Absolutely everything you need to know about having botox in one article. From what it is and how it works, to what to avoid and what to look for. You’re very welcome 😉
Does botox actually erase wrinkles?
Nope. We’ll explain exactly what this amazing treatment does below but think of it as a preventative rather than a restorative treatment. Botox isn’t a miracle iron that totally effaces deeply etched-in lines and wrinkles.
So, the earlier you get botox, the more preventative its effects — explaining the rise of twenty somethings having botox. More on this later…
But don’t throw in the towel just yet if you already have deep wrinkles!
A little further down, we’ll explain when you should start botox, and – if you’re a little late to the party – how stubborn wrinkles can be dramatically improved with a mixture of treatments including botox.
How does botox actually work?
Botox trains your muscles.
Wrinkles form when we make strong expressions that crease the skin over time. Using botox continuously over time actually trains your muscles not to make these strong expressions.
Remember, not all expressions will cause wrinkles so a good botox regime will only aim to limit extreme movement. So there’s no need to be completely frozen and unnatural-looking.
Botox weakens specific muscles
Its common sense that the longer you limit the use of a muscle, the weaker it becomes over time.
However, weakening muscles doesn’t mean that your entire face will wither away. 😃 Botox is expertly injected into areas, such as an over-active frown, where movement or bulk needs to be reduced. The dosages are tiny and the effect is localised to each injection site.
Incredibly, our faces are filled with 42 muscles which means that limiting several muscles will not stop all facial expressions. What’s more, the effects are reversible too – when botox is stopped the muscle will regain strength over time.
How is a botox procedure done?
The actual procedure is quick a relatively painless. There’s no need for anaesthesia. Your face is cleaned and a very fine needle injects into specific muscles.
Depending on the treatment, you’ll need injections in different places. You’ll also be asked to move your facial muscles in your face to help find the best place for the injections.
You’ll be with practitioner around 20 minutes but expect a longer appointment on your first visit to discuss expectations and to plan treatments.
There will be a follow up appointment up to 2 weeks later where your treatment will be assessed and a top up dose may be administered.
Will I need less botox over time?
Muscles becoming weaker over time is a great side effect because it could also mean that treatment frequency (and costs) to maintain could also reduce the longer you get into your botox regime.
Will the effects of botox last after I stop?
Because your wrinkles are the result of aggressive facial expressions over time, it means you won’t suddenly become wrinkled if you stop. As your facial muscles regain strength, they’ll eventually get up to their old tricks and begin recreating the creases and wrinkles they did before botox.
What will happen with long term botox?
All the above strongly suggests that, if administered expertly for 10 years or more, with a focus on limiting wrinkles (and not freezing all movement) you’ll have smoother skin with less fine lines and fewer deeper wrinkles. What’s more, you’ll age gracefully because the beauty of truly great botox is that it isn’t apparent that you’ve had any work done.
When should I start botox?
The first thing to understand, about how early you should begin, is that botox cannot erase a ‘static’ wrinkle. A static wrinkle is one that does not disappear if the skin around it is stretched. This is because the muscles have, over time, scrunched a groove into your skin. These can only be treated with other aesthetics treatments but only if they meet certain criteria.
Your skin type, skin regime, ethnicity, diet and exposure to the sun are some of the myriad factors that determine how early you’ll succumb to wrinkles.
The second thing to remember is that Botox is a preventative treatment. So ideally you’ll need to begin before your overactive facial muscles have been given opportunities to create wrinkles. In most people, these often begin to occur somewhere between the ages of 25 and 35.
To get a good idea of how you might age, look at your parents’ skin.
We’re NOT suggesting that you should begin in your early twenties. Instead we often advise patients to wait until they gain their first static line.
But isn’t it too late to have botox if you have an irremovable static line?
No. Especially if you consider that it’s almost impossible to have a face with absolutely no lines and still look natural. Chasing this look often results in the scary images that hit the headlines.
Remember, some movement is good because it looks natural and not all movement creates wrinkles.
If you’re worried that you’ve missed the boat, don’t.
The good news is that static lines can be improved but will remain faintly – which is great because that gives a more natural (and believable) appearance.
We believe that starting at this point will limit needless botox before you need it but will step in just at the right time to limit the excessive wrinkling that can age you in appearance.
Does that mean botox should not be given to people in their early twenties?
Remember when we said that everyone is different? There are no hard and fast rules…
If for example you’re a 21-year-old with very obvious dynamic lines that are causing a problem, then you could benefit from botox, but it’s better to wait if you have have no visible lines at rest.
I already have wrinkles – is it too late for me to have botox?
No, it’s not too late. Here’s why…
Yes, we said earlier that botox cannot erase a ‘static’ wrinkle. This is where other treatments can help.
Fillers do exactly what their name suggests – they’ll ‘fill’ the groove under your stubborn wrinkle to leave a smoother finish.
And where static lines are too fine, prescription-grade skin care can help remove a poor skin surface and allow the healthier skin underneath to shine.
Meanwhile regular botox can reduce the occurrence of any further winkles caused by overactive muscles.
Share your worries in a consultation with a fully-qualified practitioner and they’ll be able to advise you about what is (and isn’t) possible. They also have the complete knowledge of how to combine treatments to get you closer to your goals.
You can then decide what’s a priority for you.
How do I pick a good Botox practitioner?
Firstly, avoid practitioners who are not from a medical or healthcare background.
Remember, botox treatments use prescription medicines and the human body is one of the most complex systems we know of – keep your health in the hands of trained professionals.
Botulinum toxin can only be prescribed in a face-to-face meeting by a qualified medical practitioner, such as a doctor, dentist, pharmacist prescriber or nurse prescriber.
They are responsible for making sure it’s given safely.
Qualified Pharmacists, Nurses, Dentists and Doctors will be:
- Licensed to practice and prescribe
- Prepared for complications
- Fully insured
- Knowledgeable of anatomy and relevant medical protocols
- Be accountable to a professional governing body like ACE
- On a register to show they meet set standards in training and skill
When you meet your practitioner, ask about:
- their training, qualifications and experience
- the name of the product, if it’s licensed, and how and where it’s made
- any risks or possible side effects
- how are they prepared if things go wrong
- what insurance cover they have
Do your research, find a provider whose aesthetic and philosophy you align with.
- Check their before-and-after photos
- Is their work too obvious for your taste?
- Do they seem the kind of person that would understand what your are looking for?
- Do they seem knowledgable about the wider picture of treatments?
- Are they able to offer different solutions, Or are they just a one trick pony?
How long does it take to see a difference with botox?
Results are not immediate. You will probably notice changes within 3-5 days but it may take two weeks to reach the maximum effect.
How long does botox last?
The most common treatment – brow, forehead and Crow’s Feet – will last approximately three to four months. If you exercise a lot or possess a fast metabolism, it could fade closer to 3 months. So you’ll probably need 3-4 treatments per year.
It may not be obvious to everyone but botox will fade gradually over that period and not suddenly all at once.
Small movements can reappear as soon as 8 weeks especially when really trying to make the movement in the mirror, however, in natural movement, you will not be moving much at all
Also, remember, as we explained earlier, you may need less frequent treatments as targeted facial muscles become weaker and atrophy over time.
How should I prepare for my botox appointment?
Note down what is bothering you but be aware that botox is only one of many treatments that are often used together to bring patients closer to what they want to achieve.
- Tell your doctor if you’ve had a botox treatment within the past four months.
- Also tell your doctor if you take muscle relaxants, sleeping aids or allergy medications.
To minimise the risk of bruising and bleeding:
- Don’t take ibuprofen, aspirin or any other blood thinning medicine for 4 hours beforehand.
- Don’t drink alcohol before or after
- Don’t wear makeup
Will people know if I’ve had botox?
It is very unlikely unless they are a trained professional.
It doesn’t take a genius to spot a frozen botox horror in the headlines. But the reality is that a vast majority of botox users will go undetected. Instead, people will stop saying that you look tired or better still that you look fresh.
Does botox hurt?
Generally no. To many, some injection sites are almost totally painless with others like a quick mosquito bite. It totally depends on your personal sensitivity.
What are the do’s and don’ts after botox?
To avoid the risk of increased swelling and bruising at the injection sites:
Within 4 hours: Keep your head level and do not bend your head forward for 4 hours -avoid lying down.
Within 24 hours:
- Avoid getting too hot through exercise, hot weather, sun beds, sauna, steam rooms etc.
- Don’t take Ibuprofen, Asprin (or other blood-thinning medications)
- Whereas to avoid the risk of infection, avoid touching the treated area
Will I be bruised from botox?
You could be little red and blotchy for about 1-2 hours afterwards. Bruising is not uncommon but most do not experience it. It all depends your skin’s sensitivity. But in most cases all visible signs disappear within 30mins – perfect for your lunch break!
Who should not have botox?
Always pause botox while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Those with neurological conditions shouldn’t use botox too.
We explained above the botox doesn’t work for all types of wrinkles, so arrange a consultation to see if fillers or some other treatment would be better suited.
Is botox safe?
Botox is generally considered safe if used in tiny amounts and administered by a licensed and trained medical professional.
Though like all medicines, it could have side effects in a small percentage of cases. See the next question below.
Botox isn’t new and untested. It was actually first licensed nearly 30 years ago. It’s best known for smoothing wrinkles, but actually it’s trusted for use in many medical conditions including:
- neck spasms
- overactive bladder
- grinding of teeth
- lazy eye
- back pain
- twitching eyelids
- excessive sweating
- and so much more…
What are the side effects of botox?
Every medicine and drug has side effects, and botox treatments are no exception.
The risks of botox affect a tiny percentage of users as long as it’s done correctly by qualified practitioner. Your practitioner will discuss the key risks.
For instance, we at Efface Aesthetics only practice the highest safety levels – something that has been accredited by ACE – an expert group that sets high standards for dealing with rare medical complications.
Only trained medical professionals are equipped to prescribe and manage problems.
You may experience:
- Bruising, swelling or pain at the injection sites – the most common and temporary
- A headache or flu-like symptoms for the first 24-48 hours
- Temporary eyelid or eyebrow droop in 1 to 5% of cases – occurs when the botox moves around, so don’t rub the treated areas!
Very rarely, you could experience:
- blurred or double vision can happen if the eye area is treated
- breathing difficulties if the neck area is injected
Your practitioner will provide you with a full list of possible side effects.
They’re rare but it’s a legal requirement to ensure all patients understand the risks of any medicine.
What should I do if there is a problem with my botox?
Contact your practitioner in the first instance UNLESS
If you have a serious problem, such as difficulty breathing.
in this case DIAL 999 Immediately
And a final reminder- botox if not advised if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. People who are allergic to cow’s milk protein must not receive botox.
How much does botox cost?
As with most cosmetic treatments, the prices for botox vary because different treatments require different amount of botox and/or time to administer the treatment.
Frown, surprise lines and Crow’s Feet require less than treatments for hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) or migraines.