Botox – fact and fiction

We’ve all seen examples of the botox horror stories – the one’s where someone has just a little too much botox and starts to look like an overblown balloon. Yet, despite all of the horror stories, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimate that over 7 million botox procedures were performed in 2016 alone. Why are these numbers so high despite running the risk of people pointing and laughing? Because it works. When used in moderation, botox can make your skin tighter and give you a more youthful, wrinkle free appearance (Notice how I said in moderation!). So let’s find out what’s actually true about our preconceptions of botox and clear up some popular botox myths:

Fiction – Botox is a new drug

Botox, known to the medical community as ‘botulinum toxin’, actually dates back to the late 19th century where it was used in therapies to block neuromuscular transmission and promote relaxation. It was further used in the 1980s to provide patients temporary relief from spasms of the face, neck, shoulders, and vocal cords. It wasn’t until the 1990s that botox actually became more widely known and used as a cosmetic drug for facial procedures.

Fact – Botox is safe

Many people have the impression that botox is not safe to inject into the skin. This rumour probably stems from the fact that botulinum is actually a very dangerous poison. When ingested in large doses, such a toxin can be deadly. And while botox is created using this toxin, it undergoes an extensive manufacturing process to purify and weaken it before it ever makes it to the shelf. When purified and weakened to such an extensive degree, botox is completely safe to inject into the skin.

Fiction – Botox will cause permanent damage to the muscles and facial tissue

When botox is injected it helps to relax the facial muscles by blocking nerve impulses. And while it does limit the activity of muscles, it does not cause any permanent damage or paralysis.

Fact – botox is Temporary

The bad news about Botox is that if you have a successful treatment that looks amazing, the effects are only temporary. The good news is, if you end up being one of those horror stories, the effects are only temporary too. Botox does not cause permanent muscle weakness and will wear off within 3-6 months (give or take).

Fiction – Botox is an instant fix

While Botox does work quickly, it is not an instant fix. Generally speaking, it will take 4-7 days after treatment before you will start to notice the effects of botox.

Fact – You can overdo botox

Okay, this is obvious and is evident when you see photos of the botox horror stories we keep talking about. The ‘frozen face’ look happens when too many of the facial muscles are injected. This is why it is so important that you research who is doing your injections. A good specialist will make sure that the only muscles affected are the ones that need it most, and that you are happy when you look in the mirror after treatment – not frightened.

In conclusion, botox is safe to use and can take years off of your appearance – if done properly. When it goes well, results are amazing – but when it goes bad, well…it really goes really bad. So, if you are considering botox – choose your practitioner wisely!