What is Botox? is Botox safe? and how does it work?
Introduction to Botox
My name is Dr Emily Hinton and I’m a Dentist, and aesthetics practitioner, based near Ipswich in Suffolk. I have over 6 years of experience with aesthetic treatments ranging from Botox to Profhilo, Dermal Fillers, and more! Out of all of my treatments, Botox is the most commonly requested, and I am often asked “is Botox safe?” and “How does Botox work?” So, what is Botox? In this blog post, I will explain about the treatment and how it works.
- What is Botox?
- Where does Botox come from?
- What is Botox used for?
- How does Botox work?
- How popular is Botox?
- Is Botox safe?
- Is Botox painful?
- What are the risks of Botox?
- How to choose a Botox clinic or salon
What is Botox?
Botox is a toxin produced in nature by the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum, the toxin is regularly used by aesthetic and medical professionals alike for lots of different treatment types. According to the 2020 Global Survey from ISAPS, Botox treatments accounted for 43.2% of non-surgical treatments carried out over the year.
In the aesthetics industry, it is primarily used to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles by relaxing overactive facial muscles, however, Botox injections can also help to treat medical conditions such as excessive sweating, chronic migraines, and eye spasms.
While botulinum toxin is found in nature as a toxin the product we use in aesthetic treatments is a purified version free from contaminants and used in very small doses.
You can read more about Botox on the NHS website.
Where does Botox come from?
Botox treatments are extremely safe when administered by a qualified professional, however, the botulinum toxin itself is actually a purified protein from the same toxin that causes botulism, a type of infection that can impact the nervous system.
You can therefore see that the purified and diluted version of the Botox toxin will temporarily paralyze and “freeze” the muscles when it is applied.
Although this may sound daunting, the doses used in a Botox treatment are so small that when combined with a qualified professional it is very unlikely you will experience a negative side effect, and Botox is considered a safe treatment. Of course there are possibilities of side effects, however, these are rare and will always be discussed as part of the treatment process and aftercare package.
You may be surprised to hear that Botox is also used in a wide range of treatments that are not only limited to aesthetic procedures.
What is Botox used for?
Botulinum toxin, or Botox injections, are not only used in cosmetic procedures but also have a lot of of medical applications too!
Below is a list of health conditions and cosmetic purposes where Botox treatment could be considered as an option:
- Chronic migraines and headaches
- Overactive bladder
- Excessive sweating (also known as Hyperhydrosis)
- Muscle contractures associated with cerebral palsy
- Lazy eye or eye twitching
- Forehead lines and wrinkles
- Fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes
- Crow’s feet
- Eyebrow arches
- Nose lines
- Gummy smile (excessive gingival display)
- Dimpled chin
- Drooping eyelids or lips
- Lines and wrinkles around the mouth and lips also known as “smokers lines”
- Lines on the neck
- To soften a jawline
- Marionette lines
If you would like to discuss how Botox could help you, please feel free to reach out and book a free consultation.
How does Botox work?
Botulinum toxin blocks the messaging system used to tell muscles to contract. This leads to temporary weakening in the muscle lasting about 16 weeks with repeat injections of the toxin approximately every three months being required to maintain the desired effect. The effects of botulinum toxin treatment are not instant, you will start to notice a difference about 5 days later with maximum results visible at two weeks.
Studies have shown that with repeated treatments the effects build-up meaning that you need less toxin, less frequently to achieve the same results.
Smoothing of wrinkles will be apparent after the first treatment but the longer the skin over the muscle is free of stimulation the greater the effect.
The aim of botox is NOT to freeze the face but to gently smooth lines and give you a refreshed, rejuvenated appearance.
How popular is it as a treatment?
Botox is the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment worldwide with 5,145,189 botox® treatments carried out in 2013. 87% of people having treatment are women but there are also many men having treatment too and this number is increasing.
According to the 2020 Global Survey from ISAPS, Botox treatments accounted for 43.2% of non-surgical treatments carried out over the year.
Is Botox safe?
The simple answer to this is yes.
Botulinum toxin was first used medically in 1950 and it has been used in cosmetics since 1991 with an excellent record of safety, especially when administered by a qualified cosmetic professional. B. A paper by the National Library of Medicine showcases that there are no long-term or life-threatening effects based on administrating the correct dose for a cosmetic treatment.
However, as with all cosmetic treatments, there are side effects that you should be aware of. We will discuss these later in the article.
Is Botox painful?
The needle used to administer Botox injections is usually very fine, and very rarely results in any bruising or pain. Most patients report a fine scratch sensation when the needle is inserted, and some may feel a slight “sting” at the site of the injection.
Overall Botox is minimally invasive and very rarely do patients report that the procedure is painful. You can ask your practitioner for a topical anaesthetic, should you wish to numb the areas being treated.
What are the risks of Botox?
There are some potential common side effects following Botox, ranging from minor to serious symptoms. Your aesthetics practitioner should always run you through the potential side effects and offer you a complete aftercare package to help minimise and control any possible side effects also.
Common side effects
- Redness — This is common after injections of any kind and you can expect this to go down after 30 minutes or so. If it persists, speak to your aesthetics practitioner to review the injection site
- Bruising — This may occur in more sensitive areas, but a good practitioner can reduce the chance of this happening. Bruises should fade naturally after a week or two
- Infection — Always keep the injection site clean after your procedure to avoid infection. However, if the Botox area looks red and swollen, visit the doctor’s office to have the injection site reviewed
- Pain at the injection site — It’s common for this to occur after any anaesthetic has worn off. Apply a cold compress to the area to ease the pain.
- Muscle weakness or stiffness — Provided this is a relatively mild feeling, this is also quite common, but if you’re worried, speak to your practitioner
- Headache, Cold or flu-like symptoms — Along with a headache, these can be common after Botox and should fade after 24 hours. Drink plenty of water, rest, and consult your doctor if the symptoms persist
Serious side effects
- Blurred vision — Sometimes known as double vision, this can sometimes occur after injections around the eyes. This is uncommon and will wear off with the Botox, but you should consult your doctor
- Allergic reaction — If you experience itchiness, a rash, trouble swallowing or breathing, or severe dizziness, seek immediate medical attention. This is extremely rare but always worth being aware of
- Crooked or droopy eyelids or mouth — Web MD explains, “Around 5% of people who get Botox will have problems with eyelid droop. This number falls to less than 1% if a skilled doctor does the injection”. Ensure that you are always choosing the best possible aesthetics practitioner who has the most knowledge of facial anatomy to minimise this risk
The best way to achieve natural-looking Botox that enhances your natural beauty is to look for a reputable practitioner, with a good number of reviews, and who has plenty of experience. Make sure you begin with an initial consultation to outline your expectations and discuss what is achievable. Your practitioner should be honest with you about what’s possible, and you should leave the consultation understanding the benefits and risks of any treatment you wish to undertake.
How to choose a Botox Clinic or Salon
You should feel safe and comfortable with the practitioner administering your Botox treatment, so when choosing a cosmetic practitioner make sure you consider the following:
- They should be a medical professional, such as a doctor, nurse or dentist. This is because these professions have extensive training on facial anatomy and will also be best placed to help you should you experience any potential side effects, whether that be with Botox or other treatments such as Dermal Fillers
- The clinic has a strong presence on Google, with many authentic good reviews
- You are offered a consultation beforehand to discuss your needs and outcomes
- They are honest about what you can achieve with Botox alone and may offer alternative or additional treatment
- They have good testimonials from other happy clients who have received similar forms of treatment
- They offer a two-week check to monitor treatment progress and ensure you are happy with your results
EJH Aesthetics is a leading cosmetic clinic based near Ipswich and Woodbridge in Suffolk. I specialise in Botox treatments and have been administering a range of cosmetic treatments to my clients for the last 6 years. Get in contact with me to book a consultation and discuss whether Botox is the right treatment for you!