What is botox, exactly? Learn what people are injecting in their bodies as we take a close look at this aesthetic procedure.
What do you think of when you hear the word “Botox?” Stereotypes probably lead you to think of wealthy socialites, but that’s only a small snapshot of Botox patients.
In reality, Americans received over 7.2 million Botox treatments last year from plastic surgeons alone. That doesn’t include the millions of Botox treatments people received from dermatologists, nurses, and other qualified professionals.
With these numbers, it should come as no surprise that Botox touches a wide range of people. They range from their 20s to their senior years. They include men and women. Sure, there are some stereotypical socialites, but there are also executives, parents, teachers, and any other profession you can imagine.
So what’s the deal? What is Botox and why is it so popular? Here’s what you need to know.
Botox is an injectable medication that’s only available to qualified medical professionals. It’s a purified form of a natural material called botulinum toxin A.
We know, the word “toxin” sounds scary. Rest assured that it’s a very safe treatment if it’s done by a medical professional with training and experience in the procedure.
When your provider injects the Botox into a muscle, the medication blocks the nerve signals in that muscle. This prevents the muscle from getting messages to contract, keeping it in a relaxed state.
You might be saying, “If Botox relaxes your muscles, what does that have to do with wrinkles?” The answer is that different wrinkles have different causes, and Botox treats some specific types of treatments.
Every time you make facial expressions, they contract certain muscles in your face. For instance, look into the mirror and frown. Take a look at the wrinkles that form between your eyebrows when you do.
After decades of making the same expressions over and over, these muscles tend to get stuck in a contracted state. That contracted shape creates a wrinkle in the skin above your muscle, just like those frown wrinkles you noticed.
During a Botox treatment, your provider will inject the medication into your precise muscles that are tensed and wrinkled. As the Botox takes effect, it will relax those muscles little by little, smoothing out the skin above them. You’ll look younger and more relaxed.
The results are the aspect that every new patient is excited about. When will you get to see the results from your procedure?
After the treatment, it takes some time for the Botox to begin to take effect. Most people start to see results about two days later. Those results will continue to build, reaching their full effect after one or two weeks.
Keep in mind that during that time, you might have some mild side effects like swelling and bruising. These are temporary and typically fade within a week or two. That’s one of the reasons why, if you’re getting Botox for a specific event, you should have your treatment a few weeks in advance.
It’s important that you realized that Botox isn’t permanent, though. Your body will metabolize the Botox in your muscle little by little. Most patients are able to enjoy their results for about three or four months before it’s time for another treatment.
As we mentioned above, the only wrinkles Botox treats are those that come from tensed facial muscles. How do you know if that’s what you have?
In particular, Botox works best with wrinkles in three areas. This includes crow’s feet in the outer corners of your eyes as well as frown lines between your eyebrows and lines across your forehead.
Still, it’s important to note that a Botox treatment has many other uses beyond wrinkles. From a cosmetic standpoint, many people use it to reshape their lips. It can turn up drooping corners of your mouth. Botox can also turn up your upper lip in a slight way that makes it look larger.
These aren’t the only ways Botox can make you look younger. It can also reduce certain types of wrinkled bands across your neck. Some providers even use it to make a drooping nose look more youthful.
In recent years, more and more people who grind their teeth in their sleep are using Botox as well. The grinding enlarges the person’s jaw muscles, creating a wider and more square jaw. Women, in particular, don’t tend to like this look. Botox can relax those enlarged muscles, leading to a slimmer jawline.
In addition to its facial uses, Botox has long been a way to reduce excessive sweating. It works by blocking the nerve signals that activate sweat glands in your underarms.
Today, most people know about Botox for its cosmetic uses. In reality, it started out as a medical treatment for crossed eyes. Researchers found that muscles were holding patients’ eyes in a crossed state, so when they injected those muscles with Botox, it fixed the problem.
Botox is still a common way to treat crossed eyes today. However, it’s gained plenty of other uses for your health along the way as well. Doctors use it for a variety of conditions that involve muscle spasms, like certain types of chronic pain and some neck disorders.
Another medical use for Botox that’s getting more and more popular is treating migraines. People with certain types of migraines can get relief for months at a time when they receive precise Botox injections.
As with many medical and cosmetic treatments, there are some people who are afraid of Botox. This mostly comes from a lack of information. They ask, “What is Botox and is it really safe?” They don’t realize how it works and are nervous about the idea of “freezing” certain muscles.
The key for a great Botox treatment is to see a qualified medical professional who has specific training in the procedure as well as extensive experience. Only these medical personnel can purchase genuine Botox, so if you get your injections from someone else, there’s no way to know what you’re getting.
For more great info about treatments that offer you self-confidence and other ways to find happiness, check out our blog about happy living.