Those of you who know me, know that I am always very keen for my patients and prospective patients to understand as much as possible about the treatments I administer at Skin Deep Clinic, doing this gives us a mutual understanding of how they work and what to expect. Botox is the most popular treatment at Skin Deep Clinic, so I thought I’d use the first blog of 2022 to dispel some myths and confirm some realities about this much discussed drug.
But first … a little bit of history; Botox was first used in the early 80’s to treat people suffering from cross eyes or flickering eye lids (strabismus and blepharospasm). Through the use of Botox, people noticed the appearance of lines and wrinkles was improving. The use of Botox in aesthetic medicine was born.
We are born making facial expressions. We can get away with pulling faces such as frowning and raising our brows for years before overuse leaves us with lines that are visible even when we are not making any expression. The lines have gone from being DYNAMIC – visible on expression only – to STATIC – visible all the time! This is when Botox comes into its element
Myth 1: Anyone can Buy Botox
Botox is a brand name for Botlinum Toxin. It is available only on prescription following a face to face consultation with a prescriber. The genuine product can not be bought off Instagram or the internet or over the counter so I’ll start with a warning – if you haven’t seen a prescriber face to face then its pot luck what you are having injected. The pharmacies who manufacture the genuine products are fiercely strict about who they will dispense to.
Myth 2: Botox Freezes Muscles
Botox is a purified protein and when injected into the muscles whose overuse causes lines and wrinkles, causes the muscles to RELAX so they can’t contract. The side effect of this is smoother skin. It is therefore a myth that Botox freezes muscles as it actually relaxes them!
Myth 3: Botox Lasts 6 Months
There is no magic brand of Botulinum toxin that will last 6 months. Botox will actually virtually be untraceable after 3 months however the effects CAN last longer. When muscles are put in to a state of relaxation for brief and repeated periods, we will start to establish muscle memory whereby we do not use the same facial expressions as frequently. Therefore, even when the drug has completely worn off we can still look smooth although the muscles can be fully contracted.
Myth 4: Using more Botox Will Make the Effects Last Longer
Using the correct dose will give optimum longevity. Depending on your facial anatomy, using more can have unwanted side effects such as a very heavy brow.
Myth 5: If I Stop Treatment I Will Suddenly Look Older
If you stop having treatment you will start using the facial expressions more regularly whose activity contributes to the appearance of static lines. These will not suddenly re-appear though so you won’t age overnight.
Myth 6: Using Botox in the Forehead Will Lift the Brows
Botox is a muscle relaxant so is not an effective way of treating heavy brows. In fact, many people who have heavy brows, which presents as eyelid laxity, are unsuitable for treatment. Horizontal forehead lines are caused by regularly raising our brows. Relaxing the muscle we use to raise the brows will slightly lower the brow position. This is unnoticeable in many patients but intolerable for those who already have a heavy brow.