While BOTOX is one of the most popular treatments available in the cosmetics industry, patients still have many questions regarding how the treatment works and what it entails. Having a good understanding of how BOTOX works gives patients more confidence in going forward with the treatment.
What is BOTOX?
BOTOX is derived from Botulinum toxin, a toxic substance when consumed but totally safe when processed for injection. It works as a neuromodulator, meaning it can block neurotransmitters' passage to freeze muscle activity in the face. This allows the facial muscles to relax and wrinkles to fade over time.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding BOTOX.
How many units of BOTOX will I need?
This question is not so easy to answer. Generally speaking, a finite answer on the number of units needed can only be given after the patient's face has been thoroughly assessed by a cosmetic specialist. Depending on their needs and the issues they're dealing with, some will require fewer or more units.
How much does BOTOX cost?
As with the previous question, the answer is not cut and dry. As mentioned before, BOTOX is measured in units. The price per unit will vary depending on the practitioner carrying out the treatment. The prices will differ depending on whether the practitioner is a cosmetic aesthetician or a plastic surgeon, as those with more education typically charge more per unit.
Generally speaking, the price per unit is usually around $10 - $15. While cost is a big concern for everyone, it should not be the determining factor for their treatment. Facial treatments should be taken very seriously.
What areas can BOTOX be used to treat?
The most common areas include:
- Forehead (wrinkles)
- The eye region (crow's feet)
- The eyebrows (bunny lines)
- The lower mouth area (frown lines)
- Around the lips (smoker’s lines)
- Underneath the arms (excess sweating, or hyperhidrosis)
- In the head and neck (migraines and headaches)
How long do BOTOX treatments last?
Everyone's body breaks down the product at different rates. On average, the results will last anywhere from three to six months.
Do the injections hurt?
While everyone’s pain tolerance is different, the vast majority of patients describe the injection as being no more painful than a “pinch.” That said, patients who are especially sensitive to pain can ask for a special numbing cream, which keeps the patient comfortable throughout the process. Taking Tylenol or other painkillers before the treatment is also helpful.
How long does a BOTOX treatment session take?
Generally speaking, BOTOX injections don't take very long. While the number of units being injected can make the process take less or more time, the treatments usually don’t take more than 30 minutes to carry out.
Is there any downtime after the injections?
While there is usually some soreness and bruising after the treatment, there is no real downtime. Patients can get back to their normal routines almost immediately following their appointments.
What are the aftercare instructions for BOTOX?
For the first hour after the appointment, exercise the facial muscles (by making facial gestures) in order to help the BOTOX settle in.
Don't lie down in a horizontal position for at least 4 hours following the treatment. Reclining a bit is okay, but fully lying down should be avoided completely.
Refrain from wearing makeup for the first 24 hours after the procedure.
Refrain from going to the gym or engaging in any other strenuous activity.
What needs to be prepared ahead of time?
Show up to the appointment with totally clean skin (no makeup).
Try to stay hydrated for 24 hours prior to the appointment. This means avoiding dehydrating drinks (alcohol and coffee) and drinking plenty of water.
When are the results visible?
Patients will find that their skin is noticeably tighter after just a few days. However, it can take up to two weeks for the full effects of the treatment to be perceivable. It is important to have patience when evaluating the results and set up a follow-up appointment around the two-week mark to see how the results are progressing.
What if I'm not happy with the results?
The results of BOTOX are irreversible. That said, issues such as asymmetry (one side looking better than the other) or results not going far enough (too many wrinkles) can definitely be addressed with additional injections. Outside of these situations, patients will have to wait for their bodies to metabolize the toxin in order to return to their pretreatment look.
What is the takeaway?
BOTOX is an incredibly popular and effective means of combating signs of aging in the face. While other treatments, such as a facelift, have more permanent results, BOTOX gives patients the opportunity to try out a temporary cosmetic intervention before committing to something more concrete. As with any cosmetic procedure, it is highly recommended that patients refer to a highly experienced practitioner to carry out their BOTOX treatment.