Botox is one of the world’s most famous brand names, partially because of the mystery behind what it’s made of and partially because it works so well. Approved by the FDA in 2002 for the treatment of wrinkles on the upper third of the face, Botox is year in and year out the most popular cosmetic procedure performed worldwide.
Botox works its magic on wrinkles that are formed by muscle contractions beneath the skin. These are wrinkles such as crow’s feet and the 11s between the eyebrows, and are known as “dynamic” wrinkles. These wrinkles form when we execute certain behaviors such as squinting or frowning. Botox stops the muscle from contracting and erases or minimizes the wrinkle formed on the skin above.
What is Botox?
The mystery behind Botox, at least when it debuted, was that it was made from the same bacteria that caused botulism. This is the botulinum toxin type A, a neurotoxic protein. As you would expect, this scared people. But back in the 1950s researchers discovered that when the botulinum toxin was injected in minuscule amounts into a muscle, it caused the muscle to stop contracting temporarily and didn’t cause any adverse effects to the patient.
This proved useful in certain applications such as dealing with involuntary eyelid spasms, TMJ, and other conditions. More recently Botox has even been used to treat migraine headaches.
But when Botox was given the green light to be injected to stop facial wrinkles from forming it took off.
How does Botox work?
Botox does its work by blocking the messages the nerves in the muscles send to the brain. By blocking these messages, the brain never initiates the process to contract the muscle. Without the contraction, the wrinkle on the surface doesn’t form.
Where is Botox used?
In addition to dynamic wrinkles that are formed by muscle contractions, there are “static” wrinkles. Static wrinkles show themselves at all times and are usually the result of sun damage or due to simple aging.
Botox works on dynamic wrinkles, but has no effect on static wrinkles. Dynamic wrinkles occur mostly on the top third of the face. If you think of where we form most of our facial expressions — the forehead and around the eyes — that is where Botox is effective.
What is the difference between Botox and dermal fillers?
This comes down to the difference between wrinkle types. As mentioned above, Botox works only on dynamic wrinkles. Static wrinkles due to things such as loss of collagen are the domain of dermal fillers. Unlike Botox, fillers simply “fill” in the depressed area forming the wrinkle, pushing the skin back upward.
What happens during my Botox session?
Your Botox session with Dr. Van Putten only takes around 15 to 20 minutes. That’s why you hear Botox sessions sometimes called “lunchtime procedures.” Dr. Van Putten injects Botox with a very tiny microneedle so topical anesthetic is not necessary.
There is no downtime; you can immediately return to your normal activities.
Botox Side Effects
Botox is very safe and has very few side effects, as its millions and millions of satisfied, repeat customers can attest to. Occasionally a patient may have some slight bruising and redness at the injection sites, but this passes quickly. Headaches can develop, but this is very rare.
Really the only problem of note can be caused by the patient. It’s important that the patient not touch or rub the injection sites for the first 12 hours after your session. This can cause the Botox to migrate to an adjacent, unwanted muscle. This can lead to drooping eyelids and other issues.
An inexperienced injector can inject Botox into an incorrect location, but this is not a problem with a doctor with extensive knowledge of facial anatomy such as Dr. Van Putten.
When will I see my results?
Botox doesn’t show its results immediately. This is because it needs to get to work stopping the nerve signals in the injected muscles. This process takes from three to seven days to fully take hold.
Will I need more than one Botox session?
Because Botox only works on the expressive muscles on the upper part of the face, one session usually is all that is needed to cover the area.
Is Botox Permanent?
At some point, the body will absorb the now inactive/inert Botox and the muscles will begin contracting again. This process depends on the individual, but results last from four to six months. At that point, another Botox session will be necessary to maintain your results. After repeated Botox treatments, treated muscles seem to become less rigid and easier to relax.
Are there alternatives to Botox?
For static wrinkles, a neuromodulator such as Botox is really the only way to address them. Two other injectables are made of the botulinum toxin, Xeomin and Dysport, but Botox is far and away the most popular of the three brands.
Schedule a consultation
For more information on Botox, or other injectables, call Dr. Van Putten today! Dr. Van Putten serves Valparaiso, Michigan City IN and surrounding areas. Call (219) 464-7546 today!