What Is Botox?
Botox is an injectable product derived from the botulinum toxin. While it stems from the same microbe that can give you botulism, it’s completely safe in its modified form when administered by a medical professional, such as your New York dermatologist.
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2002, Botox has helped thousands of men and women look better and feel better about themselves since then. Botox is best known for temporarily hiding facial lines and wrinkles through sub-dermal injections, but it has other approved uses. For example, in the hands of a qualified doctor, Botox injections can:
- Prevent migraine headaches in some people
- Control an overactive bladder
- Reduce how much you sweat, if it’s become a problem
- Manage a condition known for repetitive neck twitches
- Treat lazy eye
All symptoms, potential procedural/surgical options should always be discussed with your physician after a thorough consultation and examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
How Does Botox Work?
The botulinum toxin is still a poison, but it’s a very mild one. It works by blocking specific chemical signals from reaching your brain. In essence, it deadens the nerves of muscles temporarily, which relaxes your facial features. As a result, your muscles can’t contract, and the lines on your face soften. They no longer form when you change your expression because the muscles surrounding them don’t move.
When it’s used for cosmetic reasons, your Manhattan dermatologist injects Botox directly into the appropriate muscles of your face. The effect can last up to four months. The first time you get Botox injections, however, it may last for less than three months. There are individual differences in the length of time the toxin stays active, so your results may vary.
Is Botox for You?
Botox is the first and most well-known injectable product for fighting wrinkles, but it’s no longer the only one. Since it was the first, though, Botox has the longest track record of proven success. Other FDA-approved products, according to the Mayo Clinic, are Dysport, Xeomin, and Myobloc. To determine if Botox shots can help you, consult your local dermatology doctor. During your initial visit, before your first injection, make sure you relate the following information to the dermatologist:
- Any muscle or nerve diseases you may have
- All the medical conditions you’re currently suffering from
- Your plans for any surgery in the next four months
- All the medications, vitamins, and supplements you’re taking
- When and where you last had any Botox injections
- If you’ve had Dysport, Xeomin, or Myobloc injections
Dermatological Uses of Botox
Most often, New Yorkers want Botox shots to battle cosmetic facial lines. Injected correctly, Botox freezes key facial muscles so that your wrinkles don’t form. It relaxes the injected muscles enough to make you look years younger. This type of treatment is usually used to make the following facial lines virtually disappear:
- Crow’s feet, which appear at the far corners of your eyes
- The glabellar lines between your eyes, also known as frown or worry lines
- The furrows above your eyebrows in your forehead
These are usually the largest wrinkles on your face and can cause you to look the oldest. The toxin begins to take effect several days after your injections. At that point, you should notice the difference. Because the treatment only lasts for three to four months, you’ll need to return to your dermatologist for subsequent injections.
The Botox Procedure
If you’re interested in a cosmetic Botox treatment, consult a skilled dermatologist. Not everyone can administer the toxin safely and correctly, so if you want the best results while minimizing any side effects, make sure the person holding the needle is fully qualified. A cosmetic dermatologist often has training and experience in delivering Botox exactly where you need it.
Botox is injected in small amounts directly into the facial muscles surrounding your wrinkles. Your NYC botox doctor can perform the injections right in the office. The number of injections and dosage you need depends on how many areas you want to treat. In general, you can return to an active lifestyle immediately after you visit the doctor. Just keep your hands away from the injection sites so that the botulinum toxin stays where it was injected.
Side Effects from Botox Injections
Botox shots are usually safe and without risks or side effects. But you must receive your treatment from a trained professional in a clinical setting. If administered improperly, you can experience some serious side effects. You shouldn’t get a Botox treatment if you’re pregnant or nursing. Most often, the Botox side effects are minor. But even though they’re temporary, they may last as long as the Botox remains active, which can be up to four months. The side effects include:
- Pain where Botox was injected
- Bruising or swelling
- A sagging eyelid
- A one-sided smile
- Symptoms like the flu
- Crooked eyebrows
- A tendency to drool
- Abnormally dry eyes
- Excessively teary eyes
Some Serious Risks
If you’ve found the best dermatologist you trust to inject Botox into your facial muscles, you’re in safe, competent hands. But even after successful treatment, you have to be careful to obey your doctor’s advice and post-procedure instructions. For example, you have to be careful not to rub your injection sites, no matter how much they may itch. By doing so, you can inadvertently cause the botulinum toxin to move to a different area of your face, leading to some of the side effects above.
Other Botox risks include symptoms that can simulate a botulism attack — which is just like food poisoning. If you experience any of these conditions after getting Botox injections, contact the dermatology doctor who gave you the shots:
- Shortness of breath
- Slurring your words
- Blurry vision
- Can’t swallow
- Body weakness
- Inability to control your bladder
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult a dermatologist about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board-certified botox doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can You Use Botox for Migraines Treatment?
The injections target chemicals called neurotransmitters. They are responsible for carrying pain signals from your brain. The treatment prevents the chemicals from reaching the nerve endings around your head and neck. For migraine treatment, Botox is injected into the specific muscle areas. The common injection sites include:
- The back of the head
- Above the shoulder blades
Dysport vs. Botox. What Is the Difference?
The main difference lies in the concentration of the substance. Dysport is more diluted because it has smaller protein molecules that trigger muscle relaxation. Smaller proteins are harder to break down by antibodies. Botox protein molecules are larger, and the effects may last as long as six months.
What Does Botox Aftercare Entail?
To prevent side effects and maintain beneficial properties of the treatment, your doctor may suggest the following tips:
- Be careful with your face. Don’t touch your face for at least 24 hours to prevent infections.
- Don’t use makeup or skin treatments. The rubbing motions for skincare/makeup application can reduce the effects of treatment.
- Don’t put pressure on the treated area. Make sure to sleep on the non-treated side.
- Protect the treated area from the sun. Avoid the sun rays for at least four hours.
Do you have any questions about Botox? Would like to schedule an appointment with the best botox specialist, Dr. Susan Bard of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists. Please contact our Midtown NYC office for a consultation.
(212) 427-8750 Manhattan Dermatology (Midtown) 51 East 25th Street Ste 411, NY 10010
(212) 889-2402 Manhattan Dermatology (Union Square) 55 W 17th St Ste 103, NY 10011