When you think Botox, you might think of Hollywood stars who never seem to get any older. But Botox is not limited to Hollywood. Thousands of people every year turn to this wonder-drug for help with their stubborn wrinkles, and for good reason. Botox gets faster, more dramatic results than most anti-aging solutions, and it doesn’t require a new routine or a lifestyle change.
Before we dive into when you should consider trying Botox, let’s take a look at how it works.
How does Botox work?
Botox is a neurotoxin secreted by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. It sounds scary, but medical professionals know how to handle this powerful drug. Before administering Botox, your surgeon will use saline to dilute the drug to less than 1% of its toxic dosage. At this concentration, Botox only has localized effects and poses very little threat to your health!
After your injection, Botox will work its way through the dermal layer of your skin and into the underlying nerves and muscles. There, it gets down to business. Like most neurotoxins, Botox works by blocking the synapses of targeted nerve cells. When the synapse is blocked, the nerve can no longer transmit the impulses from your brain that tell your muscles to contract. In time, your muscles will relax, which means smoother skin.
When is Botox a good choice?
Surgeons often recommend Botox to treat wrinkles in the upper half of your face, like frown lines and crow’s feet. These wrinkles (sometimes called “dynamic” wrinkles) come from years of muscle contractions used to make facial expressions, so a muscle relaxant like Botox can work wonders for them.
Of course, there are other ways to attack wrinkles around your eyes, but Botox offers a few unique benefits. First, it’s a quick treatment; you can drop in for a Botox treatment during your lunch break and be back at work in no time! Second, it has fast-acting effects. More than anything else, the speed with which you see results sets Botox apart from other anti-aging products. Diets and lotions may take months to achieve the same results. Finally, the effects are relatively long-lasting. Botox is not a daily routine that you have to adhere to religiously. You will just need to pay a quick visit to your plastic surgeon every 3-4 months.
When should you look into alternatives?
Botox, like everything else, has its limitations. While it’s great at reducing the appearance of wrinkles, it is not a good treatment option for more advanced signs of aging, like sagging skin. A good rule of thumb is to consider the underlying cause of the symptom you’re trying to treat. Wrinkles are caused by muscle contractions, so Botox is a good fit. Sagging skin is caused by breakdown of collagen and loss of fat in the face; there’s not much that Botox can do about that.
Fortunately, there are other treatments to fill in the holes that Botox misses. Injectable fillers can add mass to your face, buying you some relief from saggy skin, especially around your cheeks and mouth. They are often used in conjunction with Botox to take years off of your appearance. If you’re concerned about large amounts of sagging skin, especially along your jowls and neck, facelifts are also on the table. A facelift will tone the overall shape of your face, bringing it back to the lines you remember from years ago. After a facelift, you can use Botox or fillers to help keep up your new look.
If you’re ready to make your frown lines and crow’s feet a thing of the past, schedule a consultation with us at Associated Plastic Surgeons. We have more information to share about Botox, and we can help you develop an anti-aging plan that covers all your concerns.