Wrinkles are formed over time by the repeated contraction of the underlying muscle. The most common place for wrinkles are the horizontal forehead lines, vertical frown lines, and crow’s-feet (lines around the eyes).
“Botox” is a brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The actual protein is purified so it is safe to use in humans. There are also other brand names, such as Dysport and Xeomin.
The purified protein, Botox, stops the communication between the nerve and the muscle, thereby relaxing the muscle. The injected muscle can’t contract and thus makes the wrinkles relax and soften.
Botox is most often used on forehead lines, crow’s feet and frown lines. Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity will not respond to Botox.
Getting Botox takes only a few minutes and doesn’t require anaesthetic. Botox is injected with a fine needle into specific muscles with only minor discomfort.
It generally takes three to seven days to take full effect. You should try and avoid taking aspirin and antiinflammatory medication in the week prior to the procedure to minimise bruising. Although, if you have taken it you can still get the procedure done.
The effects from Botox will last four to six months. As the muscle action gradually returns, the lines and wrinkles begin to reappear and need to be treated again. The lines and wrinkles often appear less severe with time because the muscles are being trained to relax and the skin has had a break from being subjected to contracture.
Temporary bruising is the most common side effect of Botox. Headaches, which end in 24 to 48 hours, can happen, but this is rare. A small percentage of patients may develop eyelid drooping depending on their injection site but this is rare and only temporary. Drooping usually happens when the Botox moves around, so don’t rub the treated area for 12 hours after injection or lie down for three to four hours post procedure.
People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a neurological disease should not use Botox. Since Botox doesn’t work for all wrinkles, you should consult with a doctor first.