We all know what it looks like when a cosmetic procedure goes wrong or when people’s faces look a little alien and something is not quite right! But one cosmetic procedure, Botox, is becoming increasingly more popular. Botox is known to erase fine lines and wrinkles by “freezing” the muscles in your face. It’s a simple injectable that’s quick and requires minimal recovery but isn’t the Botulinum toxin a deadly poison and what are the pros and cons? Let’s find out.
What is botox?
Botox is a brand name of a toxin made from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botox is often used as a blanket term because it was the first available injectable botulinum toxin but other brand names are Dysport and Xeomin.
The toxin is most commonly injected to relax the facial muscles, smoothing out lines and wrinkles, or used as what is termed “preventative botox” before the face starts to age and before deeper lines set in. Many people use botox to remove or lessen their frown lines, smile lines, and crow’s feet.
Botox isn’t permanent and usually lasts around three to four months. The injection costs vary from £100 to £350 per treatment, depending on the clinic, its location, and the area on the face being treated.
Why do people use botox?
As you know, the most common reason doctors and specialists use botox is for “tweakments” and cosmetic anti-ageing purposes, but botox can treat other conditions such as
- hyperhidrosis which is severe underarm sweating
- cervical dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder muscle spasms
- blepharospasm, where people cannot control excess blinking
- strabismus, or eyes that point in different directions
- chronic migraines
- overactive bladder
So, if you suffer from any of the above conditions, botox may also help with those ailments too!
The pros of botox
For cosmetic pros, there are many with botox as it often makes people feel happier with their appearance, so botox can treat certain medical ailments and it
- can smooth out fine lines, wrinkles, forehead furrows, frown lines, lip lines, bunny lines (around the nose), dimpled chin, downturned mouth, platysmal bands around the neck, under-eye wrinkles and more
- can soften a square jawline
- can correct a gummy smile
- can reduce the medical symptoms discussed such as migraines and overactive underarm sweat glands
Pros of botox treatment include the following.
- Botox is proven to work
- Botox is (almost) painless
- Botox has (almost) no downtime
- Botox has quick results
- Botox is not permanent
- Botox has few risks
All this being said, there are some cons you should be aware of.
The cons of botox
1. Botox can have (rare) associated risks and side effects
- You may experience a headache and flu-like symptoms in the first 24-hours
- You may notice bruising, swelling, and redness in the area where needles pierced your skin
- You may have a “frozen look” and may not be able to move muscles in your face if too much botox was injected
- You may experience temporary weakness, dropping, or droopiness in your face such as a drooping eyelid if the botox moves into these areas
- Rare and serious side effects include blurred or double vision if the area around the eye is treated and/or difficulty breathing if the area around the neck is injected
- The risks are rare if completed by a qualified practitioner
2. Botox can take several treatments to work
- Botox takes around one to three days to kick in but you might not get the results you want after a single session.
3. Botox can cause lost facial expressions
- Botox stops you from doing things that are wrinkle-causing like frowning for example so you may have fewer expressions and appear more “blank,” which means people may have trouble interpreting how you feel and some studies have show that people find botox dampens their ability to feel emotions!
4. Botox is expensive and is not permanent
- Botox often costs hundreds per treatment area and depending on which and how many areas you treat, that can add up, especially since you have to have the treatment up to four times per year.
5. Botox weakens muscles
- So, think back to if you ever broke a bone as a kid and put it in a cast – or knew someone who had one – when you don’t use muscles for a long time, they atrophy. The same can happen with your facial muscles. Just like your arm in a cast becomes all thin, weak, and pale from not seeing the sun, your forehead muscles, for example, will weaken over time from lack of use and practice.
6. Botox trains your facial expressions
- If you continue using botox for years, your muscles will become trained to make fewer movements or not to make wrinkle-forming expressions as aggressively (kind of like muscle memory from running or lifting weights at the gym). If you regain movement when you stop doing botox, you will be aware that you are making movements you aren’t used to making.
- A good point of facial training is that you will need less and less over time for it to work!
- The effects of botox keep going even after you stop.
7. Botox might thin the skin
- If you start botox in your 20s, for example, over time botox might visibly thin the skin, which results in heavier brows and eyelids, which is the opposite of what you want. Then, the toxin will be more difficult to use after that point since you won’t have much muscle left to freeze.
If you’re considering botox, weigh up if the pros and cons are worth it to you.
Safety tip #1: Make sure your provider is adequately trained
If you do decide to get treatment, make sure you’re going to a qualified and experienced professional. There are licensed medical practitioners who specialise in botox.
The botulinum toxin is prescribed only by qualified medical practitioners (doctor, dentist, pharmacist prescriber, nurse prescriber) and is responsible for its safe administration.
After you’ve had botox, do not rub or massage your face for three days, avoid exercise, sunbathing, and the sauna for two days. Your practitioner will give you additional advice. And wait at least three months between treatments or botox will stop working for you.
Safety tip #2: Know when you cannot have botox
You cannot have botox if you have infected skin, are unwell, have a neuromuscular condition, you’re on certain medications, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you’re not quite ready to try botox, you may want to try something less invasive like our doctor-recommended Age-Defying laser which is proven to give you younger-looking skin and is the most inexpensive non-ablative laser treatment available on the market.