Anyone that hears the word “Botox” immediately thinks about plastic surgeries and enhanced looks. Well, if you think the same, you are not entirely wrong.
Cosmetic interventions that make people look better and young are among the most popular, and Botox is among such treatments.
If you want to learn more about Botox, what is it actually used for, and other details concerning the subject, just keep on reading.
What is Botox?
Believe it or not, but Botox is a medicine that is made out of a toxin.
Yes, Clostridium botulinum is a type of bacteria that creates the toxin behind botulism, which is a dangerous type of food poisoning.
Still, you don’t have to worry, because the form of botulinum used for cosmetic treatments is safe.
The botulinum toxin A, a purified version, is used for the development of various Botox based cosmetic treatments, which means that there are no risks for you to develop botulism after having a Botox treatment.
Also, the dosage and frequency of the treatment are adjusted in such a manner that the toxin used for treating various problems will not treat the life and wellbeing of the patient.
What is it used for?
The reason Botox appeared is that doctors discovered its ability to treat some problems.
Some of these problems may be connected to plastic surgery while others are various health issues. Before getting to the uses it has in the cosmetic industry, let us see what other health problems are treated with Botox.
For instance, of the issue that receives such a treatment is cervical dystonia, which involves involuntary muscle spasms in the neck area.
But, it is also used with success in treating muscles spasm in other parts of the body as well, such as in the lower and upper limbs.
Another medical application of the Botox treatment is in the case of patients suffering from severe sweating under their arm pits, which is called hyperhidrosis.
Botox removes the unpleasant effects of excess sweating, allowing people to feel much better in their own skin. Eye muscle conditions, which are usually triggered by disorders of the nerves, are also treated with Botox.
Blinking that cannot be controlled or eyelids that undergo constant spasms are two of the problems corrected with this treatment.
It is also use for the treatment of urine leakage or overactive bladder, in case these conditions are caused by nerve conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury. And, believe it or not, it is used for treating chronic migraines.
A chronic migraine is considered that migraine that appears 15 days a month or more, with sessions that last at least 4 hours.
As mentioned earlier, Botox is used a lot in the plastic surgery domain. It comes under the form of treatment through injections, with the main purpose of correcting wrinkles.
Plastic surgeons discovered that Botox is quite efficient when it comes to correcting the so-called dynamic wrinkles.
Dynamic wrinkles are the ones that appear on your face when you move the muscles of your face, like when you are frowning or when you laugh.
Botox will reduce the presence of significant wrinkles on your face, but you should be aware that the treatment is temporary. You will have to repeat it if you want to maintain its effect.
How does botox work?
If you read the previous sections, you may have noticed that the majority of affections treated by Botox are connected to nerve disorders.
Well, Botox works by blocking the signals send by nerves to the muscles, slowing down their activity. With other words, it temporarily numbs the muscles in the area where it was injected.
So, if you can’t move the muscles on your face too much, wrinkles won’t appear. If the muscles of the eyes are not that active, the eyelid will stop suffering from spasms and so on.
Of course, the amount of botulinum toxin injected during a treatment is extremely small, but, even so, it is highly efficient. To understand better how Botox acts on the body’s muscles, let us see how nerves actually activate muscles.
They release acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger to the muscles, telling them that it is time to contract.
When Botox in injected in a certain part of the body, acetylcholine is not emitted anymore by the nerves.
Thus, because the muscles fail to receive the proper instructions from the nerves, they stop contracting. The muscles will not become stiff thought, as they will remain in a relaxed form that doesn’t contract at all.
Risks and side effects
In most cases, injections with Botox do not create any sort of problems, as they are well tolerated by the organism. But, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any risks connected to a Botox treatment, regardless of its purpose.
In some very rare cases, the patient may have a genetic predisposition towards developing an unusual response to this medicine.
Also, approximately 1% of the people that take injections with botulinum type A end up developing antibodies to this botulinum toxin, which means that future Botox treatments will be inefficient in their cases.
The incidence of patients developing antibodies for the toxin is higher in the case of the botulinum type B, the one used for treating cervical dystonia, their percentage reaching 44 of all treated people.
When it comes to unwanted side-effects that may appear after the treatment, the list is quite consistent.
First of all, mild pain may be felt around the area of the injection, together with redness of the tissue and edema, or at least one of them. A transient numbness can also be felt shortly after the treatment.
Mild nausea, headache, temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles, dry mouth, fatigue, wheezing, swelling, rashes, and hives are all on the list of unwanted side-effects.
Also, depending on the area where the Botox has been made, the symptoms can be different.
For instance, if Botox is used for treating neck muscles spasms, pain in swallowing, weakness in the neck, or issues of the nerves on both sides of the neck and chest can also be experienced.
How much does it cost?
The costs of Botox can vary depending on the treatment you need. There are two ways in which doctors charge such an intervention.
First method, and the most common, is to charge per unit. This means that the cost will be per unit of Botox and you will need to multiply this unitary price with the number of units you need for a treatment.
The price per unit can vary depending on where you live, as it can range from $9 to $20. But, do have in mind that you may need a dozen or more units to have a problem solved.
To have an idea about the costs, have in mind that crow feet around the eyes require the least number or units.
A patient may require anywhere between 2 to 10 units of Botox to treat this issue. For horizontal lines on the forehead, the average number of units is 20, and for treating glabella, you may need around 25 units.
The second method of charging for Botox treatments is per area. This means that the doctor will have a standard price for every area that can be treated with Botox and you will pay according to your needs.
The prices per area can also depend based on where you live, ranging between $250 and $500 per area.
So, if you need to treat more than one area, like the forehead and the eyes area, you will have to double the bill.
Paying by area may not be the best option, especially if you don’t have severe wrinkles, as you may end up paying for more than you need. You see, the costs per area are the same for everyone, regardless of how many wrinkles they have.
So you may not need as many units of Botox as a person that has deep and many wrinkles to fill. If you choose to pay per unit, you will be in a better control of the final costs and you will be sure that your vials are fresh and won’t be opened until the procedure takes place.
What else to know about Botox?
If you want to try a Botox treatment, always opt for having it in a doctor’s office and not in spas or beauty salons.
Keep in mind that Botox is a toxin, so you need someone with a proper education and experience to perform such treatments.
A doctor that is board-certified in plastic surgery or dermatology is the best person to turn to.
You should avoid blood thinning medicines, like aspirin and ibuprofen, with two weeks prior to the Botox treatment, because you risk bruising and bleeding from the area where the injection will be performed.
Also, do have in mind that some supplements, like fish oil, ginko, and even vitamin E, have the same effects.
So talk with the doctor about the medicines and supplements you take, to check whether they will cause any troubles or not.
More doesn’t mean better, so do your best to create, together with the doctor, a more natural look.
Too much Botox can have a negative effect on the way your face looks, so it is not recommended to exaggerate with this treatment.
And, if you are planning to get pregnant, if you are pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding, you need to talk to your doctor before choosing a Botox treatment.