Our 3-part non-invasive facial rejuvenation series examines the pros and cons of the three most popular cosmetic techniques: Botox, Dermal Fillers and Chemical Peels.
Touted as the miracle wrinkle eraser, Botox can quickly and painlessly relax wrinkle-causing muscles to reduce expression lines and create a smoother, wrinkle-free complexion.
Facial rejuvenation for expression lines
Expression lines, such as laugh lines, brow lines and crow’s feet, result from repeated facial movements. As we age and our skin loses elasticity, expression lines make deeper depressions on our faces and are reinforced every time we laugh, cry, frown, or act surprised. For example, every time we laugh, the muscles below the surface of the skin contract.
When Botox is injected into the facial muscles that cause expression lines, it relaxes the muscles so they can’t contract. This discontinues the facial movements that cause the creases and prevents new lines from forming.
What is Botox?
Botulinum Toxin Type A is the active ingredient in Botox and Dysport – brand names for the prescription drug. Produced from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, the same toxin that causes botulism (a life-threatening type of food poisoning), it is derived from bacteria in laboratories in a similar way to how penicillin is derived from mould.
How does it work?
Muscles injected with Botox are temporarily relaxed, even paralysed, by blocking the nerve-muscle connection. As well as reducing expression lines, Botox can reduce muscle tightness in people with cerebral palsy, improving comfort and movement.
The effects of Botox last between three and six months, depending on the person and the procedure. Top-ups for facial procedures are generally required at 3-4 months to continue a line-free appearance.
As mentioned earlier, Botox is used more widely than simply improving one’s looks. It has been prescribed for medical conditions, including cerebral palsy (CP), multiple sclerosis, incontinence, teeth grinding, and even migraines.
In CP patients, Botox has proved effective in relaxing muscle overactivity and stiffness, eliminating excessive blinking, and reducing limb spasticity – with some parents witnessing children with CP walking for the first time after injection of the drug. On the contrary, there have also been families whose children have fallen ill and even died after receiving Botox.
Usually temporary and mild, side effects of Botox injections include bruising, swelling and pain at the injection site. Pain associated with the injection has been described as similar to an ant bite.
More significant side effects are rare but include flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems, difficulties swallowing, and general weakness. Children, and adults suffering from specific health concerns, are at greater risk of more severe side effects than the general population.
Where do I get Botox?
Because Botox is a prescription drug, it can only be prescribed by doctors, and according to the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, doctors should only use it. However, we know many non-medical professionals administer the drug. When being treated at a beauty clinic, it is recommended that a doctor is supervising or, at least, is on the premises.
Make an appointment for a consultation before agreeing to the treatment.
Ask for a treatment plan to outline how much Botox is required, how often you’ll need to return, and how much each treatment will cost. Treatments can cost between $100-$300, depending on the practitioner and the area being treated.
A safer, non-invasive alternative
It is easy to see the appeal of a Botox treatment. It is quick, practically painless, requires no recovery time, and is safer than aggressive, invasive surgical procedures.
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