What is Botox?

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?

Botox is a medical injection used to treat wrinkles, help with the prevention of lines and maintain muscle tone. It blocks the nerve impulses that cause facial muscles in your face to contract. These injections can be done by any qualified person but its always recommend for those who have never had it before to consult with a professional first.

Botox has been helping men and women all over the world feel better about themselves since 2002. Botox is also known as botulinum toxin type A through its scientific name – you might see this on a box or bottle of Botox product too!  

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 because it lessens the appearance of lines and wrinkles, as well as wrinkle depth.

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.

There are different types of facial lines that Botox can treat, for example:

Wrinkles between the brows. Wrinkles from not making enough ‘frown’ (glabellar) muscle movements. Vertical forehead wrinkles. Crow’s feet around the eyes. Smokers lines if you’ve quit smoking.

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, as well as 48 hours after treatment. However, these are personal recommendations and it’s best to ask your GP or therapist about what you should do before a Botox 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! How long botox effects last varies between patients. For some, it lasts six months and for others even longer than that. The number of treatments you need depends on your preference – Botox can provide good results with just one treatment but most people require more than one to get the benefits they want.

You will be at a very low risk of developing botox-related ‘dry eye’ – although it is not common, some patients find that after they have had Botox their eyes become slightly more sensitive to wind or dryness. This condition can be easily treated with artificial tears which you can buy from any pharmacy.

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.

What medical conditions can botox used for?

Botox has been medically developed to treat various medical conditions apart from the cosmetic ones. Botulinum toxin A is a therapeutic substance that has been approved by regulatory agencies for many uses, excluding all the botox aesthetic applications. There are some indications where botox injections may be used including headaches, chronic migraine, abnormal sweating, hyperhidrosis etc.

Many people may be surprised to know that botox is one of the top treatments for contact dermatitis.

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!”


Never try any procedure without the express approval of your surgeon. Botox is a medical discovery that has proven to be very successful in improving many people’s lives, both physically and cognitively. It should not be taken lightly and always done professionally by trained specialists. This post gives some insightful information on this topic but it does not replace actual medical care.

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