Over lunch last week, you couldn't get over how great your girlfriend looked. Even though you went to university together and are the same age, she seemed to have tapped into the fountain of youth. Just as you were getting ready to ask her what type of moisturiser she uses, she shared her secret: Botox injections!
The most popular minimally invasive cosmetic procedure in the UK, Botox is injected to the tune of some 2.75 billion pounds annually -- and with good reason. They are a fast, painless, and affordable way to look your best. Get prepared for this procedure by reading our comprehensive guide.
Learn the Botox Basics
Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: Yes, Botox is made from the botulinum toxin, the same substance that is responsible for botulism. And yes, it is safe for use in cosmetic procedures -- as well as to treat migraines, bladder dysfunction, and even cerebral palsy.
Using Botox injections to paralyze the facial muscles, and thereby give patients a wrinkle-free appearance, is a relatively new application. Botox was approved by the U.S.'s Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic purposes in 2002, after having been widely used for decades as a treatment for medical conditions like muscle spasms and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
Botox works by blocking chemical signals that come from the nerves. Signals that cause muscles to contract simply don't get through to those muscles. This temporarily "freezes" them, leading to a smooth and more youthful appearance.
The most common cosmetic Botox injection sites include:
- Lines between the eyebrows caused by frowning or squinting
- Crow's feet, or wrinkles on the outside of the eye area
- Lines or furrows in the forehead
Choose a Qualified, Experienced Doctor
Alarmingly, non-invasive cosmetic procedures like Botox and dermal fillers aren't regulated. This means that just about anyone can set up shop in their kitchen and start administering Botox to unsuspecting customers. For this reason, it's important to do your homework.
Choosing cut-rate Botox treatments doesn't have the same risk level as, say, choosing an unlicensed plastic surgeon to give you breast implants. However, as with any cosmetic procedure, there are inherent risks. It's important to be aware of those, as well as to choose a doctor who has experience with Botox injections.
What's the worst that can happen if you let someone unqualified perform your Botox procedure? Well, uneven paralysis of the face, for starters. Additional issues may include bleeding, infection, allergic reaction, or excessive swelling and bruising.
Understand the Costs Involved with Botox Injections
Botox is wildly popular, in part, because of its affordability. It costs about 150-350 pounds per session. However, you need to know before opting for this procedure that it is not a "one and done" treatment.
Botox lasts for between three and six months. It will be necessary to return for additional treatments to continue seeing its effects. Yet over time, the muscles targeted by the Botox injections will shrink, simply because they are not being used.
Patients who begin getting the injections when they are fairly young, before wrinkles really take hold in the face, report that they need fewer Botox injections as time goes by. Naturally, the effects are different for each individual, but there's a good chance that this treatment will work well if used as a preventive measure.
Does It Hurt? How Long Will It Take?
Botox can be administered in mere minutes. It's done in the doctor's office, and no anesthesia is necessary. There may be some minor discomfort -- after all, these injections are done with a needle -- but all in all, the discomfort is minimal.
After the treatment, you will be able to return to your everyday activities. You may experience some minor swelling or bruising, especially if you have sensitive skin or tend to get black-and-blue marks easily. Again, these common side effects vary from person to person, but are generally not particularly detrimental.
In some patients, temporary drooping of the eyelid may occur. This happens if the Botox moves around, so make sure not to lie down for several hours after your procedure, or rub the area that has been treated for about 12 hours. If you do experience drooping, know that it will wear off after a few weeks.
The full effect of your Botox injections can take between one and two weeks to become noticeable. So don't worry if you still see frown lines when you leave the doctor's office! Soon, you will have a smoother, younger looking face.
What Not To Do Before Botox
Stop taking aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications two weeks before the scheduled injections. Do not drink alcohol for seven days before the procedure. Your doctor will go over these guidelines in more detail, and if you have any questions about medications or activities that may interfere, don't hesitate to bring them up at your consultation.
If you have a neurological condition, you will likely not be a good candidate for Botox. Similarly, pregnant women and nursing mums should not receive the injections.
Get Ready to Accept Compliments!
The last step to take as you prepare to receive Botox injections? Get ready for friends to rave about your youthful new appearance!
This simple cosmetic procedure can have a dramatic effect on your looks -- and, in turn, on your confidence and self-esteem. You are guaranteed to be on the receiving end of many compliments and questions about your secret to anti-aging.
Some Closing Thoughts
Botox isn't for everyone, but it has helped millions of women and men feel great about the fact that they present to the world. Our professional, caring staff has seen firsthand the difference that Botox injections can make.
Have questions? We'd be happy to answer them, or to schedule you for a consultation so that we can chat in person. Give us a call or use our handy contact form to get in touch.
While no one can truly turn back the hands of time, it is possible to slow them down a bit using Botox. You'll be glad you did!