Some facial wrinkles the result of aging, the decreasing production of collagen and elastin, and sun damage. These are called static wrinkles and they show themselves at all times. But other wrinkles are caused by muscle contractions when we perform certain common behaviors such as frowning, squinting, and laughing. These are called dynamic wrinkles.
While static wrinkles are the domain of facial fillers, dynamic wrinkles are for BOTOX®.
What are BOTOX® injections?
BOTOX® is made of the botulinum toxin A, which is the bacteria that cause botulism. But a couple decades ago doctors discovered that if miniscule amounts of the toxin were injected into a muscle they caused the muscle to stop contracting. BOTOX® was formulated and originally used on conditions such as eyelid spasms, lazy eye, and migraines. Then in 2002 the FDA approved BOTOX® for the cosmetic treatment of facial wrinkles. That’s when BOTOX® became a household word.
How does BOTOX® work?
When injected into a muscle that creates a wrinkle when it contracts, BOTOX® blocks the signals sent from the muscle nerve to the brain telling the muscle to contract. Because the brain doesn’t receive the message, it doesn’t signal the muscle to contract and the wrinkle either disappears or dramatically lessens in appearance.
What can be treated with BOTOX® injections?
BOTOX® injections work only on dynamic wrinkles that are caused by muscle contractions. On the upper face, BOTOX® works on frown lines between the eyebrows (also known as the 11’s), crow’s feet at the corners of the eyes, and forehead lines.
What can I expect from my BOTOX® appointment?
BOTOX® is injected with a very fine needle. Most people don’t have a problem with the slight pricks, but you can request a topical anesthetic if you’d like. Your BOTOX® session lasts just 15 minutes.
There is no downtime. There can be slight bruising at the injection sites, but this passes quickly. It’s important for patients not to rub the injection sites for the first 18 hours after treatment, as this can cause the BOTOX® to migrate to other muscles where it is not meant to be.
What can I expect from the results of BOTOX® injections?
Results are not immediate because BOTOX® has to first paralyze the muscle. The process usually takes around three days for results to begin to show. Results usually last from four to six months; at that point the muscles will start contracting again and the wrinkles will return. To maintain your results, another BOTOX® session is needed.
What are the risks involved in BOTOX® injections?
The risks with BOTOX® are usually the result of novice injectors who incorrectly place the BOTOX® causing eyelids to droop and other unwanted effects. But with an experienced injector, the risks are minimal.