Once upon a time, Botox was something many women only got behind closed medical doors and never discussed in public. How times have changed since then. In cosmetic procedures’ recent past, people began throwing Botox parties and inviting trained professionals into their homes. Celebrities have revealed they too had gone under the needle, and getting injections are now much more commonplace.
These days, getting a little Botox is no longer thought of as taboo. However, what it really does and how long it actually lasts remain somewhat out of the discussion. So first things first, let’s talk about what it is. Per WebMD, “Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle can’t contract. That makes wrinkles relax and soften. Botox is most often used on forehead lines, crow’s feet (lines around the eye), and frown lines.”
If you’re thinking about getting Botox, the first step is being crystal clear about what you’re getting yourself into. Botox is an investment that requires upkeep, after all. So before you book that appointment, here are eleven things you should absolutely consider.
Botox is not a “one and done” type of thing. To this day, some people assume the results will last indefinitely, but that’s simply not the case. Typically, the average duration for botox (in the most commonly injected regions of the face) will last between three to four, and sometimes six months.
It’s worth noting that some factors can make results diminish faster. For those who exercise frequently or express themselves with their face pretty often, another treatment may be needed closer to three months.
It’s Not Really a Wrinkle Eraser
Many think of Botox as a means of zapping current wrinkles. But they’d be wrong. In reality, Botox injections are more effective at preventing future wrinkles than restoring the skin to how it once was. If you already have wrinkles, it can lessen them, but they won’t be going away.
When the active ingredients “freeze” the facial muscles, further deepening of fine lines and wrinkles is prevented. In other words, the lines in your face won’t “disappear” with Botox. But you may be able to stop them from becoming more prominent and prevent future wrinkles from developing. Due to this reality, many have begun to get Botox treatment as early as their 20s.
Certain Movements Will Be Restricted
Word to the wise: don’t do any strenuous exercise after Botox treatments. If you get online, you’ll find many blog posts from women who say they “wish they’d known” this rule prior to booking their appointment.
With that said, a skilled and seasoned doctor won’t hesitate to let you know that for about six hours after the procedure, do not exercise or lie down at all. You should also keep your head level and avoid bending forward for a few hours. So if you’re planning to get Botox, plan on taking it easy the following day too. Otherwise, you can easily wind up with some serious bruising to the injected area.
Don’t Fear a “Frozen” Face
Worried you won’t be able to move your face after Botox? Emoting like a robot after Botox is a pretty common fear. The potentially good news is that those who’ve gotten the non-invasive procedure tend to say it’s not as bad as we’ve been led to believe. But yes, you will be a little frozen.
After Botox, you won’t leave the doctor’s office unable to show emotion. Instead, patients often say they do feel somewhat limited in just how much emotion they can show. But many say having an unintentional poker face can be somewhat of a relief. It can also come in handy when you don’t want to show all your emotional cards. Not to mention, various studies show that frowning less can be good for our mental health.
In fact, one study done by the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology discovered that people with Botox were unable to frown, and it actually reduced their negative feelings and improved their overall mood.
And chances are, while you’re sporting a generally better mood, you can begin preventing frown lines on your own.
It’s Not as Painless as They Say
Generally, patients report that getting Botox is not all that painful, but that doesn’t mean it’s painless. After all, there are needles involved. So every time you get your injections, you’re bound to feel something, even if only an uncomfortable pinch.
With that said, most doctors can use numbing creams in topical and aesthetic forms if they need to. So if you’re pain threshold is low, let them know before they start sticking needles in your face.
It May Cause an Allergic Reaction
Keep in mind, Botox comes from the same bacteria as the toxin botulism. Don’t worry, you can’t get botulism from any amount of Botox. However, there is a chance you may have an allergic reaction to the preservatives and active ingredients used in the formula being used. Although, cases of this are notably rare.
Those that have reported allergic reactions say they’ve suffered from itching, rashes, welts, asthma-like symptoms, and feeling somewhat faint. If you do experience anything even remotely resembling an allergic reaction, get in touch with your medical practitioner immediately.
Some Medications Don’t Mix
A week before treatment, it’s advised that patients completely discontinue the use of aspirin products. Blood thinners and Botox never mix well. Remember, you want to avoid anything that might lead to excess bruising. Patients are also told to stop using fish oils for the same reason. Following the surgery, steer clear of Ibuprofen as well.
The no-no list doesn’t end there. “Some products that may interact with this drug include certain antibiotics (including aminoglycosides such as gentamicin, polymyxin), anticoagulants (such as warfarin), Alzheimer’s disease drugs (such as galantamine, rivastigmine, tacrine), myasthenia gravis drugs (such as ambenonium, pyridostigmine), quinidine,” per WebMD.
Not All Botox is Created Equally
If you see a deal for Botox injections that seems too good to be true, it probably is. And it may not be all that safe. You can find ads for cheap Botox injections all over the world, but you’ll almost always be getting exactly what you paid for. So know what you’re getting into beforehand. Sometimes, cheaper forms of Botox is acquired on the black market. In other cases, not-so-professional professionals work with expired Botox, and the results aren’t pretty, to put it mildly.
Make sure that you are working with a doctor and clinic you trust completely. After all, Botox is not a one-and-done job. If all goes well, you’ll be a returning customer in about three to six months tops.
Botox is Not Just For Wrinkles
Believe it or not, Botox is not just for fine lines and future wrinkles. If you are dealing with excessive underarm or palm sweating, you might be a candidate for Botox. Also, those who suffer from serious migraines have found much-needed relief with a regimen of injections.
If this sounds like you, discuss the possibilities with your doctor and see if Botox might be ideal for alleviating your ailments. But remember, procedures like this fall under the medical umbrella rather than the cosmetic one, and so you’ll need to book your appointment accordingly.
Results Won’t Be Immediate
If you expect Botox to produce instantaneous results, you’re not alone. But this is a common misconception about how this wonder injection works. Generally, it can take up to a full week before the full effects of Botox are visible. If you follow all the rules, those results should last for about four months.
How quickly you see results also depends on the severity of your wrinkles. And dealing with future wrinkles is largely up to you. For instance, if you begin getting regular Botox treatments at the first sign of wrinkles, you can stop certain expression lines from ever appearing on your face. But if you walk into your appointment with pronounced lines, you’ll always have to wait a few days before noticing any results. In two weeks, you will be able to see the full effects of Botox.
A Little Bit Goes A Long Way
As with all cosmetic procedures, the key to natural results is exhibiting self-restraint. In other words, less is often more. Professionals and beauty pros encourage patients to use the bare minimum amount of Botox if they wish to achieve natural-looking results.
Overdoing it can lead to a number of issues, including the dreaded “frozen face,” which can potentially take several months to pass. If you use too much Botox too often, the muscles in your face can wind up much weaker than they need to be. If this happens, you may start to notice significant facial drooping.
Talk to a trained professional and map out your specific needs. Anyone who truly wants to help you put your best face forward will not encourage you to go too far with Botox.