Botox is the hottest trend in cosmetic procedures today. It has been called the ‘lunch hour procedure’ because it is so simple and quick that some people say they can leave work for a lunch break, have the work done, and return without anyone being the wiser. Where there used to be Tupperware parties, some are now having Botox parties.
The name ‘Botox’ is short for Botulinum Toxin. It is injected into the muscles of the face and neck temporarily reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. The smoother, younger look lasts for 3-6 months after which the procedure has to be repeated in order to keep up the new appearance.
It works because it is a neurotoxin and reduces the activity of the muscles that cause the frown lines. The key ingredient is the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. It is the only drug of its kind to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The idea of getting a neurotoxin injected into your neck and face doesn’t sound like fun and it isn‘t. The Botox procedure is painful. The feeling has been described as being ‘like a bunch of killer bees attacking your face for ten minutes. However, many people feel the results are worth the pain since it only lasts about ten minutes.
Botox is not just for cosmetic purposes either. It has been used to treat serious problems like crossed eyes (strabismus) and uncontrollable blinking (blepharospasm). Botox has side effects in less than 1% of patients. Bruising at the injection site and double vision are some of the possible side effects. The procedure will diminish your ability to raise eyebrows. It can also cause a condition called ptosis. Ptosis is the inability to lift the eyelids.
The most common complaint about Botox is impermanence. If you want to keep your new look, you will have to go back to the doctor 3-6 months later. Some people develop immunity to the drug. Another common complaint is the loss of facial expression, although if administered properly, the drug should not impede facial movement.
As with any cosmetic procedure, there is the possibility that you will not be happy with the result. The face can look tight or just unattractive. The thinning of the muscles underneath the skin can cause dimpling. The result may even be lopsided.
Pregnant women or women who think they might be pregnant should never get Botox. Certain common medications also cause complications. Medicines used to treat myasthenia gravis, Alzheimer’s disease or problems with heart rhythm should never mix with Botox. Antibiotics like gentamycin, tobramycin, and lincomycin are also out. Tell your doctor if you are taking any medications before getting Botox.
If you think Botox is for you, then you should talk to a doctor about it. There is a possibility for adverse side effects but, they are rare. Many who have experienced Botox swear that it is the best thing since Tupperware.
By Stephanie Moore