Everything You Need To Know About Botox

Botulinum toxin (Botox) has a long and winding history.  The “the little neurotoxin that could,” as USA Today once proclaimed it, wasn’t always sought after for a smooth and youthful appearance.  Instead, its usefulness among physicians originated within ophthalmology, when Dr. Alan B. Scott discovered it to be a viable treatment option for patients with strabismus, or crossed eyes.  Gradually, the scope of application for Botox expanded to treatment for muscle spasms, and eventually, in the early 90s, to the aesthetic uses we associate it with today.

With its FDA approval in 2002, Botox experienced a meteoric rise in popularity.  Within just a few years, annual sales eclipsed $1billion, and they haven’t slowed.  Today, there are countless products on the market which tout their wrinkle-reducing, fountain-of-youth capabilities, but few ever come close to the massive popularity and widespread acceptance of Botox.  After all, the product has proven itself consistently to provide the promised results and to do it safely.  For any patient seeking an effective wrinkle treatment, Botox should be on the short list, and if it is, here is exactly what you need to know:

When Should You Have Botox?

The ideal timing to begin Botox treatment differs from one patient to the next.  Recent studies have shown that early and timely use of Botox can aid in the prevention of wrinkles, leading some patients to begin a treatment regimen as early as their 20s.  However, many patients prefer to begin use in their 30s and beyond when crow’s feet, laugh lines, and other fine lines and wrinkles begin to crop up.   While your dermatologist can offer advice and guidance, only you can make the ultimate decision of when Botox is right for you.

What Kind of Results can You Expect from Botox?

The quality of results that you can expect from a Botox treatment depends largely on the provider you choose.  While practitioners from a variety of fields have begun to offer this option, it is a practice best left to those who are actively board certified dermatologists or plastic surgeons.  When done properly, results should be apparent within a week, should last for 3 months, and should leave behind minimal swelling or bruising.

What are the Side Effects of Botox?

While there is no treatment or medication available which is completely without side effect for all users, Botox comes very close.  In the case that side effects do occur, they are typically minor and short-lived.  These can include headaches, bruising, or pain at the injection site.  In less than 1% of all cases, drooping eyelids or brows may occur.  However, this is a less frequent concern when performed by skilled practitioners using the proper amount and injection techniques.

How often will You Need Botox?

The results of Botox should last 3 months on average. Some patients may require more units per visit, depending on muscle mass and the depth of their wrinkles.  However, the frequency of visits is typically the same for each patient, meaning that whether you are 30 or 50, you should plan on seeing your dermatologist around four times per year (every 3 months) to keep up your results.

Over the years, there have many alternatives to Botox, but few have performed so consistently, providing reliable, safe results. If you’re ready to look younger, or you would like to proactively safeguard your skin from the tell-tale signs of aging, Botox is likely the right choice for you.

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