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It is likely that you have heard about Botox, the revolutionary botulinum toxin injectable that visibly reduces moderate to severe lines and wrinkles. This includes crow’s feet, forehead furrows, and frown lines. Quick and painless, Botox treatments are the perfect alternative to the conventional aesthetic procedures, which tend to be invasive in nature. In this article, we will discuss the mechanism of action of Botox, criteria of a good candidate and, most importantly, how to make Botox last longer.
Botox is an injectable that consists of botulinum toxin type A (a type of neurotoxin). Once administered, Botox attaches itself to cholinergic nerve endings to prevent the release of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine (ACh) is a type of neurotransmitter that controls muscle contractions. Simply put, Botox exerts its anti-aging actions through temporary relaxation of the facial muscles that cause lines and wrinkles. Due to its unique mode of action, Botox is generally ineffective against lines and wrinkles resulting from gravity or photodamage. Botox is highly effective in treating dynamic wrinkles. Dynamic wrinkles are winkles that form as people move their faces (e.g. frowning). Conventional treatments such as chemical peels and dermabrasion cannot correct dynamic wrinkles, as they are unable to relax wrinkle-causing muscles. Unlike peeling and dermabrasion (which require an average recovery time of 10 days), Botox treatments do not require any downtime. Offering true convenience, Botox allows patients to resume their daily activities right after the injection.
Having an excellent safety profile, Botox is generally safe and well tolerated by most patients. Botox injections are ideal for patients who want to correct dynamic wrinkles. While it works best on younger individuals, Botox is suitable for all patients of 18 to 65 years of age. This is to ensure that they have adequate skin elasticity to respond to treatments.
Granted, Botox works on most people, but it cannot work wonders on everyone. If patients are using medications such as blood thinners or antibiotics, they may not benefit much from a Botox treatment. In addition, Botox injections do not benefit individuals with hypersensitivity to products containing bovine or, or patients who have weakened facial muscles. Apart from that, patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding are contraindicated from using Botox. As a rule of thumb, Botox should not be used in the presence of a neurological condition. The efficacy of Botox is significantly decreased in patients who have non-dynamic wrinkles (which resulted from photodamage or gravity). While uncommon, Botox can potentially cause undesirable side effects such as headaches, which can last for up to 2 days. In addition, patients may sometimes experience eyelid drooping, which will typically subside in 3 weeks. Practitioners should proceed with the treatment only if the patient finds these potential side effects acceptable.
In general, Botox can last for up to 4 months. Results may vary among patients depending on many factors. For longer-lasting results, consider the following tips.
1. Choose the right practitioner: The duration of Botox results is greatly influenced by the administration technique. If injected by an inexperienced doctor, the results may not last as long as they would otherwise. Inappropriate injection techniques can prevent Botox from achieving its maximum duration of action. In contrast, if administered by an experienced, reputable practitioner, the results may last up to 6 months.
2. Receive the injections periodically: Botox injections are usually performed over several weeks. Using Botox on a regular basis helps to gradually weaken the muscles. As a result, the effects are longer lasting.
3. Avoid overtreatment: While it is important to have regular injections, overtreatment can result in muscle resistance to Botox. Therefore, it is advisable to have a 12-week gap between each treatment sessions. Patients who have strong muscles may require a higher dosage of Botox.
4. Refrain from using certain skincare products: In the first week after Botox treatment, patients should avoid using skincare products such as abrasive cleansers, toners, scrubs and mask. These products are known to cause disruption to the injected Botox.
5. Minimize sun exposure: Avoid the sun on the day of treatment. Excessive exposure to the sun may promote blood circulation, leading to the dilation of blood vessels. This could increase the dispersion rate of Botox. Therefore, patients are advised to use a sun protection of at least SPF30.
6. Moving the muscles: Right after the injection, patients are often asked to pucker the lips, frown, smile, or raise the eyebrows. While it may sound silly, moving the muscles after the injections can actually make Botox longer-lasting. Patients should avoid rubbing the treatment area, lying down, bending over or exercising for 1 to 2 days after having a Botox injection. Otherwise, the injected Botox may migrate, causing complications such as eyelid drooping and facial paralysis.
7. Use Zytaze: Zytaze is a medicine that is composed of zinc. It has been suggested that Zytaze may accelerate and prolong the actions of Botox. For best results, take Zytaze several days before the treatment.
The full muscle weakening results of Botox can usually be seen as soon as 2 days after the procedure. Apart from the early benefits that are noticeable soon after treatment, Botox also gradually corrects the appearance of dynamic wrinkles. Over the next 2 weeks, the results of Botox will improve continuously. After 4 to 6 months, the results will gradually wear off. To maintain the results, patients will need to repeat the treatments. When used in the early stage of aging, Botox can prevent the formation of new wrinkles while treating the existing ones. In general, Botox works best when the wrinkles have not completely set in. Early Botox treatment helps to delay the onset of lines and wrinkles before they become more severe. For optimal treatment outcomes, use Botox along with sunscreen and skincare products. A healthy lifestyle may also enhance the anti-aging effects Botox, helping to prevent the formation (and worsening) of wrinkles.
As with most injectables, Botox will eventually wear off, requiring a new treatment to maintain its effects. However, it is possible to make Botox last longer with a few simple tips.