I’ve been a slave to beauty regimens since my teen years, back when I was trying every product possible to transform my hormone-fueled skin, frizzy hair, and less-than-dazzling-white teeth. Needless to say, the over-the-counter options were never that effective and thankfully, my beauty regimens have evolved since then.
Nowadays I opt for serums, peels, and an occasional laser treatment in my attempts to reverse the signs of aging from my face, as well as rid my skin of my former sun-worshipping status.
I consider myself fairly savvy when it comes to cosmetic procedures, so imagine my naïve surprise when I recently discovered that not one, but several of my girlfriends had opted to receive Botox injections as their anti-aging treatment of choice. These seemingly age-defying women whom I assumed were lucky recipients of great genes, were actively (and effectively) preventing the signs of wrinkles on their faces thanks to the injectable technology of Botox.
If you’re reading this thinking, “That’s why celebrities all look frozen,” “I would never get Botox because it’s so invasive and it will change my face,” or “I don’t have any wrinkles, why would I get Botox?” I thought those same things myself.
But when I remarked to one friend that she didn’t look like she needed to have Botox, her response raised a valid and interesting point, “That’s because I get Botox,” she said with a satisfied grin.
More than 3.5 million men and women had cosmetic Botox injections in 2013, according to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. You likely know someone who has been a Botox recipient, or maybe you just saw the ageless results without knowing that you were looking at the effects of Botox. With my curiosity burning, I sought out professional insights to get the real facts on Botox. I consulted with Christina Wall, an Injector and Registered Nurse who administers Botox in Virginia Beach, Virginia, to get the details of everything you (and I) need to know before going in for the syringe.
ALL ABOUT BOTOX
What is Botox?
Botox is a neurotoxin that inhibits nerve activity in the muscles by temporarily blocking the chemical required to make muscles contract. “When Botox is injected in small amounts, as in cosmetic Botox procedures, it is very safe for healthy individuals,” said Wall. “Botox” is actually a brand name for the Botulinum toxin, the neurotoxin approved by the Food and Drug Administration and most widely used. Other brand names produced by various pharmaceutical manufacturers include Dysport and Xeomin.
Shop Around For An Injector
The most important safety factor when considering Botox is ensuring that your treatment is performed by a trained and experienced medical professional. Even though state-licensing requirements may vary, it’s vital that your practitioner is properly trained and credentialed. “To practice injecting Botox in Virginia, an individual must be a licensed health care professional, such as a licensed practical nurse, Registered Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Physician’s Assistant or a Medical Doctor,” said Wall. Do your research on potential providers by reading their online reviews, scheduling a consultation, and asking to see before and after photos of their work.
“Don’t be afraid to ask your injector how long he or she has been practicing and what type of formal training they’ve completed,” explained Wall. “Good questions to ask your injector prior to being injected are: how long have they been practicing, what type of training have they had and if they have any before or after pictures to show. These will give you an idea of the injector’s experience and the results that he or she has achieved,” said Wall.
How Painful Is It?
Injections utilize very fine needles, and Botox is generally injected rather superficially, meaning the entire procedure is fairly non-invasive. Wall says her patients respond well to injections with very few complaints. “Botox injections may cause minimal discomfort during injection, with most patients reporting no discomfort at all. Some injectors use numbing cream or a vibration anesthesia device that lessens any injection discomfort with a gentle vibration stimulus.
Are There Side Effects?
It’s wise to be fully informed of the possible risks involved in a medical procedure beforehand, in order to make an informed decision. With Botox, side effects are typically minimal, but Wall does caution that each patient is unique and may experience different outcomes. “Typical side effects include brief redness, tenderness, bruising or swelling at the site of injection. Patients may also experience a headache following Botox injections to the upper third of the face. Infection is rare but is a possibility when the skin is broken during any procedure; however, we ensure the skin is properly cleaned with alcohol prior to Botox injections.”
Results Take a Few Days and Aren’t Permanent
Botox inhibits neurotransmitters that signal your facial muscles to contract. “It will take approximately 5-7 hours for Botox to begin working; however, I have had patients report that it begins working 24-48 hours following injections. At 14 days, the effect of the Botox will peak and will last approximately 3-4 months,” said Wall. Many patients receive routine Botox injections at regular intervals before the Botox fully wears off.
You Won’t Look Frozen
Wall says she has many patients who worry that their face will appear “frozen” or that everyone will know they’ve had Botox injected. When done correctly however, Wall says those results can easily be avoided. “Botox can be used to provide a natural, refreshed appearance rather than an overdone appearance,” said Wall. “We can treat conservatively during your first visit and add more Botox later, if needed, to ensure that the patient is comfortable and does not feel ‘over-treated.’ It’s all about the patient’s preference.”
You Don’t Need Wrinkles to Benefit
“Botox can definitely be a preventative treatment,” explained Wall. She believes the best way to prevent wrinkles is to stop them from forming in the first place. “By temporarily immobilizing the muscles that cause wrinkles, we can treat preventively,” said Wall.
What Happens When You Stop Botox?
“The only thing that will happen once you stop getting Botox is simply that the movement of the muscles will return, which will cause the development of wrinkles,” explained Wall. Typically, skin will return to its baseline appearance, so you won’t gain more wrinkles in stopping Botox, but you will gain back any previous wrinkles and also begin forming new ones going forward.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read or accessed through this blog.