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What is Botox? Does Botox hurt? How Long Does Botox Last?

Botox TreatmentIn these days of advanced cosmetic procedures, Botox has become one of the most appreciated treatments in the beauty industry. Physicians have been using it for years to prevent development of wrinkles and facial creases. Many celebrities, like Kim Kardashian, have used it to improve their appearance. No doubt, the celebrity factor has played a big part for making Botox a household name today. Also, because of its overwhelming media coverage, people are running for it with hypes. However, despite everyone knowing what it is, most people don’t really understand how it works. This is especially true of those considering the procedure for the first time.

What You Need to Know about Botox?

The confusion in the prospective patients about the benefits and risks of Botox is largely not just due to media hype, but also the glut of misinformation that can be found on the Internet. The purpose of this article is therefore to provide clear and direct facts about Botox and at the same time dispel a few myths surrounding the procedure. This is because more information results in more informed decisions, without the hype.

Botox and fillers: Is there a difference?

Many people just assume that all outpatient cosmetic procedures are more or less the same, when in fact they are quite different. The most common two are Botox and Dermal Fillers, and both of which are used for aesthetic purposes on an outpatient basis.

Botox is a small injection that removes wrinkles, while Dermal Fillers are a more invasive procedure that involves injecting artificial fillers under the skin. The differences, however, not end there. Botox has many uses over and above the aesthetic ones. Also, new research is being carried out with regards to using botox for headaches and migraines, asthma and even weight loss.

Botox is a trade name of a toxin (botulinum toxin A) made from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Injections containing this toxin most often works by relaxing or weakening certain muscles or by obstructing activity of certain nerves. It is typically used in the beauty industry to correct cosmetic issues such as forehead wrinkles, frown lines, and crow’s feet. Botox can also be used to make the jaw line appear slimmer, to combat excessive sweating in the palms, feet, and underarms, and to treat migraines and cervical dystonia.

Dermal Fillers, while also used for cosmetic procedures, are completely different. They’re a gel-like substance that is injected under the skin, either filling it in and stretching it tight, or reshaping it altogether. The most common procedure is lip injections, which women around the world use to increase the size of their lips.

A few things to worry about

Botox injectionsBotox and Dermal Fillers are usually considered risk free, although there are considerations unique to each individual that should be discussed with a qualified medical professional.

For most patients, how they will look immediately after the procedure is their primary concern. In the case of Botox injections, improper treatment can cause undesirable facial expressions. In particular, the eyelids and eyebrows can droop. While this is rare, and clears up relatively quickly in most cases, no one wants to walk down the aisle looking like they’re asleep. Because of this, if you’re considering Botox for a special event such as an engagement, wedding, or business meeting, it should be done at least two weeks before the big date. In fact, the more advance time you plan, the better it will be.

As for Dermal Fillers, generally speaking, the worst that can happen is an infection. In this case, antibiotics are used. Obviously the desired change in appearance won’t likely be achieved. A more serious concern, though rare, is that the fillers may interfere with blood vessels in the skin, possibly causing scans, or scarring. These are rare occurrences, but they are considerations when looking into cosmetic procedures.

Is there an age limit for Botox?

There isn't any specific age limits for those who want to take Botox injections. However, qualified professionals generally will not treat anyone under the age of 18, unless it is to treat a specific medical condition. In addition, wrinkles or other facial issues are major problems for older adults, as it starts to show up with ages. Individuals under 18 years of age are too young, so there is little or no chance for having facial issues like wrinkles.

There’s also not an upper age limit either, although your cosmetic surgeon can best advise you of any associated risks. In most cases, the only difference in age is how the treatments are applied, or the amount of Botox needed for specific treatments. Outside of that, age is rarely a consideration, and in fact tends to have more dramatic and visible effects for older people.

How long does Botox last?

Botox Injection
As a rule, Botox injections can take from five to eight days to show effects. Because of this, patients are advised to follow up with their doctors two to three weeks after the shot. This will allow the doctor to check results and note the effects for future treatments. By about the third month only 50% of the treatment effects will still be visible.

Within 4 months that will drop to 20%, and by 6 months, there will be no visible changes. This is one of the reasons it is important to discuss treatment with a qualified cosmetic surgeon. Every person is different, with some requiring more or less Botox, depending on his or her individual skin characteristics. Following up as required by your doctor will allow them to assess and better measure future Botox applications to achieve your desired look.

The downtime and appearance right after treatment

For at least three hours following a Botox treatment, makeup should not be worn. Some people may notice tiny red spots around the treatment area, but these quickly fade. In most cases they’re gone by the time you get home.

Side effects of Botox

The most common side effect of Botox injections is a 24-hour headache. About 10% of first time patients will experience this. Other side effects include mild bruising, and less commonly, a slightly droopy appearance. These are mild side effects, and generally short term. If you have any concerns, simply contact your specialist. That’s what they’re there for.

Does it hurt?

Most patients compare Botox injections to acupuncture, rating it as much less painful than a traditional injection. However, there can be some mild discomfort if the procedure is applied directly to frown lines. In this case, your specialist can recommend and apply a topical anaesthetic.

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