All of your common Botox questions answered
Botox has been said to turn back the hands of time, but what else is important to know about this popular minimally invasive procedure?
Cosmetic surgery, nip and tuck, plastic surgery – whatever you choose to call it, minimally invasive procedures like injections of botulinum toxin type A, also referred to as Botox, are everywhere. And when celebrities, influencers and your neighbor down the street are somehow able to defy the signs of aging, it can make you wonder... how are they doing that and what is Botox?
Ask any aesthetic plastic surgeon what the most popular treatment on their menu is in terms of cosmetic procedures and they will almost unanimously say Botox. So, it's no surprise that in the Inaugural ASPS Insights and Trends Report, Botox was at the top of the list for minimally invasive procedures patients sought out in 2021 and 2022 – which is right on par with the 10 years prior.
But regardless of how many TV personalities mention it, surgeons talk about it or reports come out about it, there are still questions surrounding Botox. So, if you are thinking about getting this minimally invasive procedure, follow along as we answer some of the most common questions people have about Botox.
What is Botox?
Botulinum toxin, or Botox, is a purified substance that's derived from bacteria," said Aviva Preminger, MD. "In other words, it "is basically a very diluted concentration of a neurotoxin."
This neurotoxin is used to block the nerve signals to the muscle in which it was injected. When you do this, the muscle is not able to contract and is, in turn, weakened or paralyzed temporarily. The end result is the diminishing of unwanted facial wrinkles and lines.
What is Botox used for?
Botox is used for a variety of things but is most often used to lessen the signs of aging. If you're in your 20s, 30s or older, you've probably started to notice those less-than-desirable facial wrinkles almost everyone has. Years of smiling, frowning and even laughing can cause creases in our faces and beyond, so if you don't like what you see, Botox might be a good option for you.
"It's kind of a magic eraser when it comes to lines that involve motion of the face," said Preminger, adding that Botox actually prevents lines by paralyzing the muscles so that the muscles stop moving.
"These lines in your forehead, crow's feet around your eyes, bunny lines all stop actually happening. It basically turns back the clock and time."
Who is a good candidate?
According to Preminger, just about anyone is a candidate for Botox. While she generally doesn't administer this minimally invasive treatment to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, it can be used in just about everyone else who has fine lines, wrinkles, a gummy smile or skin dimpling of the face they want to get rid of.
"There are a lot of people who start using Botox in their 20s, and honestly, what's amazing about it is that it's preventative," said Preminger. "One of the things that happens is that once we start to age and deep lines start to develop, they're kind of permanent cracks in the skin or the dermis, and that's when you have to start to use filler to kind of fill things in because even when you paralyze the muscles, those lines are present actually at rest."
What is the recovery?
Recovery is probably one of the top reasons patients seek out Botox. Unlike other facial procedures like facelifts or brow lifts, which can take weeks to recover from, there is relatively no downtime needed after Botox injections. So, whether you have a demanding career, are a parent or both, Botox can be a great solution for those unwanted creases if you're in a pinched for time.
What other questions should patients ask?
One of the most common questions – aside from the ones previously mentioned – is how long does Botox last? The short answer? Three to six months, but that can vary on a patient-to-patient level. When the effects of Botox start to wear off after a few months, your muscles will begin to relax again and the wrinkles will return.
It's important to remember that Botox is not an alternative to procedures like facelifts. While this cosmetic procedure can be a great place to start when it comes to getting rid of unwanted wrinkles, it's not a solution for sagging skin and it's also not permanent. As always, if you are considering getting any type of plastic surgery, make sure you are doing it for you.
To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.