.
- Stopping will bring back the wrinkles – If you stop using Botox after using it for a few years, the wrinkles won’t start to appear again all of a sudden. With regular use of Botox, your facial muscles will be taught to not frown. The muscles will weaken from lack of use. Hence, if you stop using, the weakened muscles will delay the aging and slow down the formation of wrinkles.
- Is Not safe – It is FDA approved(4) neurotoxin and is safe for cosmetic treatment as the surrounding muscles won’t get affected. Its dosage is highly monitored and the units are small that it can’t get beyond the muscle tissue.
- Helps manage pore size and sebum production – Botox is not FDA approved for this.
- Botox and fillers are the same – While Botox is done to minimize lines and wrinkles caused by facial expressions, fillers are done to add fullness to areas that have thinned due to aging(5).
The Age-Regimen for Botox
Some dermatologists have suggested to not wait until the lines become static or deep to get the treatment. Because if you start to go under the needle early, you have a high chance to train your face to not form the lines at all. The treatment will limit the appearance of deep lines over time. They conclude to use Botox as a preventive treatment as opposed to corrective treatment.
However, many other dermatologists disagree with it stating the fact that your skin will get visibly thinner if you start at an early age. Young people in the early 20s are said to have prematurely thinner muscles and foreheads with the continuous use of Botox treatment. As its effect doesn’t stay for not more than six months, you will book another appointment that comes with another one and another, and it goes on.
One thing you can do here is the prevention of wrinkles from appearing before their official timing. Take care of your skin with the daily use of a good sunscreen [SPF 50] every time you step out in the sun, hydrating moisturizer, and vitamin C serum from the early 20s itself.
Does Beauty Always Come with Pain?
You have heard the usual “no pain, no gain” strategic line when it comes to literally anything in life. Even removing blackheads demands pain. But does Botox demand pain? Is it painful?
The answer is, do you mind getting a pinchy feeling? Do you freak out when the syringe comes out? If not, Botox won’t make you feel a thing. But if it does, think of the pain you have while being bitten by an ant.
You won’t feel any pain except for a pinching feeling because of the needles being inserted. But you can always ask for a numbness cream, ice, or anesthesia. Botox is directed into the facial muscle by a very thin needle. The surgeon will mark some discrete points on the face where it needs to be injected. Then, it is carefully injected to fill up the wrinkles and help freeze the muscles to reduce the chances of them reentering. You might feel a tight feeling in the beginning, some say feeling like having duct tape on the forehead before the body adjusts with the toxin. Beauty without pain!
Can Botox Be Corrected?
If you feel like a robot without being able to make any expression because too much has been used, it cannot be reversed. But don’t worry, it is not permanent, which is good news. You just have to wait until the effect is worn off which might take from 10 to 12 weeks. But weirdly enough there are people requesting a “frozen” look(6).
On the other hand, if you think the outcome was not exactly even, with one eyebrow goes higher than the other when raised, it can be fixed easily. The surgeon can fix that by injecting a little into the stronger side. The toxin injected should be limiting muscle contraction. But if the muscles are contracting even after injecting, adding more toxin into the strong side will further limit the contraction. It is a common occurrence.
What To Do Before Going Under The Needle?
- Do your research.
- Educate yourself about Botox, its process, benefits, risks, and complications.
- Ask yourself – why do you want this?
- Search for the “before and after” pictures.
- Find a good dermatologist with years of experience.
- Talk to your derm about how you want it – options of it being subtle or obvious.
- Confirm the units of dosage and cost.
Do Not Get Botox From A Shady Place
It is important to get Botox treatment from a certified physician, preferably a cosmetic specialist. The place should be administered by license. Getting treatment from a shady place is life-threatening. Be careful!
Don’t Ignore the Nasty
Now you know all the good parts of Botox and many reasons you should do it. But do you really need it though? Let’s get to the nasty part of it.
Though botulinum toxin type A was approved for cosmetic usage in 2002, you cannot ignore that it is a neurotoxin and is one of the deadliest and poisonous biological substances known to man. It is found in contaminated canned foods that have the ability to damage nerves and cause paralysis and even death(7). Botulism, an illness caused by Botox, can cause respiratory failure and prove deadly. Just 1 gram of botulinum toxin could kill over 1 million people. Two kilograms could kill the entire human population of Earth. That doesn’t sound good, right?
Many studies have confirmed its safety. But concerns are still raised because of the long-term effects. There are many with uneven smiles and drooping eyelids who complain after the treatment. After all, there is nothing natural about Botox. Other known side effects of it are reddening of the skin, numbness, headache, mild nausea, fatigue, blurred vision and decreased eyesight, etc. These are said to be temporary though.
People seem to be more obsessed with looking forever young than with feeling forever young? How can you not show the radiant smile and laugh you have by being scared of a few lines that will show the life you are living? If you are too bothered by the wrinkles, try sustainable skincare practices that will increase blood circulation. Because when we look at skin aging, it is slowing down blood circulation. If you can add more nutrients to your blood and release tension, furrowed lines can melt from the face, right?
Live life slowly in depth.