In a recent news that I read on cosmeticsbusiness.com, Health and beauty website http://www.dermaskin.com was hit by an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigation after it advertised Botox as a commonly used anti-ageing beauty treatment on its home page. In response to the ASA’s investigation, the company agreed to remove references to Botox from its home page. It also added that its reference to Botox included a statement regarding the need to attend a consultation to determine the suitability of Botox on any areas of concern. The ASA was critical of the way the companies promoted Botox, telling them to “stick to the facts”. “It is illegal to advertise a prescription-only medicine, such as Botox, to the public,” said an ASA spokeswoman.
Well, the news inspired me to do a bit of research on Botox because in India too, Botox fillers are heavily advertised and it has indeed become a common treatment here. I will not deny the fact that many a times, I decided to go for a treatment as well, but the more elegant thought of ageing gracefully has kept me away.
So here’s my attempt to gather information you should be aware of before going for a Botox treatment. The blog is an attempt to answer the following questions:
- What is Botox treatment?
- Who should opt for it?
- How much Botox do I need?
- How frequently should the treatment be taken?
- What are the possible after-effects?
- What would a Botox consultation include?
- What questions should be asked during a Botox consultation?
Botulinum toxin injection therapy (also known as “BOTOX® therapy” or onabotulinumtoxinA) is well known primarily for the ability to reduce the appearance of some facial wrinkles. The most common use of these injections is to temporarily relax the facial muscles that underlie and cause wrinkles, such as:
- Frown lines between the eyebrows
- Crow’s-feet, the lines that fan out from the corners of the eyes
- Forehead furrows, the horizontal lines that form when you raise your eyebrows
- Laugh lines, the vertical lines that form on your cheeks, from the end of your nose till your lips
Well, this is the most common knowledge I had of Botox but on reading more on it, I discovered Botox injections are also used to treat other ailments like:
- Cervical dystonia. In this painful condition, your neck muscles contract involuntarily causing your head to twist or turn into an uncomfortable position.
- Lazy eye. The most common cause of lazy eye is an imbalance in the muscles responsible for positioning the eye. This can result in crossed eyes.
- Muscle contractures. Some neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, can cause your limbs to pull in toward your center. In some cases, these contracted muscles can be relaxed with botulinum toxin injections.
- Hyperhidrosis. In this condition, excessive sweating occurs even when the temperature isn’t hot and you’re not exercising. In some people, the sweat literally drips off their hands.
- Chronic migraine. If you experience migraines more than 15 days a month, botulinum toxin injections may help reduce headache frequency.
- Bladder dysfunction. Botulinum toxin injections can also help reduce urinary incontinence caused by an overactive bladder.
So what does Botox injections actually do?
Botox injections are a group of medications that use various forms of botulinum toxin to temporarily paralyze muscle activity. This toxin is produced by the microbe that causes botulism, a type of food poisoning.
These injections block certain chemical signals from nerves, mostly signals that cause muscles to contract.
Select your doctor carefully
Botox injections are relatively safe when performed by an experienced doctor. It can be dangerous if it’s administered incorrectly. Ask for a referral from your primary care doctor or look for a doctor who specializes in your condition and who has experience in administering Botox treatments. A skilled and properly certified doctor can advise you on the procedure and can help determine if it best suits your needs and health.
Consultations with your doctor should generally include:
- If you’ve received any type of Botox injections within the past four months.
- If you take blood thinners, you may need to forgo these medications for several days before your injection, to reduce your risk of bleeding or bruising.
- If you take muscle relaxants, sleeping aids or allergy medications
- Doctors generally recommend against using Botox when you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, since the effects on the baby aren’t known
- Do not take the injection if you are allergic to any of the ingredients of the Botox. Discuss in detail with your doctor about the Botox ingredients
- Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions
- Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
After the Botox injection has been administered:
Expect to resume your normal daily activities right after the procedure. Take care, though, not to rub or massage the treated areas. This can cause the toxin to migrate to a different area. Botulin toxin injections usually begin working a few days after treatment. Depending on the problem being treated, the effect may last for three to 12 months. To maintain the effect, you’ll need regular follow-up injections.
Side Effects of Botox:
The most common side effects include swelling or bruising at the injection site, headache or flu-like symptoms, dry mouth. If the injections aren’t placed correctly, the medication may spread into adjacent tissues and cause problems such as:
- Eyelid droop
- Cockeyed eyebrows
- Crooked smile
- Dry eye or excessive tearing
Although very unlikely, there is a possibility that the effect of botulinum toxin may spread to other parts of the body and cause botulism-like signs and symptoms.
Some patients develop antibodies to the toxin over time, rendering the treatment ineffective.
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these effects hours to weeks after receiving Botox:
- Muscle weakness all over the body
- Vision problems
- Trouble speaking or swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of bladder control
Botox Results / How frequently should the injections be taken?
The results usually start to be noticed within three to 10 days or even sooner. They tend to last in most people for up to three or four months. As time passes, the muscle activity will gradually return to normal. Additionally, other areas may return to activity sooner or later, depending on the amount injected. The interesting thing about Botox is that it tends to do fairly well even up to the third month, as a procedure that might last a very short time at full strength and then go away quickly.
It may be necessary for the patient to have additional procedures, such as the use of filler substances in order to plump up the wrinkles that are now relaxed. Filler injections such as Restylane, Perlane, or Juvederm tend to last approximately six to 12 months, depending on the amount used. Additionally, it may be necessary to have two or three sessions of Botox treatment for deeper wrinkles before results become optimal. The area of the crease between the eyes is a particularly ideal area for Botox use in conjunction with filler as these fixed wrinkles don’t always respond optimally to Botox alone. There is some controversy about using filler in that area as it may block veins or arteries and result in loss of blood and a scar to the area.
When to Seek Medical Care
If you have eyelid drooping after a Botox procedure, it is a good idea to let the cosmetic surgeon know because there is a medicine available to help this condition. Any other difficulties, such as difficulty breathing or rashes, should be reported to the surgeon immediately. While bruises are generally gone within one to two weeks, there are other medications available for the treatment of these, such as vitamin K topical treatments.
The material Botox comes as a crystalline, which then has to be reconstituted with saline or another liquid. Practitioners add varying amounts of liquid when reconstituting it. Although there is no right or wrong amount of liquid to add, most physicians add about 2 mL-3 mL (about a half a teaspoon) of liquid to each vial. Some add quite a bit more, which can lead patients to think they are getting more Botox when, in reality, they are getting the same or less amount of Botox than samples reconstituted in a stronger way. It is the total dose of medication, not the volume of liquid that leads to the desired effect.
Therefore, it is important to remember that if a clinic or medical spa states that they are providing Botox at a certain amount per unit, it is quite possible that they are diluting the Botox and actually not providing the agreed-upon amount.
Well, after having all the information on Botox, I’d say, I really love ageing gracefully and am in love with every line on my face. It’s a reflection of all the experiences of life.
What is your take? Do leave your comments behind.