Botox for Beginners
Are you sick and tired of people asking why you look concerned or mad? Do you eyes look or feel heavy? Having deep “11” lines (the vertical lines between your eyebrows just above your nose) can make you look tired and angry. It’s the area Botox Cosmetic was first FDA approved to be used to decrease facial wrinkles, and it’s probably the most common area I treat. Let’s go over a few Botox basics so you can feel comfortable at your treatment.
What is Botox?
Botox Cosmetic is a prescription medicine that is injected into specific facial muscles to temporarily improve the appearance of facial wrinkles. While it is FDA approved for the “11 lines” or frown lines as well as the crow’s feet (the lines around the eyes), it is also used “off-label” in areas like the forehead, nose, and around the lips. It is dosed in units much like the medications you might be more familiar with that are dosed in milligrams. Botox Cosmetic comes freeze-dried in a sterile container and the physician is then responsible for reconstituting it with saline (salt water). Once the Botox Cosmetic is mixed it should be used that day. The advantage of seeing a doctor like myself is that I treat patients with Botox daily, so you are always getting fresh, just mixed Botox for your treatment.
Is Botox diluted?
A common question I am asked frequently, especially during our fantastic special priced Botox events, is “Do you water it down?”. The simple answer to that is NO, we do not. The full answer is all doctors have to reconstitute Botox from the freeze-dried version to liquid Botox. There are several acceptable methods, all of which if done properly work great. The most common method involves a 2:1 dilution, meaning, every 1ml of Botox mixed will contain 50 units. Regardless of how your Botox is mixed, however, the amount of units in your treatment is what you should be paying for. When doctor’s charge per syringe you should inquire more specifically about how many units are in that particular syringe.
What does it do?
Botox Cosmetic blocks a receptor in your facial muscles for a neurotransmitter in our body known as Acetylcholine. This natural chemical is responsible for signaling the muscle to move. When the receptor is blocked, the signal is also blocked, and the muscle doesn’t move. If just the right amount of units of Botox is injected, you can have minimal muscle movement while retaining your natural facial expression. Because the muscle is no longer squeezing your skin together the wrinkle magically disappears. When more units of Botox are used more receptors are blocked, and now that muscle is “frozen”. The less the muscles move, the smoother the skin will look. For some, this is their desired look, while others want to remain as natural as possible. At your consultation we will decide which look you desire and what would work best with your anatomy. Regardless of which you choose, I will assure you that your results will look fantastic.
How long will it last?
Immediately after these Acetylcholine receptors are blocked, the body recognizes this and starts to create new receptors. In about 3-4 months, the muscle will “regrow” new receptors and the muscle movement will slowly return. Every patient is slightly different, but the average duration of treatment is about 3-4 months. I do have patients that come every 6 months and I have patients that are back exactly at 2 months. One thing we know that might shorten the length of your results is exercise. In patients that do an above average amount of resistance training (lifting weights) the results don’t tend to last quite as long. This is not a rule but seems to be common in my patients.