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Ever Wonder About Botox? Here Are Five Things to Know

In the ever-expanding toolbox for anti-aging, Botox is by far the most popular minimally invasive procedure. In fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports there were more than 7 million Botox procedures in 2017, and its popularity continues to grow.  

“Taking good care of your skin with sunscreen, a good skincare product that contains retinol, and cosmetic procedures like chemical peels can do a lot for the appearance of your skin,” said Heather Peacock, RN, from Samaritan Plastic, Reconstructive & Hand Surgery in Corvallis. “But no amount of topical skin care can address the deeper lines and wrinkles that can occur with age. That’s where a  minimally invasive procedure like Botox can help.”

Botox is the brand name for botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin that blocks nerve signals to a targeted muscle. Once the Botox is injected, the muscle cannot contract and wrinkles formed by repetitive facial movements fade. Botox is most commonly used for frown lines, forehead creases and for fine lines, or “crow’s feet,” around the eyes. 

If you’re concerned about an unnatural appearance after Botox, Peacock notes that only bad Botox gets noticed. 

“Botox that is done correctly will help you look relaxed and refreshed, not shiny, waxy or frozen,” she said. 

Only you can decide if the time is right for Botox. But if you’re on the fence about whether or not to try it, here are five things you should know:

There’s No Substitute for a Professional

Finding an experienced professional is the most important part of getting Botox. Peacock notes that there are 43 muscles in the face and injecting the wrong muscle can leave you with a bad result. Drooping eyelids, uneven brows, a mask-like appearance and more can all occur if the person who injects your Botox doesn’t know the accurate anatomy or proper technique. Go to a board-certified plastic surgery or dermatology office to make sure your provider is qualified. During the visit, your provider should listen to what kind of result you want from your Botox in order to come up with a personalized treatment plan. 

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ template for Botox,” said Peacock. “During your consultation, the provider should watch you move your facial muscles and discuss the areas you are concerned about. This helps them know which muscles to target and how much Botox will give you the results you are looking for.”

The Office Visit Is Quick

An experienced professional can complete your injections in about 10 minutes (assuming you have already had a thorough evaluation of your face). After your visit you can return to work, although you may have to limit some activities that could cause the Botox to shift while it is still working at the injection site. Your clinician may recommend not laying down for about four hours after your appointment and limiting strenuous exercise like running or yoga for 24 hours after your treatment.

It Doesn’t Really Hurt!

Injections use a small needle in several places around your face that feel like a tiny pinch. The number of injections varies depending on how many areas are being treated but generally five injections on the forehead for frown lines and three injections around each eye for crow’s feet. The area may be iced or you can ask about a topical numbing cream.

It Takes Two Weeks to See Full Results

After your appointment you won’t start to see results for about 48 hours. Then, as the injections start to work on your muscles, the areas targeted will slowly relax, and lines and wrinkles will improve. After two weeks, your results should be in full effect.

The Results Can Last up to Four Months

Botox results typically last three to four months, but if you get on a regular schedule results may last as long as six months. If you fail to maintain Botox treatments, your skin will eventually revert to how it looked before as you regain movement of the muscles that caused the wrinkles in the first place. Peacock often recommends combining other treatments like chemical peels that can work on fine lines and improve the overall appearance of the skin and combat signs of aging.

Learn more about the variety of cosmetic services available at Samaritan Plastic, Reconstructive & Hand Surgery.

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