To Botox or not to Botox? Maybe you know someone who has had it, or maybe you've have it yourself. It's been around for about 17 years now and it turns out, It's not just for those trying to turn back time anymore. Have you heard of "preventative Botox" yet? I'll admit, I'm curious and since people seem to have 2 very different opinions when it comes to Botox, I've interviewed Dr. Elliot Street to decide what side of the fountain of youth I'm trying to be on.
(Photo originally by Refinery 29)
What is Botox?
Let's start with the basics, just so we're all clear on what Botox actually is! Botox is a drug made from a neurotoxin called BOtulinum TOXin (AKA Botox). It is used medically to treat certain muscular conditions and cosmetically to remove wrinkles by temporarily relaxing the muscles. Actually, the whole thing was discovered by accident (that's what I like to call a happy accident!) It was first being used medically to treat strabismus (a muscle-related eye condition), when patients began to notice that their wrinkles looked better! Now, 17 years later, Botox is the number one non-surgical procedure.
TIPS: Be sure to consult your doctor (not just Dr. Google) for more information pertaining to your health specifically! There are a number of conditions and medications that can preclude you from having Botox.
How do I get Botox?
Botox injections should be given only by a trained medical professional! Once you've found a trained medical professional, such as Dr. Elliot Street, they will administer the Botox via injections in the appropriate and safe places. Wondering where to find the medical professional? One way you can find them is through Facial Aesthetic Societies (you should always ask to see their qualifications as well as their past work). Referrals are also a great way to find a reputable medical professional.
TIPS: If you have a fear of needles (like I do), this may not be for you! Don't go into your appointment only to chicken out and waste your time and the doctor's. Any last minute cancellations on appointments can result in a loss of a deposit (no one likes losing money!)
What parts of the body can I get Botox?
Botox is mainly used for wrinkle relaxing of the upper face, mainly frown lines, forehead lines, and lines around the eyes (crow's feet). It can also be used in other parts of the body to treat excessive sweating (like the under arms). Botox is generally used to treat relatively superficial and dynamic wrinkles. Dynamic wrinkles are generally only there when you are using the muscle during facial expression, versus static wrinkles, which tend to be there when the face is relaxed (these are more established wrinkles). Botox and Fillers are NOT the same thing. Botox cannot be used in your lips and will not increase the volume, shape and size of them. If that is the desired look you are seeking, you should be looking info Derma Fillers rather than Botox.
What are the side affects?
Side affects are generally broken down into two categories, common and uncommon. Some common side affects are mostly related to the injection itself (i.e. sticking a needle into your face) and include pain, redness, swelling, bleeding, and bruising. Some uncommon side affects tend to be related to unwanted affects of the Botox which include drooping of the eye lid, blurred vision, dry eyes, and allergic reaction. Some people are resistant to Botox and therefore, in some cases they will not see any results at all. If you experience any of these uncommon side affects, these all tend to subside within 24-48 hours. Anything lasting longer than that may be a sign of skin infection, as such you should contact your medical professional.
TIPS: Things you should not do within 24 hours of receiving Botox: Take a hot shower or bath, drink alcohol, sun bed or sun bathe, wear make-up, sleep on your face or strenuous exercise.
What is "preventative" Botox?
I'll admit, I've been seeing this here and there, and this is what peaked my interest for writing this post. Preventative Botox is a Botox injection done prior to the development of visible or static wrinkles in an effort to slow down the development of such wrinkles. This is becoming most popular in men and women in their early 30s. To me, it makes sense, treat them before they start. Right? But not all doctors agree, and in Dr. Elliot Street's medical opinion, you should not get a Botox treatment if there are no wrinkles to treat (which also makes sense to me). If you are thinking about preventative Botox, and you're only treating areas with visible and static wrinkles, chances are you don't need it. If you do still want to give it a try, introduce it in small amounts.
How often do I need injections?
Depending on the brand of Botox used, treatments tend to last from 4-6 months. Botox treatments work in a compound effect, as such the more treatments you receive, the more results you will tend to notice.
How much can I expect to pay?
In the UK, prices vary and are generally described in terms of areas treated. Areas include the forehead, frown lines, and around the eyes (crow's feet). Treatments can be from £90-£200 for a single area depending on the brand of Botox and practitioner. In Dr. Elliot Street's practice, prices start from £140 per area.
Wondering what side of that fountain of youth I landed on after my interview? I think I'll wait :)