A brand name can become a bigger concept than the initial product, like Kleenex® and Xerox®. That certainly holds true for Botox®. The first drug of its kind, it continues to deliver impressive results, fading the fine lines and wrinkles that develop as you age. It’s become so well known that its name often stands in for any neuromodulator that tackles dynamic wrinkles, but several brand names are on the market these days.
At 817 Surgical Arts, facial and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Emily Johnson uses neurotoxins such as Botox Cosmetic® to help you “de-age” your skin by relieving the source of dynamic wrinkles. While these are well-tolerated treatments, many patients at the Fort Worth, Texas, practice wonder if it will hurt. The answer is “only a little.” Here’s why.
“Dynamic” means “in motion.” Dynamic wrinkles, therefore, come from a lifetime of making facial expressions. Movement such as smiling, frowning, or raising your eyebrows causes the muscles underneath your skin to contract, tugging at the skin above. Because skin weakens as you age, at some point, it won’t relax from an expression as quickly or completely as it did when you were younger. That creates fine lines and wrinkles, particularly around the eyes and mouth and between the eyebrows.
Medically known as onabotulinumtoxinA, Botox is an injectable drug made from purified botulinum toxin taken from the Clostridium botulinum bacterium. It’s the same toxin that causes botulism (food poisoning), but it's completely safe when diluted and injected by a trained professional such as Dr.Johnson.
Previously used medically for cases of muscle spasms in the eyes, the FDA approved Botox in April 2002 for cosmetic procedures, renaming it Botox Cosmetic for that market. While it initially targeted just brow furrows (glabellar lines), it’s now widely used to tackle dynamic wrinkles anywhere on the face.
The toxin selectively prevents nerves from signaling the underlying facial muscles to contract, temporarily paralyzing them. If the muscles can’t contract, they can’t tug on your skin. Your face relaxes, and the dynamic lines and wrinkles smooth out and disappear, effectively de-aging your face. The muscles retain just enough function so you can make normal expressions, meaning your face won’t look “frozen.”
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAOS) indicates that some people see noticeable effects as early as 24-48 hours after treatment, but most see them within a week. Results last 3-4 months, at which point you can repeat the treatment.
Any procedure involving a needle has the potential to hurt a little bit, and that’s the case with Botox. Each small injection feels like what it is: a small pinprick. The Botox solution also contains a local anesthetic, so you won't feel any pain as soon as that kicks in.
There’s no downtime to the procedure, but you might experience mild redness, swelling at the injection site, or slight bruising, so the treatment areas may feel slightly tender. You can help the process by not consuming alcoholic beverages, performing strenuous exercise, or massaging or putting pressure on the treated area for a few days to prevent the neurotoxin from migrating into the surrounding tissue.
Botox may be the right option for you if you’re looking for an easy and convenient way to de-age your face. To learn more or schedule a consultation with Dr. Johnson, call us at 817-241-5375 or book online today.