What is Botox and how does it work?

Botox Frequently Asked Questions

The term Botox comes from the name Botulinum Toxin, a protein produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. This protein is  responsible for the very deadly condition called botulism. This anaerobic pathogen is generally spread in soil and marine sediments in the form of spores but can also be present in fruits, vegetables and seafood.

While spores of Clostridium botulinum are harmless, their growth generates active bacteria which produce neurotoxins. Neuotoxins, in simpler terms, are chemicals that can cause severe damage to the human brain and central nervous system.  Toxins secreted by this bacterium can not only adversely affect nervous cells but even destroy and completely paralyze the nervous tissue, often leading to death.

Several years ago, botulism – the ailment triggered by these toxins – was linked with canned foods. Nowadays, it is also seen unrefrigerated sauces, foods sealed in aluminum foils, garlic preserved in oil, salted and fermented fish as well as honey. These  can also infect the organism with this life-threatening bacterium.

With the dangers brought about by the bacteria, why is it that  Botox remains ever so popular in the cosmetic field? Why is it still widely used in cosmetic procedures?

What is Botox ?

The substance used for cosmetic purposes is not the toxin itself but a drug derived from the purified compound. Very powerful, Botulinum toxin type A is a prescription medicine that is used in very small doses for treating minor health problems, such as facial wrinkles and fine lines. it is also used to treat more serious conditions, including severe underarm sweating, blepharospams or uncontrolled blinking, cervical dystonia or uncontrolled contractions of muscles in neck and shoulders as well as strabismum or misaligned eyes.

How does Botox work?

Botox is administered through intramuscular injections. It works by binding  motor nerve terminals and inhibiting their action. It is injected locally, allowing the compound to produce reversible muscular paralysis, blocking muscles from producing Acetylcholine or ACh. This substance is needed for muscles to contract so unless it is available, treated muscles will no longer contract therefore no wrinkles and expression lines will form.

How is this substance administered?

Botox is only administered through injection, directly into the muscles that need to be temporary paralyzed to produce a less wrinkled skin and a more youthful appearance. Procedure is quite simple as it only implies one injection done by a healthcare professional, between the brows, around the mouth, in the chin and forehead or near the eyes.

How is the procedure performed?

The entire treatment only takes a few minutes, requires no anesthesia and the patient can get back to his or her normal activities right away. The healthcare professional uses a fine needle for injecting the substance without damaging the skin and without causing discomfort to the patient.

Is the procedure painful?

Botox injections are just as painful as a small bug’s bite: given the short time it takes for these injections to be performed, the discomfort is only experienced for a few seconds until the entire amount of substance is delivered into the muscles.

What are the benefits of using Botox?

By blocking the action of nerves causing muscle contractions, Botox prevents skin from creasing thus stops the formation of wrinkles and lines. Also, it reverses the already existing ones, improving skin’s smoothness.

Still, note that deeper lines and wrinkles that have been present in your skin for several years may not be totally removed with this procedure and may require additional cosmetic treatments, mainly dermal fillers.

How long do London Botox’ effects last?

The effects of Botox treatments are not visible right away – it usually takes around 7-10 days for skin’s appearance to improve considerably. The effects last for 3-4 months, depending on the lines’ depth and on the amount of substance used.

Keep in mind that before receiving the Botox treatment you should stop the intake of aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs as these will interfere with the injected substance, causing bruising and swelling.

Do Botox treatments have side effects?

Like any other invasive procedure, this treatment can trigger mild side effects as well, especially at the injection site where pain can appear. Also, in more sensitive patients, headaches, stomachaches and stomach upset as well as flu-like symptoms can develop. When Botox is injected in the face, it may lead to temporary drooping eyelids and paralysis of nearby muscles.

Other rare yet possible adverse reactions linked with Botox injections include mouth dryness, discomfort in face, tiredness, neck pain, blurred vision, swelling of eyelids, eye dryness, allergic reactions such as itching, wheezing, rash, asthma-like symptoms, faintness and dizziness.

Who needs to undergo this procedure?

Botox can be used by anyone who wants to improve their appearance by removing fine lines and wrinkles. Men and women can use this treatment, but males require a slightly higher dose most of the times as their muscles are stronger.

Who should avoid Botox treatments?

Breastfeeding and pregnant women are not recommended these treatments as they might harm the mother or the baby. People allergic to ingredients in Botox products, those suffering from skin infections at the injection site, from muscular disorders and breathing problems like asthma and emphysema as well as people with dropping eyelids should avoid this procedure.

Also, Botox is not recommended to those with bleeding and clotting problems, to people suffering from weakness in the forehead muscles, from swallowing problems or to those planning to have surgery or who recently had surgery on their face.

Where is Botox injected in our London Botox clinics?

This substance can be injected in the vertical lines between the brows, called frown lines, as well as in the squint lines, horizontal lines on the forehead, in the Crow’s feet and chin puckering. Also, Botox is effective in reducing lines on the bridge of the nose and in reversing the downturned mouth corners.

Does Botox block facial expressions?

Aside from reversing the lines and wrinkles, Botox will not affect your facial appearance in a significant manner and will not make you look as if you had plastic surgery. Muscle activity will be temporary reduced so you won’t be able to make the same facial expressions for few days but things will get back to normal in a short time.

What should I do post treatment?

After receiving the injection you should avoid lying down for 3-4 hours or exercising. Also, you should avoid touching or massaging the area for several hours and avoid drinking alcohol during the first 24 hours after treatment.

Aside from Botox Injections, you may also want to opt for Dermal Filler Injections to improve the appearance of the face.

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