Botox is among the most popular cosmetic options available. This injectable product allows patients to smooth wrinkles and fine lines without undergoing a surgery or downtime. At Silver Falls Dermatology, our providers in Washington and Oregon offer safe and effective Botox treatment using advanced, modern injection techniques.
What is Botox?
Botox Cosmetic is an injectable treatment used primarily to treat wrinkles. The product’s active ingredient is OnabotulinumtoxinA, or botulinum toxin type A. For this reason, Botox falls into a category of injectables commonly known as neurotoxins or neuromodulators. Other examples of neuromodulator injectables include Dysport or Xeomin; Botox is the most well-known of these products.
How Does Botox Work?
Botox works by temporarily blocking muscle contractions where it is injected. For cosmetic purposes, this typically means the muscles near the eyes or forehead to soften and prevent lines that form when you make drastic facial expressions such as squinting, frowning, smiling or raising the eyebrows. These wrinkles are known as dynamic wrinkles. Botox disrupts the nerve receptors in the treated muscles from receiving signals to move, softening facial expressions and subsequent wrinkles or fine lines. Modern Botox injection techniques still allow for natural-looking facial expressions while reducing these unwanted wrinkles.
In addition to reducing wrinkles, which is Botox’s most common use, the product may be used for medical purposes. Botox was first introduced to reduce eye twitching and other involuntary muscle contractions, and the treatment can still be used for this purpose. Botox may also be a good option for chronic migraines or hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). Finally, some injectors may recommend Botox to reduce sagging or drooping in the eyebrows, lift downturned corners of the mouth or smooth neck bands and wrinkles.
Who is a Good Candidate for Botox?
A majority of patients who have dynamic wrinkles and fine lines are good candidates for Botox. Patients should be in good overall health before receiving the injections. Botox is not approved for those who are pregnant and breastfeeding. Some patients can experience allergic reactions to Botox, so it is best to disclose any known allergies or sensitivities with your provider who can assess this concern. Botox can be used to treat:
- Horizontal forehead lines
- Glabellar lines (also known as “frown lines” or “eleven lines” between the eyebrows)
- Crow’s feet
Some patients or providers may prefer other injectable products to treat their wrinkles. If you are not a good candidate for Botox, your provider may recommend other neuromodulator options such as Dysport or Xeomin. If you have wrinkles that are not caused by repeated movement, such as nasolabial folds, dermal fillers like Juvederm may be recommended.
What to Expect During Botox Injections
Botox injections are administered using small needles, which means that numbing or anesthesia is not typically necessary prior to the treatment. Some patients may prefer a topical numbing cream, especially when receiving injections in sensitive areas. Your provider can discuss your best options during a consultation. Prior to your appointment, you should avoid taking any blood-thinning or anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin to prevent bruising or bleeding.
The number of Botox injections required and the amount of product (measured in units) used will vary for each patient. This will be determined during your consultation. Injections can be completed within a few minutes.
After Botox Injections
Immediately after your Botox injections, you will notice some minor side effects which can include redness, slight swelling or tenderness at the injection site. Your provider will advise you to remain upright at least four hours after your injection. You should also avoid exercise, drinking alcohol or applying pressure to the injection site for at least 24 hours. This will prevent unnecessary complications like bruising, bleeding or migration of the Botox.
Botox results will gradually take effect, with final results noticeable about 7-14 days after the injections. The body will then slowly begin forming new nerve receptors in the treated area, eventually allowing the muscles to move as normal. On average, Botox results last about three to six months, with most patients scheduling maintenance injections about every four months. Typically, patients will also find that their Botox results last longer with each subsequent maintenance injection, allowing them to gradually schedule appointments less frequently over time. During a consultation with your Botox provider, you can discuss your best options for long-term Botox treatment and results.