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Botox - Q & A

by Catalina A. Grija, MD

What is Botox?

Botox is a cosmetic form of a neuromodulator that doctors inject into facial muscles. It blocks signals from the brain that tell the muscle to contract. These muscle contractions are responsible for wrinkling your facial skin when you smile, frown, squint, or otherwise express yourself. Botox effectively erases lines by relaxing your facial muscles to the point that they don’t contract to wrinkle your skin.

What are Botox treatments like?

Botox treatments don’t require anesthesia and can be done in a physician’s office. It’s a quick procedure that’s fairly painless — no more uncomfortable than the prick of a fine-gauge needle. Side effects are rare, but can include temporary bruising near the injection site. Rarer still are headaches that may last for 24 hours.

How long does it last?

It generally takes 5-7 days for the full effects of the treatment to appear, but most individuals notice some improvement within 24-48 hours. You can expect the changes to last from 4-6 months. Dr. Grija may recommend more than 1 Botox for optimum results, though note, repeating Botox injections too often can lead to a very unnatural appearance. Many people note that their lines and wrinkles appear less severe as they receive more treatments and their muscles are trained to relax.

Is it safe?

Botox is derived from a poison but the cosmetic doses are so low that they are harmless when used as directed. Individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a neurological disease shouldn’t use Botox. Otherwise, Botox has been used successfully for years to treat fine lines and wrinkles. It’s most effective on crow’s feet, forehead lines, and frown lines between the eyebrows. It’s not the right treatment for deeper wrinkles, but may be used in combination with other skin rejuvenation treatments offered at Dacia Medical.