Anti-aging treatments: Botox

While there are many cosmetic anti-aging procedures and treatments on the market today, Botox is one...

While there are many cosmetic anti-aging procedures and treatments on the market today, Botox is one of the most common. Made from Clostridium botulinum bacterium toxins, Botox is a refined version of botulism, one of the culprits behind food poisoning.

In small doses, however, it can help many problems and can turn back the clock by temporarily removing wrinkles on your face. There are two forms of the medicine, Botox Cosmetic, which is used to treat wrinkles, and Botox, which is used to alleviate some medical conditions. Both are often referred to as simply "Botox."

How Botox works

Botox works by a process called selective muscle denervation. When a muscle works, a nerve tells the muscle to move or contract. This point where the muscle and nerve intersects is called a neuromuscular junction and it works when the acetylcholine chemical is released. This chemical will bind to the muscle and make it contract due to more chemical reactions.

Botox works by blocking this acetylcholine from sending the nerve the signal to move the muscle. Without the chemical, the muscle doesn't know to move, and therefore it will be paralyzed. Selective muscle denervation begins to work within the first two days after treatment, with the most noticeable signs of blockage coming in the next five to ten days. It will take a few months before the muscle will begin to have new receptor sites for the chemical and start to contract again, allowing movement in the face.

Botox for health

Botox works by blocking nerves and paralyzing some muscles. According to Medline Plus, Botox can be used to treat misaligned eyes, cervical dystonia, uncontrolled blinking, and underarm sweating. The FDA has also green-lighted Botox for eyelid twitching, upper limb spasticity, and chronic migraine, according to the Mayo Clinic. While not approved by the FDA, some off-label uses include treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction, back pain use, and bladder dysfunction.

Botox for wrinkles

Because it paralyzes and relaxes muscles, Botox has been approved to smooth facial wrinkles. It works well in cases of moderate to severe wrinkles. How well it will work depends on the degree of wrinkles you have, your own skin type, and your skin's thickness. Always talk to your doctor about your expectations and what can be achieved by using Botox prior to having the procedure. A doctor let you know if your expectations are possible with Botox and discuss alternative options if Botox cannot achieve them.

Preparing for Botox wrinkle treatment

Generally, before the procedure you will get a complete physical exam and have a medical history taken. You will be asked about your medication use to check for any interactions. You will also have a discussion on the costs and expectations of the procedure so that there are no surprises. The doctor will use thin needles to inject the Botox just under your skin into your muscles. The entire procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Results and Aftercare

You will start to notice results a couple of days after your treatment, with the complete results visible in two weeks. Your smoother face will last about three to six months and then begin to fade. You will need follow-up treatments if you want to keep the results, so keep that in mind.

There can be a little soreness or bruising around the treated area, but you should be able to get back to your day-to-day immediately after the procedure. You only need to remember not to rub your face or massage the areas that were treated. You don't want to move the toxin around.

Risks of Botox

There are side effects to any procedure or medical treatment, and Botox is no exception. Injections are typically safe when done by someone with experience; however, complications are always possible. Side effects include

  • Botulism-like symptoms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Pain at injection site
  • Redness
  • Bruising at injection site
  • Increased sweating

Some side effects can be very serious, especially you have an allergic reaction, or when there are heart/muscle complications. Always call a physician if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Loss of bladder control
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Problems with sight
  • Total body muscle weakness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Facial pain
  • Neck pain
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Skin blistering
  • Eye pain, bruising or bleeding
  • Uneven heart rate

Do not use Botox as an anti-aging treatment if you are breastfeeding or if you are pregnant, as the effects to a fetus or newborn are not known at this time.

If you'd like to learn about the latest in treatment options for wrinkles and sagging skin, talk to someone in the Atlanta area for a consultation. These Atlanta doctors can answer your questions and get you confident in your new appearance.

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