What Is Botox, and How Does it Work?
Botox has been used in the medical field for a long time, initially employed for its medical efficacy. Botox was first FDA-approved in 1989 for the treatment of eyelid muscle spasms. Soon after its release, doctors noticed that it also had cosmetic benefits. Botox injections were doing more than relaxing overactive eyelid muscles — they were also relaxing wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes. The FDA approved Botox as an aesthetic treatment in 2002. Now it is used by millions of people each year and is one of the most recognized names in the beauty and cosmetic industry.
The active ingredient in Botox is the neurotoxin botulinum toxin Type A. When introduced to a muscle, this neurotoxin prevents the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that causes muscle movements. By blocking acetylcholine, Botox ensures that the treated muscle never receives the message to contract. In turn, this reaction prevents the skin over the muscle from creasing, thus preventing unwanted lines and wrinkles. Your untreated muscles are not affected, so you don't end up looking frozen or unable to make natural facial expressions. You'll still look like you, just with fewer wrinkles and a softer appearance!
During your initial consultation, one of our friendly aesthetic experts will assess your skin, evaluate your concerns, and determine if Botox is right for you. We also offer Dysport and Xeomin, as well as a variety of injectable dermal fillers.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Botox Injections?
A Botox injection is an incredibly versatile treatment that can turn back the clock, reviving your confidence and refreshing your facial appearance. This minimally invasive treatment is suitable for most everyone – including both men and women of any skin tone and type. Some of the common cosmetic concerns Botox addresses include:
- Crow's feet – wrinkles near the eyes
- Glabellar lines – the '11' that forms between the eyebrows
- Lines across the forehead
- Sagging eyebrows
- Vertical neck bands
- A gummy smile
- Bunny lines – lines that appear on the nose
In addition, Botox is effective at treating the following medical concerns:
- Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Cervical dystonia
- Discomfort in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
- A lazy eye or crossed eyes
- Involuntary muscle twitching
Take our Neurotoxin test here to see if you're a candidate!
How is Botox Different from Other Injectables?
Both Botox and dermal fillers are used to treat wrinkles, but they work differently to deliver their anti-aging benefits. Botox limits muscle movements to smooth away expression lines, while dermal fillers restore lost volume in the face, lips and hands. Unlike Botox, dermal fillers have no effect on muscle activity and are suitable for static wrinkles that are visible when the face is at rest. Both treatments provide safe, effective and temporary results, but we may recommend one over the other depending on your specific concerns. In some cases, combining Botox and dermal fillers can offer a more natural, seamless look by addressing several different signs of aging at once. During your consultation, our team will assess your needs and develop a customized treatment plan tailored to your goals and expectations.
What Can I Expect During Botox Treatments?
Before your Botox injection, one of our aesthetic experts will identify which muscles require treatment, and then clean the designated area. An icepack may be applied to help mitigate any discomfort you might experience during treatment. The injector will then administer the Botox using a fine needle and it will begin to bind to nerve receptors, preventing the release of chemicals that stimulate muscle movement. These muscles won't be paralyzed entirely but will be relaxed enough to avert any significant skin creasing. You might feel a small stinging sensation while being injected; this is normal and very brief.
Treatments generally take just 10 to 20 minutes to complete. However, this can vary from person to person, depending on the scope of the treated area and the number of units used. Botox is often referred to as a ‘lunchtime' procedure because it is quick, letting you get back to work immediately afterward with no downtime. With convenient locations in Santa Rosa and Larkspur, our Bay Area patients can be in and out with minimal disruption to their busy lifestyle, making it easy to fit Botox into your schedule!
Is There Any Aftercare or Recovery?
Botox requires no downtime or recovery. You may experience mild redness or swelling in the treated area, but these effects are short-lived for most patients. In rare cases, Botox can migrate from the injection site and cause temporary weakness in nearby muscles. To minimize this risk, it's recommended that you avoid lying down or rubbing treated areas after your appointment to give the product time to settle. Strenuous activities should also be limited until the next day, as increased blood flow can cause diffusion and negatively impact your results. Other than these minor restrictions, you can immediately resume your normal routine.
What Results Can I Expect After My Botox Treatment?
The anti-aging benefits of Botox usually take two to five days to appear. Improvements will continue to develop after your appointment, and full results are typically achieved by day 10.
After just one Botox session, you'll notice your skin appears visibly smoother, giving you a more youthful image. Depending upon the treated areas, Botox injections typically last for three to four months, but you can prolong your results with an occasional maintenance or touch-up appointment. Over time, subsequent treatments can even help “train” the facial muscles to relax more easily. Most people who opt for Botox receive injections at least three times a year if they wish to maintain their results indefinitely.
Not only will Botox smooth out existing wrinkles, but it can also stop new ones from forming. By limiting muscle activity in treated areas, Botox minimizes the facial movements that cause expression lines in the first place, keeping them from becoming deeper and more noticeable. For patients in their 20s or 30s, Botox can treat the signs of aging before they emerge and slow the onset of wrinkles around the eyes, nose and forehead. If you're interested in preventative Botox, our aesthetic experts can develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs and goals.