Botox is the brand name associated with a chemical which is secreted by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This chemical can be used in small, diluted amounts to produce temporary paralysis of select muscles when injected directly into them. This causes a controlled weakening of the muscles, which can minimise the effect of facial wrinkles (this does not include wrinkles caused by sun damage or gravity, as these are not related to muscle action).
Often, Botox is used to treat conditions such as strabismus (lazy eye) or belpharospasm (facial spasms such as uncontrollable blinking). However, Boxtox is also a popular cosmetic treatment for wrinkles and facial creases, owing to it’s non-invasive, cheap and painless procedure. Botox has been a procedure approved by the FDA since the 1980’s, and is mostly used for cosmetic purposes. It is considered a very safe procedure, and does not involve any surgery.
Another treatment that often accompanies Botox is a “Dermal Filler.” With a Dermal filler, Hyaluronic acid is used to fill an area just below the skin’s surface; this helps to plump up the skin, smooth out any wrinkles which may be present, and help to fill creases and entrenched facial lines. Fillers are most commonly used on the lips (to give them a more full, wrinkle-free appearance), and to add contouring to the face.
As Botox is a toxin which blocks the signals between the nerves and the muscles, it prevents muscles from contracting. When injected into specific areas of the face, this allows wrinkles to relax and soften. Often with age, muscles contraction can lead to wrinkles, crow’s feet (lines around the eye) and frown lines which can be undesirable as physically prominent facial traits. A botox treatment in Birmingham allows for temporary relaxation of these muscles, leaving a fresher, younger appearance.
Botox is a popular choice amongst celebrities, in order to maintain a youthful appearance despite the stresses and strains of everyday life.
The effects of Botox usually take full effect after around three days to a week. Before and after a procedure, it’s important to avoid blood-thinners, including alcohol, aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications. These are contraindicated up to a fortnight before treatment, and will help to reduce bruising after the treatment is complete.
The procedure is quick and simple; requiring no anaesthesia or invasive surgery. A fine needle is used to inject the Botox into specific muscles around the face, and this is usually only met with the same minor discomfort associated with needles.
The effects of a Botox treatment tend to last between four and six months; slowly the action of the facial muscles will return (along with the lines and wrinkles). Common side effects of Botox include temporary bruising; a far less common side effect can be a headache. It is important to avoid rubbing your face after treatment for at least 12 hours, as this can lead to the Botox ending up in areas where it should not be and can lead to conditions such as eyelid drooping (if this occurs, it usually lasts no longer than 3 weeks).
Botox procedures are contraindicated for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, or anyone who suffers from a neurological disease. It is highly recommended –as with all cosmetic treatments- to consult with your doctor before arranging to have the procedure.
Botox procedures are considered to be very safe, however, in about 1% of cases, people develop antibodies to the toxin that make any future treatments ineffective. In extremely rare cases, Botox can lead to the following unwanted side effects: Mild pain, local edema (fluid buildup) and/or erythema (reddening of the skin) at the injection site, numbness, headache, malaise, mild nausea, temporary unwanted weakness/paralysis of nearby muscles, temporary upper lid or brow ptosis (drooping), weakness of the lower eyelid or lateral rectus (a muscle controlling eye movement), dysphagia, neck weakness, flu-like illness, brachial plexopathy – a condition affecting the nerves either side of the neck and chest, gallbladder dysfunction, diplopia (double vision), bleeding, blurred vision, decreased eyesight, dry mouth, fatigue, hives, rashes, wheezing, and swelling.