To Botox or not to Botox?
Regardless of your age chances are you would have heard of Botox and have seen celebrity news about injections, probably also have seen disaster stories in the media. You might have a strong opinion already or you could be on the fence. Apparently “5 in 6 users” of Botox admit they are not aware of what is actually being injected in the face. We decided to compile all the good, the bad and the ugly about this popular injection.
What is Botox?
Botulinum toxin is derived from bacteria and in high dosage is toxic is used to block nerve activity in the muscles. Botox uses a minute amount of the toxin, and is therefore considered a ‘safe treatment’ for cosmetic use. (Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD) It is most commonly used for ‘glabella lines’ or most commonly known as frown lines, it has also been used to treat “lines on the forehead and crows feet around the eyes” (Jonathan Hoenig, MD)
How does it work?
When you frown you contract your muscles – you may have seen women struggle to raise eyebrows or frown post the injection. The toxin is able to paralyse your face muscles, by blocking the signal from nerves to the muscles temporarily of course.
How long does the effect last?
It usually takes between 7-14 days for the effect to take place and the effect usually lasts between 3 -6 months. (WebMD, Cosmetic procedures) Some of our clients report Botox lasting a year, but this is rare and will depend on your skin type. Average timescale is usually 3 months.
Why would you do Botox?
We all know as we age, we begin to develop wrinkles. So what are wrinkles and how are they caused? Our skin loses elasticity and our collagen levels drop as soon as we hit 40. (BBC, What causes wrinkles?) Because of this lack of elasticity the facial movements and frowns, emotions we show don’t return to normal, but instead leave lines, or wrinkles. Botox is therefore used to paralyse that relationship between nerves and muscles temporarily to smooth the skin. It also works well on deeper wrinkles to delay the process of ageing.
How much is Botox?
1 Area of Botox ranges from £100 to £250, 2 areas are between £200 - 400.
What are the risks with Botox?
The good news is that in majority of cases, if done by a doctor there are very few side effects, however long-term effects are unknown. This is because the effects of even a ‘bad job’ usually wear off within a few months. The short term issues can be:
- Pain, swelling or bruising at the injection site
- Headache or flu-like symptoms
- Droopy eyelid or cockeyed eyebrows
- Crooked smile or drooling
- Eye dryness or excessive tearing
Also in rare circumstances breathing problems or loss of vision. Choose your doctor carefully and make sure they talk to you about the desired effect.
Botox injections can be very useful to slow the ageing problems, but try other less invasive treatments while you can before you begin injections. The main issue with Botox is that once you begin doing injections it is a life-long commitment and depending on your skin you could be getting this 2-4 times a year. Also make sure you are treated by a doctor and not just someone with a Certificate. That level of expertise may determine whether you walk out with a symmetrical face or will be trying to hide your face for the next 3 months.
We recommend you look at all alternatives to this first before you commit to see if you can delay the process. For instance we re-direct our Botox patients for BTL Face skin tightening as this is non invasive and the effect will last up to 2 years if they have light wrinkles and need a boost to skin elasticity. We only advise patients with deep wrinkles to get Botox and only after a consultation.