Botox Injections (also known as anti-wrinkle injections) are one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in the world today and have been used in medicine for nearly 20 years. Despite the increasing popularity and acceptance of the treatment there is still some confusion and misconceptions from both patients and the public. Life Begins At sat down with Dr Kate Jameson, Medical Director of Youth Lab to discuss 10 of the most commonly asked questions regarding botox.
Top 10 botox questions answered
LBA: When should someone start having Botox injections?
I like to think of anti-wrinkle injections as a fantastic preventative measure, to soften existing fine lines and wrinkles and also slow down their progression. There is no right time or age to start treatment, however when someone starts to notice fine lines forming at rest, or are bothered by those dynamic wrinkles of facial expression, then botox may be a good option.
READ MORE BEAUTY ARTICLES: How to rewind ageing skin for a firmer, wrinkle-free complexion
LBA: Will Botox make you look fake or frozen?
Absolutely not. A common misconception surrounding Botox is that you will look ‘fake’ and have no facial expression, however we can tailor the response of anti-wrinkle injections to the patient’s desired outcome and anatomy. If a natural look and a softening of the wrinkles is desired then the results will be undetectable.
Following a full consultation with an experienced injector, a treatment plan based on your individual concerns can be established. Often new patients like to start with a lighter dose leaving some residual movement of the muscle, this often leads to comments from others that they look ‘rested’ and ‘refreshed’.
LBA: Do wrinkles get worse if Botox treatments are stopped?
This is a common concern from many patients new to cosmetic injectables. Rest assured that ceasing treatments will not cause wrinkles to get worse. Botox works by inhibiting muscular contraction, while a muscle is at rest the fibres atrophy and shrink, meaning that the size and strength of the muscle decreases.
Over time and with regular treatments the muscles of facial expression will soften and wrinkles will not form. However stopping treatments at any time will result in return of muscle activity, as the results from Botox injections are not permanent.The muscle activity will return to baseline and wrinkles will not be more evident than before treatments started.
LBA: Are Botox injections toxic?
Although the active product of Botox is Botulinum Toxin type A and is a ‘toxin’ the treatment itself is not toxic. The product is derived from the bacteria clostridium botulinum which can cause infections in humans, primarily a food poisoning type illness. However when the toxin is purified, as it is in Botox, and injected into the skin and muscles it is not possible to spread into the blood to cause an systemic response. The active dose is so low and only acts locally at the muscle/nerve junction. The dose to cause any systemic response in humans is much too high and not possible at doses used in medicine.
LBA: Can Botox be used to treat any other conditions aside from wrinkles?
Botox is commonly referred to as anti-wrinkle injections, however the use of the treatment is not limited to cosmetic medicine. Botox is used widely for a number medical concerns and its cosmetic use was actually discovered whilst ophthalmologists were investigating its use in strabismus (crossed eyes) and blepharospasm (involuntary contraction of the eyelid).
Furthermore, it is also used in muscle spasticity in cerebral palsy, cervical dystonia, detrusor instability (overactive bladder), migraines, hyperhidrosis (excess sweating), bruxism and rosacea flushing.
LBA: What are the possible side effects from the treatment?
The side effects from treatment are generally minimal which make anti-wrinkle injections a fantastic ‘lunchtime procedure’. Common effects from treatment include tenderness at the injection site, mild swelling, redness and a low possibility of bruising. These are mild, temporary and often more of an effect from the injections themselves not the product. Transient headache is also possible but most people continue with their daily activities without any down time.
Rarer side effects include eyelid ptosis or eyebrow ptosis, double vision, blurred vision, spread to neighbouring muscles causing facial asymmetry and a rare risk of infection or allergy.
LBA: Who is a suitable candidate for Botox?
Most adults will find they are suitable candidates for the treatment, especially as the treatment indications are so varied. In the cosmetic use of Botox for wrinkle reduction, any patient who wishes to prevent formation of wrinkles and soften existing lines is a candidate, though there are some contraindications (medical term for a factor that serves as a reason to withhold a certain medical treatment) to treatment. Medical contraindications include those with a neuromuscular disease such as Myasthenia Gravis, those with an active infection in the area and patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
LBA: Are Botox Injections addictive?
Although Botox treatment uses a Schedule 4 medication there is no risk of addiction to the drug. However many patients say they become ‘addicted’ to the treatment in the fact that they feel increased confidence and wellbeing after their treatments.
LBA: Can you become immune to Botox?
There have been cases of patients who previously had a good response with Botox injections stop responding to treatment. This is thought to be due to the development of antibodies to the toxin.
Although rare, it is likely due to very high doses being used in the past (often for medical indications). Higher doses do not result in more effect in these cases unfortunately and often a prolonged break from treatment (over 12 months) is needed.
LBA: Can Men have Botox injections?
Absolutely. Welcome to the ‘brotox’ boom. We are seeing a huge increase in the number of male patients requesting anti-wrinkle injections to refresh their appearance and decrease the visible signs of ageing.