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What is Botox?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 22 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Botox Treatment Injection Cosmetic

In the world of cosmetic procedures, one word that gets heard very frequently is Botox. Women (and men) who feel like they might need a slight pick-up in the facial department but are shy of actual cosmetic surgery can be attracted to Botox because it promises good results without the need to go under a knife. But what do you know about Botox?

What is Botox?

Botox is a simply a type of protein that’s derived from the botulinium toxin – the same toxin that causes botulism. The prepared solution is injected underneath the skin to reduce and smooth out lines and facial wrinkles. Low doses of Botox are used to actually paralyse facial muscles, which gives you a smoother facial appearance.

How Does Botox Work?

Botox works by relaxing muscle contractions by blocking nerve impulses. This means that after they have been treated, the muscles can’t contract, which makes any wrinkles relax and soften. The effect kicks in after two to four days, but the finished effects last for up to six months. Most patients need more than one treatment, as the effects aren’t permanent, but after each injection the wrinkles can get less pronounced as the regular Botox treatments ‘train’ the muscles to relax.

What Does a Botox Treatment Involve?

A Botox procedure only takes a few minutes and you won’t need an anaesthetic. The therapist will take a syringe of the Botox solution and inject it straight into the muscle area to be treated with a very fine needle.

Some clinics recommend that you don’t drink alcohol for a week before a treatment, and to minimise bruising you should also stop using aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications for two weeks before treatment.

Are There any Risks from Botox?

Side effects are unusual and the treatment is relatively safe but you’re injecting a foreign substance into your body so there are always risks of a reaction. The risks of the treatment going wrong are easily minimised by choosing a properly qualified person to administer the Botox. Because Botox works by numbing the muscles, it can make you look permanently surprised or even give you an unflattering permanent frown...the good thing is that these effects do wear off again!

If you’re taking any antibiotics you should ask your doctor for advice and it’s probably best that you don’t have a treatment while taking your course. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding you should also give it a miss.

Botox and Me

Helen Porter, 32 is a professional tattoo artist from Kent. She runs her own beauty business Pink Ink (Tel: 01227 764633) and has been working in the beauty industry for 16 years. She says:

“I like to try all the beauty treatments when they appear on the market. I have a salon in Canterbury that offers tattooing, cosmetic surgery and everything in between.

“I’ve been having Botox treatments since I was 28, and I think it’s the best the best thing I’ve ever done. I have the injections in my forehead as I tend to frown all the time.

“I only have it done once a year - just to relax the muscles, although the treatment only lasts for four months. I like giving my skin a break but as soon as I see those wrinkles start to form again I have another treatment! Prevention is what it’s all about for me.

“I book my Botox treatments with the cosmetic surgeon who works in my shop, his name is John Davison. I think it’s really important to have Botox administered by a highly experienced person, mainly because I’ve seen some terrible results on other people. The person giving the injections needs to have an excellent knowledge of the facial muscle locations - if you’re injected in the wrong place you could end up with asymmetric results.

“Each treatment I have takes about 5 -10 minutes and I just feel a little scratch. It’s not at all painful. I did feel like I was wearing a swimming cap for the first three days after the injection but I didn’t have any side effects. I love Botox and I’m going to carry on having it - in moderation – forever!”

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