Cosmetic Dermatology: Botox®

Botulinum toxin for wrinkle reduction:

Botox® is the brand name of a toxin isolated from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Small, diluted amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles causing controlled weakening of the muscles. It has long been used in children born with muscle spasms to relax the muscles. Here the doses required are ten times higher than the dose used for cosmetic treatments in adults.

The US FDA gave approval for use of Botulinum Toxin Type A (available as Botox® Cosmetic) in the late 1980s upon the discovery that patients treated for Squint found the wrinkles around the eyes disappearing with treatment. In April 2002, Botox® gained US FDA approval for treatment of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows – called glabellar lines or 11’s. However, Botox® is often used for other areas of the face as well viz. bunny lines, gummy smile, lip enhancement, eyebrow lift.

How Does Botox® Work?
Botox® blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften.
It is most often used on forehead lines, crow’s feet (lines around the eye) and frown lines.
How Is the Procedure Performed?

The procedure takes only a few minutes and no anesthesia is required. Botox® is injected with a fine needle into specific muscles with only minor discomfort. It generally takes three to seven days to take full effect. It is best to avoid alcohol at least one week prior and 4 hours after treatment. Aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications should be stopped two weeks before treatment as well in order to reduce bruising.

How Long Does a Botox® Injection Last?

The effects from Botox® will last four to six months. As muscle action gradually returns, the lines and wrinkles begin to re-appear and wrinkles need to be re-treated. However, with continued regular use of Botox® to relax facial muscles the lines no longer look as frightening as they would without the treatment. The lines and wrinkles often appear less severe with time because the muscles are being trained to relax.

What Are the Side Effects of Botox®?

Temporary bruising is the most common side effect. Headaches, which resolve in 24-48 hours, can occur, but this is rare. In effect, Botox® is very safe in doses used for cosmetic treatments.

Who Should Not Receive Botox® Injection?

Patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a neurological disease should not use Botox®. Since Botox® doesn’t work for all wrinkles, a consultation with the doctor is recommended.

How much does the Procedure cost?

The cost is decided by the doctor during the consultation. It is calculated as per the amount of Botox® units needed to achieve the desired effect.

Is it ethical to get injected with Botox®?

Often I have faced this question of how ethical is it to hide your true age from others. My reply to this is that Beauty and Age have a long lasting relationship. If someone can look a few years younger by getting rid of the aging lines, then this can only enhance their prospects in career, relationship, etc.

At what age should one consider Botox® injection for AntiAging?

There is no defined age limit for when to start with Botox® injections. Every individual uses facial muscles for expression that lead to formation of unsightly lines. These can come up as early as early twenties. Botox® is a wonderful tool that has made getting rid of these lines very easy.