How Botox Works
What Is It?
Botox – officially known as Botulinum toxin A – is a purified protein derived from a neurotoxin produced by a certain bacterium. By injecting small amounts of this purified protein into specific facial muscles, the communication between those muscles and the nerves is blocked. As Botox moves from the dermis to the targeted muscle, those muscles are relaxed as a result. These muscles no longer contract even while facial movements are taking place such as smiling, frowning, and squinting.
BOTOX has been used by physicians for 20 years to treat patients with certain medical conditions such as eye spasms, central nervous system disorders and excessive muscle contractions until a more recent use of BOTOX to reduce wrinkles was discovered. Dr. Daniel Behroozan of Los Angeles, California has observed that Botox is most effective in the upper third of the face (eyes and forehead) but other areas of the face and neck can be treated as well.
What to Expect
After a Botox injection has taken place, patients will notice a visible reduction in facial wrinkles in the treated area.
Wrinkles are caused by repeated muscle contractions over a span of many years. Additionally, the skin will naturally begin to lose its elasticity and start to sag on its own as time goes on. Botox operates by relaxing the muscles responsible for these contractions, thus stopping these muscles from activating. Existing wrinkles are relaxed and softened, and new ones are stopped from forming due to the lack of activity in these muscles.
While results from Botox can last for months, its effects do fade away gradually, and additional treatments will be needed.
During the Procedure
During a Botox injection, the needles used for injection are very thin, which causes minimal to no pain. No anesthesia is needed as a result. Patients may drive home or go back to work after treatment without any additional assistance required. Because Botox is minimally invasive, there is no recovery time. After the treatment has been performed, patients can expect to see the results take effect within 4 to 5 days.
Botox stays localized to the area where it was initially injected. The rest of the face will remain unaffected outside of the original injection site. Even though the muscles are relaxed, the area will not feel numb.
Candidates for Botox
Botox is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed in the world. In addition to treatment for women, Botox has been growing in popularity with men as well – frequently being referred to as “Bro-tox”.
Generally speaking, Botox candidates possess the following traits:
- Facial wrinkles between the eyes, on the forehead, and around the neck, eyes, and lips
- Good general health overall
- At least 18 years of age
- Not pregnant or planning or breastfeeding
Those looking to avoid surgery, or those with tight time schedules who are interested in a fast treatment with no downtime are also excellent candidates for Botox. The injections are completed within minutes, and are mostly performed without requiring any anesthetic. Results begin to appear within a few days. Because Botox is a minimally-invasive procedure, there is no downtime and patients can continue with their daily lives immediately after treatment.
Botox is also becoming increasingly popular with younger patients as well. For patients in their twenties and thirties, the fine lines and wrinkles that develop when smiling, frowning, or making various expressions are not embedded into the skin yet. While Botox has traditionally been used to treat already existing lines and wrinkles, more and more people have been using Botox to prevent expression lines from forming in the first place. Younger patients often opt to receive Botox to delay the onset of these expression lines and maintain their younger appearance for longer. This process of receiving Botox before wrinkles have been set into the face is called preventative Botox.
Botox is a great option for long-term users who wish to receive treatments at regular intervals, as well as a short-term option for those who want to look their best for special events.
Botox is also used to treat patients who wish to correct excessive sweating of the underarms, palms, or feet. This condition is known as hyperhidrosis, and Botox can treat this condition for patients of all ages.
Combining Botox with other non-invasive procedures is also common in order to further improve the impact of the results. Those seeking to improve the appearance of saggy or excess skin in the face due to sun exposure frequently combine Botox with other treatments. Some procedures that are commonly done with Botox include microneedling, microdermabrasion, dermal fillers, and laser treatments such as the Vbeam Perfecta, Clear + Brilliant, QuadraLASE, and Fraxel lasers.
Why Select Dr. Behroozan for your Botox Treatment?
Inexperience can and often does lead to a plastic look from an overuse of Botox®. Dr. Behroozan understands that too much of a good thing is not always better. An ideal result will allow natural expressions while still relaxing certain muscles. During your consultation, you should discuss with Dr. Behroozan your goals and expectations, so that he can administer the Botox to produce the exact effect you desire, without looking overdone.
During your consultation you will be asked to squint, frown, and smile to see what your muscle intensity is. This process is important in determining the amount and placement of Botox® being used. Injections are only performed by Dr. Behroozan, NEVER a physician assistant or nurse.
Frequently Asked Questions About BOTOX®
What exactly is BOTOX Cosmetic?
BOTOX Cosmetic is a purified protein produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium. It is a non-surgical, physician-administered treatment that can temporarily reduce moderate to severe frown lines between the brows. During treatment, very low doses of Botox are administered via a few tiny injections directly into the muscles that cause lines. The treatment is done in about 10 minutes, and no recovery time is needed. Within days you may see an improvement that can last up to 4 months.
How does Botox Cosmetic work?
Moderate to severe frown lines between your brows form over time as the result of muscle activity. Botox is injected directly into the muscles between your brows and works by blocking the transmission of nerve impulses to the injected muscles; this reduces the activity of the muscles that cause the lines.
When will I see results from a Botox Cosmetic treatment?
Within days, you may see a marked improvement in the frown lines between your brows. Lines continue to improve for up to a month, and results can last for up to 4 months. Nearly 90% of men and women rated the improvement in their appearance as moderate to better 1 month after treatment.
How long does Botox Cosmetic last?
Results from treatment with Botox can last for up to 4-8 months. If you discontinue treatment, the frown lines between your brows gradually will look like they did before treatment.
Who should administer Botox?
Any authorized healthcare professional can administer Botox, but dermatologists specializing in cosmetic procedures are generally more experienced. Dr. Daniel Behroozan is an instructor in Dermatology in UCLA where he teaches future dermatologists how to perform these procedures effectively and safely. As such, he can easily help you decide if Botox is right for you.
Is treatment with Botox Cosmetic painful?
Discomfort is usually minimal and brief. Prior to injecting, Dr. Behroozan may choose to numb the area with a cold pack or anesthetic cream. The entire procedure takes approximately 10 minutes. Many people return directly to work or normal activity following Botox Cosmetic treatment.
Who should not use Botox?
Botox should not be used in the presence of infection and in individuals with known hypersensitivity to any ingredient in the formulation. Patients with neurological disorders may be at increased risk of serious side effects. Pregnant or breastfeeding patients should not undergo this procedure.
Will I experience any side effects?
The most common side effects include headache, respiratory infection, flu-like syndrome, temporary eyelid droop, and nausea. Less frequently occurring reactions include pain in the face, erythema at the injection site, and muscle weakness. These events are thought to be associated with the injection and occurred within the first week.
Will my facial expressions continue to look natural?
Although the results are visible, a treatment with Botox will not radically change your facial appearance or make you look as if you “had work done.” The muscle activity that causes frown lines between the brows is simply reduced, so you can still frown or look surprised without the wrinkles and creases between your brows.
What will happen to the frown lines between my brows if I choose not to continue treatments?
If you do not continue treatments, the moderate to severe frown lines between your brows will gradually look like they did before treatment.
Is BOTOX Cosmetic affordable?
When considering your facial aesthetic options, Botox is quite affordable and one of the least expensive facial aesthetic procedures in the United States. Like other appearance-related investments, such as hair coloring and cuts, teeth whitening, and chemical peels, the cost must be weighed relative to your expectations.
Is Botox safe?
In 2002, the FDA approved the use of Botox for cosmetic uses to temporarily reduce facial wrinkles. Since that time Botox has received a great deal of publicity. Botox, however, has been an FDA approved treatment for muscle disorders of the eye since 1989.
Botulinum toxin is a natural substance secreted by the bacterium that causes botulism. Botox works by blocking the release of acetylcholine at the junction of the nerves and muscles. This is the chemical that signals muscles to contract. Blocking the acetylcholine results in the temporary relaxation of the targeted muscles.