Once wrinkles and fine lines start appearing, it is an indication your skin is not holding up well anymore. However, it is almost inevitable that your skin will develop fine lines and wrinkles at some point in your life. The good thing is that there are unlimited products in the market and procedures to help in reducing the effects of wrinkles if not to get rid of them entirely. Among the available solutions to skin wrinkles, Botox is by far the most sought-after cosmetic procedure today.
What is Botox?
Botox is a type of toxin derived from the bacterium, Clostridium Botulinum naturally found in the soil, forests, lakes, inside the intestinal tracts of mammals and organs of crabs and the shellfish. The truth is that higher amounts of this toxin can be highly poisonous and dangerous. However, application of small and weaker doses of the toxin is effective in reducing facial fine lines and wrinkles. You will be shocked by the soaring number of celebs undergoing Botox as a way of maintaining their youthful-looking skin.
What is Botox used for?
Apart from the aesthetic use, Botox is also used in the treatment of other conditions affecting normal body functioning. Among the conditions include;
- Cervical dystonia- this is a condition where the neck muscles contract involuntarily resulting in uncomfortable head-twisting. In many clinical trials to correct the abnormal posture and movement of the neck, Botox has been shown to help in reducing the effects of cervical dystonia effectively.
- Chronic migraines– migraines are severe neurological conditions characterized by headaches of varying intensity. If you are suffering chronic migraine for at least 15 months a month, then Botox injections may come in handy to help in reducing the frequency of headaches. In 2010, the United States Food Administration approved Botox for treatment of chronic migraines since it proved effective in reducing frequency and severity of headaches suffered.
- Lazy eye- this condition is usually caused by an imbalance in muscles liable for positioning the eye. A study evaluating the role of botulinum toxin in treating strabismic amblyopia concluded that the treatment is safe and effective in treating deep amblyopia in children. Botox injections were also proved to be beneficial and effective in correcting strabismus, a condition that sometimes causes amblyopia.
- Hyperhidrosis- this is excessive sweating, even at low temperatures. Research to determine the effectiveness of Botulinum toxin in the treatment of palmar and axillary hyperhidrosis found Botox to be safe and more effective compared to sympathectomy which is the typical treatment option many people opt for.
- Muscle contractures– cerebral palsy among other neurological conditions may significantly affect your body’s normal functioning. Muscle contractions, for instance, may result in pulling of limbs towards the center. Botox injections are used in such a case to help relax the muscles and aid in the treatment of flexion contractures.
- Eye twitching/ blepharospasm- this is an involuntary or abnormal twitching or blinking of the eyelids. There is a close association of this condition with basal gangling which is the part of the brain that controls muscles. Botulinum toxin A treatment will help you to get relieved from the contractures.
- Bladder dysfunction– an overactive bladder may result in urinary incontinence, and Botox injections may come in handy to stop the condition.
How Botox works
The secret behind how Botox works is by paralyzing muscle activity around the injected area. For instance, injecting the contacted facial muscles, which result in wrinkles, helps to weaken the muscles and in turn reducing the wrinkles. According to a report by Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Botulinum toxin A prevents acetylcholine from being released by cholinergic nerve end plate resulting in paralysis of muscle activity. This, therefore, prevents the chemical signals that cause muscles to contract from the nerves.
How the procedure is done
A Botox procedure will take just a few minutes. In most cases, anesthesia is not required. Only fine needles used to inject Botox into the needed muscles. Minor discomfort is also likely but not something to worry about.
After getting Botox treatment, it may take roughly between seven and fourteen days for full effects to be realized. It is recommendable that you quit alcohol consumption at least a week before the procedure. On the other hand, taking anti-inflammatory medications and aspirin is discouraged at least two weeks to the procedure. This is so to prevent and reduces cases of bruising.
How long a Botox injection lasts
Botox is not a one-time treatment since it lasts roughly 3-6 months before the muscles regain their contraction and wrinkles begin to reappear. After this period, you need to redo the process. The good thing, however, is that wrinkles become less and less severe with subsequent treatments because of muscle shrinkage over time.
Possible side effects of Botox treatments
In most cases, bruising is common after undergoing Botox treatment. There are, however, many other side effects associated with Botox treatment, especially when not performed correctly. Among them are;
- Pain, redness, bruising, and swelling around the injected area
- Flu-like symptoms and headaches
- Drooping eyelids
- Muscle stiffness, neck, and back pains
- Increased sweating in other areas other than the armpits
- Loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain
- Tearing that results in eye dryness
- Drooling or crooked smile
In the worst scenario where the effects of botulinum toxin A have to spread to other parts of the body the following side effects may be experienced;
- Eyesight and vision problems
- Muscle weakness across the entire body
- Breathing problems
- Problems when swallowing or speaking
- Inability to have bladder control
- Drainage or crusting from the eyes
- Faster, slow and uneven heart rate
These effects are highly unlikely, but you must always be prepared for any eventuality before contacting your doctor who will then perform the procedure. This way, you will be in a position to know what you need to do in case of such symptoms.
Going about selecting the right doctor to perform Botox procedure
Choosing a wrong doctor can be disastrous to your overall health. Botox injections need to be carefully and precisely placed to avoid the possibility of the mentioned side effects. An excellent way to go about this is by getting referrals from your primary care doctor or finding one that is specialized and has experience administering Botox procedures.
When you are sure you are in the right hands, the skilled and experienced doctors will explain to you everything entailed in Botox treatments, possible side effects and advise if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure.
Preparing for the Botox procedure
Once you are done choosing the right doctor to undertake the process, it is essential to prepare to ensure the procedure is a success. First and foremost discuss everything concerning Botox procedure including opening up about the kind of medications you are currently taking such as allergy medications sleeping aids and muscle relaxants. This is important for the doctor to book you the right day to perform the procedure. For instance, if you are taking blood thinners, you will need to forgo them for several days before the day to prevent bruising and bleeding risks.
What to expect before, during and after the Botox procedure
Depending on your ability to tolerate the discomfort from the injection, talk to your doctor about skin numbing, especially if you are undergoing treatment for excessive sweating. In such cases, the doctor will use one or a combination of the available methods to numb the specific area before injections. Use of vibration anesthesia, topical anesthesia and ice are good options that help reduce the discomfort associated with Botox treatments.
Botox is all about injecting a minimal amount of botulinum toxin A into muscle or skin areas. Your doctor will determine how many injections are necessarily based on the size of the area to be treated among other factors. You will always have to visit your doctor’s office for this procedure.
The procedure has typically no apparent side effects that may hinder your daily activities. However, you should remain vigilant to ensure the treated area is not rubbed or massaged as this can result in a spread of the toxin to other areas around the treated area.
When should you expect results?
Botox treatment starts working a few days after the procedure is carried out. The effect of the treatment may then vary between three and six months depending on the particular problem being treated. Once the effect of Botox subsides, you will need to go for another procedure
Botox is undoubtedly one of the most common non-surgical cosmetic treatment attracting millions of people across the world. This is despite the fact that botulinum toxin is considered to be deadly. The procedure helps reduce wrinkles and facial lines by paralyzing muscles from contracting using a minimal amount of the toxin. Besides, this procedure may be used in treating migraines, overactive bladder, muscular disorders, Hemifacial spasms, crow’s feet, hyperhidrosis, and blepharospasm among other conditions.
Before going for the procedure, first, understand if you are an ideal candidate. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and individuals with neurological disorders are advised not to use Botox treatments. This brings you back to consulting with your doctor before making any decision.