The Truth Is…Botox


As soon as you hear the word Botox what pops in to your head? A funny scene in a movie? A frozen looking actress? Joan Rivers? There are so many misconceptions when it comes to Botox so I am going to unravel the myths and mystery!

The Origin of Botox

Botox was first introduced in 1989 to treat twitching eyelids (see the full story here) and it didn’t take long for Drs. Jean and Alastair Carruthers to figure out the cosmetic benefit, as well as the therapeutic treatment, Botox provided.

In 2002 Allergan (the makers of Botox) got FDA approval to use Botox as the first of it’s kind cosmetic treatment for frown lines between the brows. In 2013 FDA approval came for crows feet around the eyes, and just this year, 2017, the FDA approved Botox for horizontal forehead lines. This makes Botox the ONLY neuromodulator on the market that is FDA approved to treat all of the wrinkle lines in the upper face!

What is Botox?

So what exactly is Botox? Botox is a brand name of a neuromodulator. Neuromodulators, when used for cosmetic purposes, reduce the movement of muscles in the face that cause wrinkles or lines. Relaxing these muscles keeps the muscles from contracting and pulling the skin into a wrinkle formation. This prevents lines from forming or getting deeper. There are other neuromodulators on the market (Dysport and Xeomin) but I personally favor and use (almost) exclusively Botox because of its consistent formulation, predictable results, and company’s reputation.

The most common fear with Botox treatment is that it will give the face a “frozen” or “paralyzed” or expressionless look. The truth is, if injected into the correct muscle groups, with the correct dosing, by an experienced injector there will still be facial movement and ability to make expressions. There just won’t be a wrinkle while doing it. Botox allows you to still look like you; just fresher and softer.

Botox before and after

Botox before and after

Botox before and after

How Long Does Botox Last?

Botox is not permanent and results will typically been seen for 3-4 months. Botox itself is metabolized by the muscle and flushed out of your body through waste after 2 weeks! That’s right, after 2 weeks there is no more Botox in your body! No worries about long term build up of product. The results you see are of the nerve being unable to “talk” to the muscle but the Botox that has done it’s job is long gone. Over time however, since our bodies are very smart and are constantly healing and repairing any damage, you will create a new nerve ending that will begin to “talk” to the muscle again and movement will return. This is when it is time to re-treat.

You can treat with Botox once and then decide to never do it again (although not many people do!) without causing any issues. Even one treatment of Botox will give you some benefit versus no treatment at all. That being said, there are long term benefits to continued use; these include: reduction and elimination of fine lines and wrinkles, increased elastin production in the skin, and a fresher more lifted appearance in the upper face.

How Much Does Botox Cost?

The average cost of Botox is $200-$300/area treated. Botox has approved therapeutic dose ranges referred to as “units”. Pricing is typically done in a “per unit” fashion so your actual cost will depend on your dose. Your dose will be dependent on the strength and size of the muscle according to your provider’s recommendation. Treating with less than the recommended dose or trying to sprinkle a certain number of units over the whole face is not recommended. Under dosing with Botox can result in ineffective wrinkle reduction or lack of longevity in the results. Find a provider that you trust and follow their recommendation.

Who is Qualified to Perform Botox?

While touching on providers, make sure that you are seeing an experienced provider. Never be afraid to ask questions about their education, training, experience, or licensing. Most providers expect these types of questions and welcome them. It should never be considered offensive to do research on a provider who is doing these types of services. I recommend looking for a Registered Nurse, Nurse Practioner, Physician Assistant, or Medical Doctor who performs injection services as a primary service to their clients. See a live consultation and treatment here.

Botox is a great start to an anti-aging routine. Coupled with good skin care and an amazing aesthetician, Botox will help you to maintain and regain that youthful glow and a lifted, softer look for many years to come!!

Rebecca Suess, RN, CPSN, CANS

Learn more about Rebecca by clicking here

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