Botox has become one of the world’s most well-known brand names. It has built a loyal following across the globe for one simple reason — it erases lines and wrinkles on the upper third of the face. Every year since the FDA approved this neuromodulator for cosmetic use, Botox has been the most popular cosmetic procedure, surgical and non-surgical, the world over.
We provide Botox injections for our Texas Center for Health patients from Beaumont and the surrounding areas.
What is Botox?
Some people mistakenly lump Botox in dermal fillers such as Juvéderm. But they are not at all the same. Botox is an injectable classified as a neuromodulator. It is made primarily from the botulinum toxin type A, the same bacteria that can cause botulism. That sounds disconcerting, but it’s not. Back in the 1940s scientists discovered that if a minuscule amount of the toxin was injected into a muscle, it temporarily stopped that muscle from contracting. This proved instantly valuable as a medical treatment for issues with involuntary muscle spasms. In fact, that turned out to be the first FDA approval for Botox — for the treatment of involuntary eyelid spasms (blepharospasm) in 1989.
But Botox became a household name in 2002. That was the year the FDA approved Botox for aesthetic use, removing frown lines and forehead lines. The FDA added crow’s feet approval in 2013, although it had been used “off-label” for crow’s feet for years before that.
How does Botox erase wrinkles?
As mentioned above, Botox is a neuromodulator. It works by blocking the acetylcholine, the nerve messengers, in muscles. When injected into a muscle, the botulinum toxin blocks the nerve messages sent from the muscle to the brain. The brain never receives the message to contract the muscle, so the muscle stays relaxed.
Why does this matter for wrinkles? Certain wrinkles, known as dynamic wrinkles, form due to muscle contractions when we make various expressions such as frowning and showing surprise. Go ahead. Make a frown or squint. You can feel the muscles around your eyes, brows, and on your forehead engage. Over time we form hundreds of thousands of those expressions and muscle contractions. As we age and our skin thins, wrinkles begin to form on the surface skin above these muscle contractions.
You see where this is going. When Botox is injected into the muscles that contract and create your crow’s feet or the 11s between your eyebrows, it blocks the nerve messages, so the muscles stay relaxed. This erases or dramatically reduces the wrinkles or lines on the surface skin. Botox keeps the muscles relaxed for around four months.
Who is an ideal candidate for Botox injections?
Whether Botox is right for you depends upon the wrinkles you’re seeking to erase. Botox works on wrinkles caused by muscle contractions under the skin. These wrinkles form on the upper third of the face, the expressive area. These are crow’s feet at the outside of the eyes, frown lines (the dreaded 11s) between the eyebrows, and forehead lines. When Botox is injected into the muscles causing these wrinkles to form, it relaxes the muscles, and this keeps the wrinkles from forming.
However, if you’re seeking to address wrinkles on the lower face — such as smile lines that run from your nose down to the corners of your mouth, parentheses lines that frame the mouth, or marionette lines that descend from the corners of the mouth — Botox isn’t the answer. These wrinkles, clinically known as “static wrinkles,” are due to sun damage, declining collagen production, and other factors of aging. They have nothing to do with muscle contractions, so Botox has no effect on them. Static wrinkles need to be addressed with dermal fillers such as Juvéderm or Restylane.
How does a Botox session go?
At Texas Center for Health, our Botox sessions take just 10-15 minutes. We inject Botox with a very tiny needle, and it is not injected to great depth. For that reason, most patients don’t require any topical anesthetic prior to their injections. Patients equate the feeling of Botox injections to a pinprick.
Botox was deemed to be the original “lunchtime procedure.” That’s because you can come in over a lunch hour, have your injections, and go right back to work.
Is there recovery after I receive Botox injections?
There is not any recovery. Patients sometimes have slight redness and swelling at the injection sites, but this is fleeting, typically going away in a couple of hours.
One thing that is important is to not rub your injection sites for 24 hours after your injections. That can cause the Botox to migrate to an unintended muscle, causing possible issues such as a drooping eyelid.
Is Botox safe?
Botox has been injected millions and millions of times around the world, and it has proven to be safe and effective. In fact, more and more uses keep being found for its muscle relaxing prowess. In addition to stopping involuntary eyelid spasms and erasing wrinkles, Botox has received FDA approval for treating migraine headaches, cervical dystonia (neck spasms), strabismus (lazy eye), Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), and even overactive bladder.