The people who have doubts about Botox often have concerns about injecting a poison INTO THEIR FACE.
They worry about looking frozen and the expense. So to put your mind at ease, I put this post together. I hope it answers all your questions and concerns!
When you're considering Botox, think about the following:
Botox Cosmetic has an excellent safety record.
Botulinum toxin type A/B injections (including Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin) are the most common cosmetic procedure performed worldwide with nearly 3 million injections per year.
Botox is an extract of Clostridium botulinum, a bacteria found in soil which causes paralysis in humans. This extract works beautifully to cause long lasting paralysis of the muscles that cause wrinkles without causing botulism. The effects, that can be so deadly in botulism, are desirable in Botox Cosmetic.
The FDA first approved Botox for wrinkles in 2002. When Botox Cosmetic is injected into the muscles around the eyes, those muscles are temporarily paralyzed and cannot contract for about 4 months. This causes the wrinkles around the eyes to go away for the length of the paralysis. Recent studies have shown that Botox Cosmetic injections increased elasticity and pliability of the skin, although after four months, the skin had gone back to its previous state.
Crow’s feet are caused by contractions of the muscle that circles the eye. This muscle is responsible for blinking and closing the eye.
Glabellar lines are caused by contractions of the corrugator and procerus muscles. They create the appearance of a wrinkled brow. Diagrams courtesy of Allergan.
Still thinking twice about being injected with a toxin?
“All things are poisons and there is nothing that is harmless, the dose alone decides that something is not poison.”
- Paracelsus (1493–1541)
Today we use many medications that come from toxins. Aspirin is made from willow bark. It is used daily by many to prevent and minimize the risk of heart attack, but if used in large amounts, can cause fatal bleeding.
Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. It comes from the crocus, a beautiful spring flower bulb, but when taken in excess is a poison.
The nitroglycerin used in dynamite is the same nitroglycerin that relieves chest pain in heart patients - the difference lies in the dilution.
So you see, although it is derived from a toxin, when used properly with FDA recommended dosing, Botox Cosmetic is extremely safe. The small amounts of Botox that are injected into the muscles of the face have a very low risk of complications. The most common risks are usually temporary and include bruising and swelling around the injection site. In 1 - 5% of cases, there can be a droop to the eyelid or brow, which usually goes away within two weeks.
But you’ve heard about problems with botulinum toxin . . .
Botulinum toxin can stay active in the body for several months. This is good in low doses, but with the large doses needed for medical (not cosmetic) use, it can cause problems—especially in cases of off label use, meaning not FDA approved.
In 2008, the FDA reported some concerns with Botulinum toxin being used to treat conditions with abnormal muscle contractions like cerebral palsy. The most serious cases have involved children who received large doses at multiple sites in their legs. They had side effects including throat swelling that made breathing difficult. A few were hospitalized and one child died.
Currently, the treatment of cerebral palsy with leg spasms is not approved by the FDA. It was never approved for use in children under the age of 12. While botulinum toxin is still given to cerebral palsy patients, and in many cases is successful, more research is needed to determine safe dosing.
Botulinum toxin has been FDA approved for and successfully used in medical cases such as lazy eye, uncontrolled spasm of the eyelid, and chronic migraine headache, to name a few. All of these conditions involve involuntary muscle contractions. It has also been used to treat conditions such as writer’s cramp and facial spasms. Within hours to days after injection, the muscle contraction is either reduced or has disappeared. The effects are not permanent, but do last anywhere from 3 to 8 months. Research is ongoing and will continue to find new uses for Botox and other Botulinum toxins to improve quality of life for these patients.
When Considering Botox, Remember These 3 Things:
You can try Botox. If you don’t like it, stop using it. There are no side effects from discontinued use.
2. You don’t have to look “frozen.”
Denver is #3 in the U.S. for Botox use. We don’t look frozen. Botox dosing can be adjusted to your specifications. The ideal dose allows for intentional facial movement but blocks involuntary facial frowning and squinting, thus reducing wrinkles.
3. The expense generally goes down with time.
When considering Botox, know that you will need injections about every 3½ months for the first year. By the second year, you can increase the spacing to every 4 months. By year three, you may be able to increase to 6 months between injections. If you exercise regularly, your injections may need to be more frequent because exercise causes the body to metabolize the Botox quickly. These are general guidelines for getting the best results.
If you're interested in learning more about Botox, read these:
- How much Botox will you need? How much will your Botox cost?
- Botox vs. Fillers | Which Will Work Best for You?
- Erasa XEP 30 Review + Before & After Pictures | Better Than Botox?
- Botox vs. Baby Botox | What’s the Difference?
If you're still not sure Botox is the best skin rejuvenation choice for you, read our blog post, You’ve decided to do some skin rejuvenation, but how do you decide what to work on first? You might also consider Erasa XEP 30. It's a skincare product that contains a neuropeptide. Some people use it instead of Botox. Good luck!
Amy Takken, RN
Amy Takken is a registered nurse with 20+ years of experience helping people improve their health. Her in-depth skincare articles have been featured on Nazarian Plastic Surgery and The Palm Beach Center for Facial Plastic & Laser Surgery.
Masterpiece Skin Restoration is your online resource for all things medical aesthetics, skincare, beauty, and wellness. We keep you up to date on leading edge technology and the services available to help you restore your natural beauty.
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If you like this post, you'll LOVE these:
Omprakash H M, Rajendran S C. Botulinum toxin deaths: What is the fact?. J Cutan Aesthet Surg [serial online] 2008 [cited 2015 Apr 2];1:95-7. To read more click here.
https://scienceline.org/2009/01/ask-storrs-botox-safety/ How Safe Is Botox?
https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/features/botox-death-paralysis/botox-misunderstood.html The Relationship Between Botox and Botulism
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2840902/ Botulinum Toxin Deaths: What is the Fact?
http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2003-11/1068057226.Bc.r.html What Enzyme Does Botox Inhibit in a Muscle Contraction?
The Information provided on our website is not medical advice and should not be viewed as such. By law, only a medical doctor can diagnose or give medical advice. As a registered nurse, my goal is to educate, so I provide information on skin care, skin care products, and skin care treatments. If you have any condition that concerns you, please see a medical doctor. While most skin conditions are benign, some - like melanoma - can be deadly. If there is any doubt, please, please consult your physician. Thank you!