BOTOX: Everything you need to Know
Overview: Cosmetic BOTOX information
BOTOX is undoubtedly one of the most popular cosmetic terms out there today. BOTOX injection ads are popular everywhere today from magazines and newspapers to TV and online ads.
Many people including celebrities have been on record attributing their youthful appearance to BOTOX injections. BOTOX reduces fine lines (crow’s feet) around the eyes which are notorious for giving naturally cheerful people a grumpy appearance. BOTOX also reduces frown lines, lines above the lip, crow's feet, and bunny lines common between the eyes and above the nose.
In a nutshell, BOTOX gives you a youthful appearance by reducing fine lines as well as preventing the formation of deeper lines.
Other notable uses of BOTOX include; treating excessive sweating (on the palms of hands and under-arms), which is a common problem among many people. BOTOX is even used to treat headaches in some people, which is a treatment our physician, Dr. Gupta, is trained to do. Although many people know what BOTOX can do, very few have in-depth information.
In case you are keen on finding out this information, look no further. Below is everything you need to know about BOTOX.
What is BOTOX?
OnabotulinumtoxinA popularly known as BOTOX or botulinum toxin type A is a prescription medicine injected into the muscles (mostly facial muscles) for cosmetic reasons i.e. to improve the look of frown lines. BOTOX is made from the bacteria responsible for causing botulism. Botulinum toxin hinders nerve activity in muscles. As a result, the toxin causes a temporary reduction in muscular activity.
What does BOTOX treat?
BOTOX treats a variety of muscular related problems i.e. muscle stiffness in the face, wrists, fingers and elbows. BOTOX is also effective in treating certain eye muscle conditions such as uncontrolled blinking, spasm of the eyelids among other eye related muscle conditions caused by nerve disorders. BOTOX is also used to treat excessive sweating. In the cosmetic industry, BOTOX is popularly used to lessen the appearance of wrinkles on the face. Lessening the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines instead of waiting for them to become worse or deeper is an important preventative measure that stops the development of more severe aging symptoms.
How does BOTOX work?
Botulinum toxin or BOTOX (although poisonous in large quantities) is extremely useful in small concentrations. BOTOX works by hindering nerve cell signals from reaching muscles. This leaves muscles without contraction instructions or simply, paralyzes muscles. For muscles to contract, nerves must release acetylcholine (a chemical messenger/neurotransmitter) at the location where nerve endings connect/meet muscle cells. The acetylcholine attaches itself to muscle cell receptors causing the muscle cells to shorten or contract. BOTOX injections prevent the release of acetylcholine which in turn prevents muscle cell contractions. BOTOX therefore reduces abnormal muscle contractions resulting in less stiff muscles.
How is BOTOX administered?
BOTOX is administered via injections into muscles which need to be treated for stiffness, spasms etc. The needles used are the same ones used by diabetics i.e. they are extremely fine so they don't hurt. According to most patients, BOTOX injections are almost painless.
BOTOX injections should be administered by trained medical professionals i.e. doctors and nurses even when the BOTOX is being administered for cosmetic purposes. You can receive multiple BOTOX injections at a go in more than one area of your body depending on the muscular condition being treated. The injections must however be spaced at least three months apart.
It’s worth noting that BOTOX injections especially for treating eye muscle conditions may require the use of eye drops, special ointments and/or contact lens among other devises to protect your eye and nearby surfaces.
When should you expect to see the results?
BOTOX results depend on a number of factors the most notable being the area of treatment. Some areas take longer than others due to factors such as muscle distribution. The severity of the muscle problem also dictates the time it takes for you to see results after receiving BOTOX injections.
For instance, it can take up to two weeks to treat neck muscle spasms with BOTOX injections. The greatest improvement is usually six weeks after injection. It may however vary depending on factors mentioned above i.e. muscle distribution and the severity of the muscle problems. BOTOX injections for treating eye muscle spasm problems take shorter i.e. you can see noticeable results immediately to 3 days after treatment. The greatest improvement is however noticeable much later i.e. 2-6 weeks after treatment.
How long do the results last?
The effects of BOTOX are temporary. As a result, you have to return for the injections periodically (usually after 3 months) as mentioned above. Repeat injections however take less time than before. Your symptoms also take longer to return after repeat injections especially if your body has already developed botulinum toxin antibodies.
BOTOX side effects
When administered correctly by a professional, BOTOX injections don’t cause any harmful side effects. It is however important to notify your doctor, nurse or the medical professional administering the injections if you have any allergies or if you are taking any medication to avoid serious allergic reactions. To reduce risks of suffering harmful side effects, it’s also important to avoid BOTOX injections if the area to be injected is infected.
With that said, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following allergic reactions to BOTOX; hives, breathing difficulties, chest pain, swelling on your tongue, face, lips and throat, poor bladder control, unusual/severe muscle weakness and vision problems.
Some common side effects of BOTOX injections include; muscle weakness and slight bleeding, bruising, redness or swelling around the injected area. These symptoms should not be a cause for concern because they are mild, temporary and cause no serious health risks.
Precautions: Important considerations before receiving BOTOX injections
BOTOX is a very poisonous substance when used inappropriately. BOTOX must therefore be administered by a qualified health professional. You should also get BOTOX injections from one medical professional at a time. Switching healthcare providers increases your risks of suffering harmful side effects since your new provider may not be in a position to gauge the appropriateness of the treatment because; they don’t know when you last received the injections, your allergies etc. In case you switch providers, you must disclose all your health information and previous BOTOX treatments. It’s important to note that misusing BOTOX i.e. receiving more injections than prescribed only exposes you to serious health problems.
You shouldn’t receive BOTOX injections if:
1. The area to be injected with BOTOX is infected
2. You have a bladder infection
To ensure BOTOX injections are safe for you, you should inform your doctor if you have the following healthy problems:
1. ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
2. Myasthenia gravis
3. Lambert-Eaton syndrome
4. Breathing disorders such as emphysema or asthma
5. Swallowing problems
6. Facial muscle weakness problems i.e. weak forehead, droopy eyelids, problems raising your eyebrows etc.
7. Bleeding problems
8. Heart disease
9. Facial appearance changes
10. If you have undergone or planning to undergo any surgery (especially facial surgery).
11. If you are have been under any injectable antibiotics or blood thinners recently.
12. If you have any BOTOX or other allergies.
13. If you are pregnant, planning to have a baby soon or breastfeeding.
Letting your doctor known the above information goes a long way in ensuring you receive BOTOX injections in the best way possible i.e. without exposing yourself to any harmful side effects/health risks. In fact, it is highly advisable to talk with your doctor at length about the benefits and risks of BOTOX injections before you decide to receive them.
BOTOX interactions with other drugs
BOTOX tends to react with other medication like muscle relaxers, urinary medicines, sleeping pills, irritable bowel medicines, bronchodilators and allergy medicines increasing harmful side effects risks. As a result, it is important to avoid BOTOX when taking such medications. Alternatively, you should inform your doctor if you are taking any of the above medications but you really need to receive BOTOX injections.
What happens if you miss a BOTOX dose?
Since BOTOX offers temporary effects and injections are usually widely spaced, missing a dosage doesn’t pose any serious health risks. It is however important to receive the injections as prescribed without skipping any dose to be able to enjoy the full BOTOX benefits/best results possible. You should not take a double dose to compensate for a missed dose as this exposes you to serious health risks.
BOTOX and excessive sweating
BOTOX is a common treatment for excessive sweating problems. Many people have severe underarm sweating problems also referred to as primary axillary hyperhidrosis.
When you sweat more than others even when you use deodorant and antiperspirants, you may have a severe sweating problem. Changing clothes frequently during the day isn’t normal if you have an office job. Furthermore, dermatologists are capable of diagnosing excessive sweating problems. BOTOX is injected under skin in the armpit area to control severe underarm sweating symptoms.
Although the treatment works in most cases, the safety and effectiveness of BOTOX in treating severe underarm sweating is still under research/study.
See Botox Cosmetic for photos.