These days the world seems obsessed with having a youthful appearance, no matter how many candles are on the cake. Although some people resort to some pretty drastic and invasive measures, the most common cosmetic procedure is Botox. This treatment has become increasingly acceptable in many social circles; with some upper-class folk hosting ‘Botox Parties’ in place of the traditional ‘Tupperware’ ones. Although extremely popular, most people still don’t know what Botox actually is, how it works, and how safe it really is.
The word Botox comes from the combination of the words botulinium toxin. What is used is a refined form of the toxin that causes botulism – a type of food poisoning. Once injected into a muscle, the toxin blocks nerve impulses that would normally cause the muscle to contract. This reduction of muscle contractions makes the skin smoother, and appear more relaxed.
The perfect candidates for Botox treatments are people who are showing signs of aging through lines and wrinkles on their faces – giving them a tired, sad, or angry appearance. The lines form from repeated muscle contractions during facial expressions. These frown lines and crow’s feet are each treated; reducing their appearance.
Not everyone, however, is a prime candidate for Botox. If you are taking any medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements, you need to tell your surgeon before any treatments. Some medications may increase bleeding and bruising at the injection sites. Also, pregnant or nursing women should not get Botox treatments; nor should anyone with an infection on, or near the injection site. It is highly recommended to postpone treatments until the infection is resolved. And lastly, people with pre-existing neuromuscular disorder have a much greater risk of serious side effects and should thoroughly discuss their options with a medical professional.
As long as proper injection techniques are used, most complications are minimal and temporary. The most common side effects of Botox are: eyelid droopiness, nausea, headache, localized pain or numbness, reduced blinking, which may in turn cause additional complications. In rare cases, cardiac complications, anaphylaxis, and sometimes fatal reactions have occurred.
Most patients can resume normal activities immediately after the procedure, although some swelling, bruising, bleeding, or redness at injection sites can persist up to 24-48 hours in sensitive patients. The full effect of the injections can take 3-7 days to appear, although the results will last 3-6 months for most treated people. Only a small percentage of patients has reported no effect whatsoever.
All wrinkle reducing effects aside, Botox actually has many other advantages. First off, the effects are temporary – which means if you are dissatisfied with your results, it’s not something you’ll have to live with for more than a few months. It’s also a very quick procedure, not taking more than half an hour, on average. Also, Botox has been found to be useful in the treatment of migraine headaches, excessive sweating and muscle spasms. And if used before you even acquire wrinkles, can even be used as an effective preventative measure against those pesky lines.
The cost for the Botox procedure varies with each treatment area and the qualifications of the doctor administering the shots. On average, the cost is about $375-$500USD per area treated. Most patients require multiple injections, and the whole process must be repeated every few months to maintain your results.
In the end, Botox is one of the safest cosmetic procedures thus far. It can be quite pricey since you’ll need to book an appointment every few months, but you can’t argue with the results. The change in your appearance can be very significant, taking years off your face in a matter of minutes. To some, this procedure is priceless.