It’s all very easy to talk about growing old gracefully. But when those lines and wrinkles start becoming more visible, most of us would just prefer to retain our youthful looks. It’s no surprise, then, that BOTOX® injections are so popular among both women and men. In fact, BOTOX injections are the most popular minimally invasive cosmetic procedure in the U.S., with nearly 7.5 million BOTOX treatments performed in 2018 alone, according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. That’s about half of all minimally invasive cosmetic procedures performed that year, and about four times the number of cosmetic surgical procedures.
That’s how popular it is. Now for why it’s so popular. There are several reasons, actually: It's fast. It's safe. It's affordable — lots more affordable than a facelift or other surgical procedure. It doesn't have the risk of scars like dermabrasion or chemical peels. And probably most importantly from a patient's point of view: It works. Here's how.
Botulinum toxin: The surprising benefits
It's safe to say that anything with the word "toxin" attached to its name is probably something you want to avoid. But with BOTOX, quantity counts for a lot. BOTOX solution uses a very tiny amount of diluted botulinum toxin — super tiny, in fact. That means it's safe to use in cosmetic applications, and in other areas of medicine as well. In fact, BOTOX was first used medically to treat eye conditions, including blepharospasm (uncontrollable blinking) and strabismus, a condition that causes one eye to become misaligned (sometimes called crossed eyes, although the affected eye can "drift" in any direction). Today, BOTOX is also used to treat other types of muscle spasm disorders, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), and migraines. So how does BOTOX work to reduce the appearance of wrinkles? By acting on the nerves that cause your facial muscles to contract.
When you move your arm or leg, your nerves send signals to your brain, which in turn “tells” your muscles to contract in specific ways to produce the movement you want. It’s the same with facial expressions. If you want to smile or frown or look surprised, your nerves and brain work together to tell your facial muscles to contract in very specific ways in order to produce that expression. Those contractions tug and pull on your skin, forming lines and creases. When you smile or frown or make other expressions time after time, year after year, eventually, the lines that form etch themselves into your skin, and wrinkles start to become visible even when you’re not making an expression.
The BOTOX "mechanism" is pretty straightforward: When BOTOX solution is injected into your facial muscles, it blocks the nerve signal process. Without those nerve signals, your muscles don’t get the “message” to contract. That means they don’t tug on your skin, and lines and creases don’t form. BOTOX is designed to work on so-called dynamic wrinkles, the lines that form as a result of facial movements. That includes crow's feet, the tiny lines that extend out from the corners of your eyes; frown lines or furrows that appear between your eyebrows; and horizontal forehead lines, which are sometimes called glabellar lines. Wrinkles that form as a result of sun damage, gravity, and other non-movement related causes are called static wrinkles, and they require dermal fillers or other methods to help reduce their appearance. The good news is that BOTOX can be used in conjunction with these treatments, so you can have both types of wrinkles treated for an all-over rejuvenated appearance that many patients refer to as a "mini facelift."
After your injections, you might have a little redness or tenderness at the injection sites, just as you’d have with other injections. It’s worth noting that BOTOX treatments use a very fine needle, so any discomfort you might feel will be minimized. It takes a few days for BOTOX to take effect, and you can expect those effects to last for a few months, after which you can have a touch-up treatment to maintain your smooth results.
At Holladay Dermatology Clinic, we want all our patients to feel confident and attractive at every age and every stage of life. BOTOX injections are a great way to reduce the signs of aging without resorting to invasive (and expensive) surgery. To learn more about BOTOX injections or to find out how they can help you, contact the practice today.