What is Botox?

Botox is the trade name for botulinum toxin type A, a cosmetic treatment used to treat the appearance of frown lines and wrinkles on the face and forehead. It is one of the most widely used and popular cosmetic treatments in the world - the single most commonly used cosmetic procedure in the US. It works on the principal of paralysing the muscles in the face, preventing them from contracting and causing wrinkles and reducing the appearance of existing ones. It is commonly used in people ranging from as young as 18 up to the age of 65. It is regarded as one of the safest cosmetic treatments on the market, and is used in more than forty countries worldwide.

botox patient relaxing

What are the benefits of the treatment?

Botox has various other uses, such as treating muscle pains in patients with related medical conditions. It can help to reduce excessive sweating in people that experience this regularly. Within cosmetic procedures, it helps to make the face or other part of the body look fresh, smooth and give a younger appearance. This can improve the self-confidence of the patient and their overall well-being. The treatment itself does not take long to administer and involves less pain than various other cosmetic procedures. You can often return to work soon after and resume activity. The effects can be seen fairly quickly, often within a day or two, and last for several months before you will need to go back for another session.

What are the side effects?

As with any cosmetic procedure there is the potential for unwanted side-effects. Fortunately in the case of Botox these are quite mild and are only temporary. The most common side-effects include headaches, swelling and slight pain. These should clear up within a few days at the most. If they persist or you have more severe reactions, then it is important to contact your surgeon or doctor straight away in case it develops into something serious. For patients who have had their frown lines and the area just above the eyebrows injected, there is sometimes the possibility of experiencing drooping eyelids. Other more rare side-effects can include redness or soreness at the injection site, but again this is only temporary and can be treated with a topical antibiotic cream. Infection is also possible, so it is important to choose a surgery that takes health and safety as a top priority. Very rare cases have seen breathing problems, heart attacks and epilepsy as a result of the injections, so make sure you are fairly aware of all the risks before going ahead. In some rare cases, patients can have an allergic reaction to the Botox. This was more of a problem in the early days of Botox treatment but now most practitioners will test you for an allergic reaction to Botox prior to treatment.

Botox vs. other treatments

  • Botox vs. Dysport

    Dysport is very similar in structure to Botox and is administered in exactly the same way but has only been on the international market since late 2009.

  • Botox vs. Fillers

    Dermal Fillers are different to Botox as they work by filling in wrinkles and other lines. They can also be used to enhance lips as well so they tend to plump up the skin, meaning the lines are less visible.

  • Botox vs. Collagen

    Collagen injections use active ingredients that are derived from bovine (from a cow) or human collagen. They are injected into the treatment area and assist wrinkle removal or reduction by restoring moisture into the skin and causing it to plump out and look smoother and of improved tone.

How should you choose the right surgeon?

Choosing the right surgeon is paramount to your personal health and safety. You should always go with a fully qualified surgeon who is able and is allowed to administer Botox injections. It is a good idea to check with previous patients to find out their experiences of that surgeon to give you extra piece of mind. You should also compare several surgeries to see which one offers the best value for money. Going with the cheapest surgeon is not always the best option, as it questions their ability, the strength of the Botox and the safety of the practice.