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How Does Botox Work?

Botox Cosmetic also known as Botulinum toxin, and the brand name for Onobotulinumtoxin is a neurotoxin protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botox® Cosmetic is FDA approved to treat cosmetic facial wrinkles, such as the glabella, forehead, and crow’s feet around the eyes. When Botox is injected into the targeted facial muscles, the injection causes the facial muscles to relax and prevents muscle movement. The relaxation of the muscles prevents the muscles from contracting and reduces the normal movement which causes wrinkles. This reduction in movement of the skin also prevents the formation of new wrinkles.

The concept behind Botox injections is that when you temporarily block local nerve impulses to the targeted muscles the muscles will be “paralyzed” and will be unable to move. With the interception of the signal to the muscles, you are unable to make certain facial expressions that can cause the appearance of the wrinkles and fine lines. Bu blocking the signal from the nerve endings to the muscle, the injected muscle can no longer contract, which causes facial wrinkles to relax and soften.

There are currently three different Botox alternatives also FDA-approved to treat fine lines and wrinkles. These include Dysport, Xeomin, and Jeuveau. All of the neurotoxins currently on the market last approximately the same amount of time, three to four months. Revance is a newer neurotoxin which is set for release this Spring and is touted to have a longer duration, up to six months.

What Can Botox Treat?

In addition to Botox being used for cosmetic purposes, such as treating fine lines and wrinkles, Botox is also used to treat medical conditions such as migraines and excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). For over ten years Botox has been approved to treat chronic migraines. Many migraine sufferers opt for Botox injections as there are no side effects with these injections as there are with typically prescribed oral migraine medications. In addition, patients who suffer from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) have benefited from Botox treatments as it is painless and effective and offers longer lasting results than other treatments currently available.

Botox is approved to treat both medical and cosmetic issues. The amount of Botox used is dependent upon the condition being treated. Excessive sweating of the underarms required more units of Botox than Botox for a cosmetic area on the face.

How to Prepare for Botox & Post Treatment

Certain precautions should be taken before your Botox treatment which will improve your experience, whether it is your first time having Botox or not. We recommend our patients to refrain from taking blood thinners, including Aspirin, or Aspirin containing products, Advil, Aleve, multivitamins, or Vitamin E, Fish oil, for one week before getting your injections. These blood thinners and vitamins can cause bleeding and excess bruising. After getting Botox injections, you may notice small bumps at the injection site. These small bumps are completely normal and will disappear by the time you leave your dermatologist office. You may experience swelling or bruising at the site of the injections. Swelling and bruising are common side effects which usually subside within a few hours or days.

These effects of Botox injections can vary from person to person, so it is important to take Arnica (a naturopathic supplement which prevents bruising) at least 1-2 days before getting Botox to prevent any bruising from occurring. It is also recommended not to bend forward or lay flat for at least 4 hours after getting Botox injections because it can migrate to other parts of the face causing muscle weakness in those areas. You should also refrain from exercising for at least 24 hours after receiving the injections. Make-up may be gently applied to the treated area immediately after the injections. Keep in mind that Botox does not have a systemic effect, meaning that it will not migrate to other parts of the body.

Who performs Botox?

As with any cosmetic treatments, it is best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeons. Trained medical professionals can help reduce the aging process by recommending helpful skincare regimens and cosmetic procedures such as Botox.

How does it feel when it starts working?

When your Botox injections start working you will see your wrinkles and fine lines disappearing. The treated area will be smoother, and you will start to look more refreshed and rested.

Some patients report feeling a heavy or tight sensation a week or two after treatment which eventually subsides. You can also tell when your Botox injections are beginning to wear off when you can see dynamic lines again with movement.

How long does Botox last?

The effects of Botox injections are not immediate, and it certainly does not last forever. After the injections, some patients can start to see results in as little as 3 days, but the full effects can be seen in two weeks. The lag in time to see results is the time it takes for the neurotoxin to effectively block off the signal received from the nerve endings to the muscles. Botox injections typically last approximately 3 to 4 months. That is because the effects of the neurotoxin are not permanent.

In some instances, Botox can last longer this happens when a patient has been getting Botox injections for a long time and their nerve endings and muscles are trained. The effects of the neurotoxin will eventually wear off as new nerve endings develop that are not affected by Botox. When these attach to the muscles, the muscles begin to contract, causing new wrinkles to slowly reappear. Once the frown lines start to reappear, a simple follow-up treatment is all that’s necessary to maintain the desired result.

First time Botox patients may notice that the effects of their Botox treatment do not last as long initially. The muscles are untrained, and it can take a few treatments before they see longer-lasting results. It is important to note everyone has a unique experience and results may vary.

In rare cases, some patients can form resistance from the effects of Botox over time. That is when the body produces antibodies against Botox. These antibodies prevent the Botox from working. When this happens, the facial wrinkles will begin to reappear. Normally, our body metabolizes the neurotoxin through our liver and kidney; causing the Botox to stop working.

In conclusion, how long Botox lasts is depends on the condition it is being used to treat. In general, Botox injections will last approximately 3 to 4 months. As the muscle regains movement you will start to notice a recurrence of movement and with that, wrinkles. For other conditions such as migraines and hyperhidrosis, your migraines and sweating will also gradually start to come back and you will need to have Botox treatment repeated.

Why does Botox take time to work?

Botox connects to a specific protein called SNARE which links between the muscles and nerve endings at the motor endplate. This protein sends chemical messages to the muscle to move, and to the motor endplate of the nerves to contract. When Botox binds to the protein SNARE it intercepts the chemical signal to the muscles without that signal there is no muscle movement hence no wrinkles.

If you’re ready to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, contact us online today or call 212-535-3088 to learn more about why Dr. Michele Green is a trusted source for Botox treatments in New York City.

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