For decades, patients have been turning to Botox as a treatment for signs of aging. Botox has proven successful in reducing wrinkles, frown lines, crow’s feet, and other facial creases that come with age. Cosmetic Botox procedures have gained popularity because they are non-invasive, done in a matter of minutes, and patients only experience minimal discomfort.
What is Botox?
Botox, or botulinum toxin, is a neurotoxin that is injected directly into a patient’s skin to achieve a mild and temporary paralysis of the underlying muscle. The resulting relaxation of the muscles leads to the smoothing of wrinkles and the reduction of other signs of aging almost immediately.
Botox is considered safe for cosmetic treatments with very few adverse effects reported to the FDA1. When Botox injections are done by a trained professional, the risks to the patient are very minimal. Millions of people have benefitted from the different cosmetic applications of Botox, including:
Reduction of Wrinkles
Botox works to reduce wrinkles that have formed as a result of repetitive muscle contractions, such as smiling, squinting, and frowning. The treatment involves small injections of Botox directly into the facial muscles to block the nerves that tell your muscles to move. The facial muscles begin to relax after only a few minutes, with the full effect taking place about three to seven days after the procedure.
Despite what you may have heard, Botox doesn’t actually remove wrinkles. The injections affect the way the muscles contract and therefore soften the appearance of wrinkles considerably. Other forms of aging due to loss of skin elasticity or genetics are not treatable with Botox injections. It’s always best to discuss your options with an experienced medical professional to see how Botox can help with your specific issues.
Some of the most common signs of aging are fine lines and wrinkles on the forehead. Almost all facial expressions involve the muscles in the forehead, so it’s not surprising that these wrinkles are usually the first to show up. To successfully treat these horizontal creases, multiple small Botox injections are made across the forehead and between the eyebrows for the best results.
The very fine lines that form around the outer corners of the eyes are known as crow’s feet. They are also known as laugh lines because they appear more pronounced when a person is laughing or smiling. Although crow’s feet are usually no more than a centimeter wide, they can often be quite deep. Your doctor will inject Botox in the outer eye area using a very fine needle to stop the muscle contractions that cause the crow’s feet. The result is a dramatic softening of the wrinkles in just a few days.
Botox can be used to lift the brow without an invasive surgical procedure. The treatment involves softening the frown lines between the eyebrows and raising the brow line so eyes appear brighter and more open. By injecting cosmetic Botox in specific forehead muscles, the brow is able to relax and pull upward.
The amount of lift this procedure is able to achieve can vary from patient to patient. Results depend on a person’s age and muscle tone and will be more prominent on a patient with milder signs of aging. However, a brow lift using Botox injections is an excellent alternative to a painful surgical brow lift that can have a long recovery and less-than-ideal results.
Masseter (Jaw Line) Reduction
Many patients who suffer from bruxism, or teeth grinding, have to deal with the unfortunate side effect of a squared jawline. When the masseter muscle is always tensed, the jawline appears broader and more angular. There can also be inflammation of the muscle, which contributes to the squared appearance of the jaw.
Doctors are now utilizing the relaxing effects of Botox on the masseter muscle to reduce tension and stop teeth grinding altogether. With the jawline no longer tightly clenched, a patient’s face appears slimmer and more streamlined, which many agree is more youthful and feminine. The Botox is injected directly into the masseter muscle on either side of the face with noticeable results appearing after about two weeks.
When Should You Consider Cosmetic Botox Treatments?
Botox is not only for people who have deep facial lines and wrinkles. In fact, more and more patients in their late 20s and early 30s are undergoing cosmetic Botox procedures as a preventative measure to combat wrinkles before they even start. The best thing you can do is discuss your desired outcomes with a medical professional to see whether or not Botox is a good option for you. In many cases, Botox is the perfect non-surgical solution to treat the signs of aging successfully.
1 Coté TR, et al. (2005). Botulinum Toxin Type A Injections: Adverse Events Reported to the US Food and Drug Administration in Therapeutic and Cosmetic Cases [Abstract]. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved 8 October 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16112345