Botox® is one of those cosmetic skin treatments that everyone has heard about, but that few people actually understand. While plenty of movies and TV shows have portrayed it as “freezing your face,” the reality is that when it’s done right, it produces a highly natural result that is achieved with very little inconvenience to the patient. In fact, unless you knew what they looked like before treatment, you probably couldn’t pick Botox®-ed faces out of a line-up.
At Dermatology Associates of Atlanta (DAA), we’re dedicated to not only providing patients across the Atlanta area with all the procedures they need to look their best, but we’re also dedicated to educating the public about skin care, too. That’s why today’s blog answers many of the Botox® wrinkle reduction questions patients are afraid to ask about this often misunderstood treatment.
Is Botox® really a toxin?
Botox® contains extremely small amounts of botulinum toxin A, a protein produced by bacteria. It is injected into certain muscles to stop them from contracting, so it smooths out specific expression lines that form as we age. Its effects of muscle relaxation are seen within days but there are no additional “toxic” effects. The muscles return to normal activity within months. Additionally, there are no cumulative effects – so it is unlike heavy metals such as Mercury or Lead.
What kinds of wrinkles does Botox® treat?
Wrinkles form from a combination of factors: muscles contracting and tightening over years of repeated use, thinning and softening skin, and a loss of overall facial volume. Botox® addresses the wrinkles that are affected by contracted muscles due to repeated facial expressions—primarily crow’s feet, frown lines (also known as “number 11s” between your eyebrows), and lines across the forehead.
Why is Botox® so popular?
Botox® is well-known for its highly successful and natural-looking results, but there are other factors that make it a patient favorite as well. The treatment itself can be as brief as 10-15 minutes with no recovery time, and the results can last three months or more. It’s also a particularly versatile injection, so it can be safe and effective for nearly anyone as long as it is administered by a licensed and experienced medical professional.
Is there anything else that can produce the results Botox® does?
There is no shortage of anti-aging skin treatments, from laser skin resurfacing to chemical peels. But other than surgeries like face lifts, brow lifts, and eyelid surgeries, the only options that affect the underlying muscles are Botox® and a similar injectable, Dysport®, which is made from the same toxin and treats wrinkles in the same way as Botox®.
I’ve heard of young adults getting “preventative Botox®.” Does this really work?
Yes, it does! When the select facial muscles are relaxed by Botox®, not only does it make them smooth when they’re not being consciously used, but it actually prevents them from contracting altogether, which means the wrinkles that typically form as a result of these muscles will not form as quickly or as severely.
Botox® is among our most popular cosmetic skin treatments for a reason—because the brief procedure offers a high reward for a minimal amount of time, and we often have special discounts (like our monthly Cosmetic Day events) that minimize the cost as well. But remember, Botox® is not a miracle cure (nor is any other procedure), so your first step is always a consultation with one of our board-certified dermatologists or licensed physician assistants to discuss which of our dozens of available procedures may be your best option. For more skin care tips and our upcoming events, follow Dermatology Associates of Atlanta on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.