Just like any muscle in our body, overuse leads to growth, or hypertrophy of that muscle. The small muscles of facial expression are no different. When we are constantly overusing these muscles by, for example frowning, this leads to the “scowl” look, or “11” lines between our eyebrows. Botox can provide a rest and relaxation for those muscles.
So how does Botox help with wrinkles?
Botox is a muscle paralyzer. We use it in Cosmetic Dermatology to relax the delicate facial muscles, which improves the lines or wrinkles in the specific areas injected. The tiny Botox molecules bind the muscle receptor so contraction of the muscles injected cannot occur.
How long does it last?
Response to the injected Botox usually is seen 2-10 days after injection. Typically, the muscle actions (and the overlying wrinkles) will start working again after 3-6 months, once the Botox wears off. A persons’ metabolism and facial expressions can affect how frequently you will need Botox. If you exercise a lot, have an otherwise fast metabolism, or are constantly wanting to use the muscles, these factors can make you metabolize the Botox faster, and need a repeat treated sooner than others. Most patients come in between 2 times to 4 times per year for repeated injections.
What Can I Do to Make My Treatment Go as Smoothly as Possible?
Bruising is the most common side effect to Botox treatments. To decrease risk of bleeding and bruising it is important to avoid blood thinning medications such as Advil, Aleve, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Fish Oil, or Vitamin E 7-10 days prior to your appointment. We also recommend avoiding any alcohol intake 2 days prior and 2 days following treatment.
Most side effects are mild or moderate in nature and usually last less than 7 days. The most common side effects include temporary injection site reactions such as redness, tenderness, swelling, bumps, and bruising. As with all skin injection procedures, there is risk of infection.