Botox was the most popular minimally invasive cosmetic treatment performed by plastic surgeons last year, with millions of injections administered in the United States alone, and many more treatments performed worldwide. The injectable wrinkle treatment has become a household name over the past few decades, and has earned its spot as an effective anti-aging treatment. However, many people are leery of choosing the treatment because of the reputation of the toxin that forms the base of the Botox formula. But what is Botox made from and how does it actually work?
Botox: Composed of Modified Botulinum Toxin
One of the main reasons the idea of Botox scares some people is the fact that Botox is made from a form of botulinum toxin, a toxin that causes the disease known as botulism. However, like vaccines, Botox is made from an inactive form of this bacteria, and has no risk of developing into symptoms of botulism. Scientists have harnessed the natural properties of this bacteria to calm muscle spasms and ease facial wrinkles with nothing more than a simple injection.
How Does it Work?
Botox works by blocking some of the nerve signals that reach the muscles. When the drug was first developed decades ago, it was used to control eye spasms, but it has gained many different therapeutic uses over time. Today, its primary purpose is cosmetic, for reducing the impact of “dynamic” wrinkles—wrinkles caused by repetitive facial movements over time. When muscle nerve signals are blocked by Botox, the movement of specific facial muscles is partially limited, and the wrinkles caused by these muscles are eased while the effects of the drug linger.
A great introductory treatment for people who are interested in anti-aging treatments, Botox is an accessible, non-invasive way to get temporary results with no downtime. In fact, some people have their Botox sessions during their lunch break!
Botox treatments, when administered by a qualified doctor, typically last about three to four months on average. In order to maintain results, patients must keep on a schedule of regular treatments.
Botox is Safe and Effective
Botox has a proven track record of safety, versatility, and good results. Many patients swear by the treatment for improving the appearance of wrinkles, and side effects other than slight redness, swelling, and bruising at the injection sites are rare. Botox was first FDA approved for treating facial spasms in the late 1980s, and it has a decades-long record of safety that’s hard to criticize.
Some people can eventually build up an immunity to Botox, but fortunately, there are now alternative formulas, such as Dysport, that accomplish the same goal but can be used in people who have Botox resistance.
Is Botox Right For You?
While Botox is safe, effective, non-invasive, and accessible, it’s not always the right choice for every patient. Only you and a qualified provider can make the decision as to whether Botox is a good choice for meeting your goals. Additionally, patients must be healthy enough to undergo treatment—not typically a concern, as most people are medically fit to receive the treatment.
Finding a Skilled Provider
Many people think that just because Botox involves no surgery, the treatment does not require the skills of a board certified plastic surgeon. In truth, the injection process involves a great deal of skill and finesse to target the appropriate muscles while leaving the face able to be expressive and look natural. Improper injection technique can lead to complications like drooping eyelids, poor results, or short-lived effects of the procedure. While Botox is an affordable treatment, you will want to get your moneys’ worth and choose a quality provider with extensive training and experience.
Dr. Edward Buckingham is an acclaimed, board certified facial plastic surgery with a reputation for excellence. He offers Botox, facial fillers, and many other facial rejuvenation procedures to suit almost any patient’s needs. If you would like to discuss your anti-aging goals with Dr. Buckingham, call Buckingham Center in Austin, TX today at 512.401.2500 to schedule your consultation.