All you have to know about Botox facial injections

You may have read about Botox Cosmetic in advertisements, blogs and celebrity gossip magazines, or heard about it from your friends. But there are a lot of misconceptions about Botox treatment and how it is used.

Botox Cosmetic has been available by prescription in the United States since the FDA approved it in 2002. The exact same Botox injected for medical purposes (such as uncontrolled muscle spasms) was first approved by the FDA in 1989.

Botox Cosmetic is FDA-approved to smooth the frown lines between your eyebrows, though it is used off-label for other facial wrinkles as well.

In 2015, it was the top nonsurgical cosmetic procedure in the U.S. among both women and men, with 4,267,038 injections (of Botox, Dysport and Xeomin) performed by physicians and their physician assistants and nurse injectors. Men received 10.3 percent of the injections.*

What Is Botox Cosmetic?

Botox, or onabotulinumtoxinA, is used for three main purposes: muscle spasm control, severe underarm sweating and cosmetic improvement. In this article we concentrate on the third use, achieved with the product called Botox Cosmetic, which contains botulinum toxin type A (the active ingredient), human albumin (a protein found in human blood plasma) and sodium chloride.

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facial lines and wrinkles

  • Procedure time:about 10 minutes
  • Typical results:smoother, younger-looking skin; lasts about three to six months
  • Recovery time:a couple of days to a week to see full effects
  • Cost:around $250 to $350 per region

Botox Cosmetic is used for the temporary smoothing of glabellar lines (also called frown lines), which are the lines between your eyebrows that can make you look tired, unhappy or angry.

However, it is often used off-label for horizontal forehead lines, crow's feet, marionette lines at the corners of the mouth and smoker's lines around the lips.

Don't confuse Botox Cosmetic with injectable fillers. Dermal fillers work differently, plumping up tissues so that lines and wrinkles diminish or disappear (Restylane, Radiesse and Juvederm are examples).

Your practitioner can help you decide which product(s) will solve your particular appearance issues, though as a general rule, Botox is used mostly in the upper portion of the face, and fillers are used mostly in other areas.

How Often Should You Get Botox Injections?

You're probably wondering how long Botox lasts. Most people see effects for three to four months, but several factors may shorten or lengthen that period:

  • Your age. Older people with less muscle tone may see results diminish sooner than those with younger, firmer facial muscles.
  • Your facial structure and expressions.
  • Whether you smoke.
  • Your diet.
  • Whether you take good care of your skin; use facials, microdermabrasion or other resurfacing methods.
  • How much sun you get and how much sun damage your skin already has.
  • Whether you use Botox repeatedly or not. However, this seems to differ from one person to another. Some obtain a longer-lasting effect with repeated use, while others seem to develop a resistance to the drug and need more frequent treatments.

Doctors disagree on which of the above factors are the most important; it's a good question to ask your practitioner. In any case, it is not recommended to have injections in the same injection site (such as for crow's feet) more frequently than every three months.

Close-up female face with a big wrinkles on her forehead - isolated on white

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