Fine lines and wrinkles are an inevitable part of aging. And while some people have no problem embracing their naturally aging skin, others prefer to have more control over how they age with the help of cosmetic treatments like BOTOX® Cosmetic injections.
BOTOX® Cosmetic is an injectable cosmetic drug that can help you regain a youthful and vibrant appearance without surgery. The treatment is used to reduce the appearance of dynamic wrinkles and prevent static ones from forming. Dynamic wrinkles appear on your face when you squint, frown and smile. Over time, these fleeting lines can become permanent imprints on your skin. In other words, they become static.
BOTOX® Cosmetic injections prevent dynamic wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles that cause them to form. With regular injections, this treatment prevents dynamic wrinkles from progressing into static ones, helping you look years younger down the line.
As a non-surgical procedure, wrinkle-reducing injections are performed on an outpatient basis without anesthesia. Downtime is minimal, and results are apparent within two weeks after treatment. Most patients can enjoy their wrinkle-free appearance for up to six months after their first injections. With repeated injections, patients notice their results tend to last even longer.
What Is BOTOX®?
BOTOX® Cosmetic by Allergan is an injectable drug made with a purified form of botulinum toxin type A, a neurotoxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium. It belongs to a category of drugs called neuromodulators or wrinkle relaxers together with Dysport®, Xeomin®, and Jeuveau®.
Botulinum toxin type A can be therapeutic in small doses. The discovery of botulinum toxin type A as a potential treatment dates back to the 19th century when a German physician suggested that the same substance that causes botulism can treat nervous system diseases. Later on, researchers discovered that this toxin prevents the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which can help treat a range of problems, including dynamic wrinkles.
Since its introduction in the late 1980s, BOTOX® Cosmetic has become practically synonymous with “wrinkle relaxers.” Most people use this term to refer to wrinkle relaxers in general. But BOTOX® Cosmetic is actually one of many brand names for injectable Botulinum toxin type A. This particular brand has unique benefits and has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of forehead lines, crow’s feet and “11’s.” However, it is successfully used for other facial wrinkles as well. Besides being used for cosmetic purposes, BOTOX ® is also used to treat medical conditions such as chronic migraine, excessive sweating, an overactive bladder and lazy eye.
BOTOX® Cosmetic is currently the most popular nonsurgical cosmetic treatment in the US, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, with over 4,4 million BOTOX® injections performed in 2020 alone. At California Vein Specialists, this treatment is one of the most sought-after rejuvenation procedures we regularly perform in our offices in Newport Beach, CA.
How Does BOTOX® Work?
Wrinkles are visible creases on the skin caused by a combination of factors, like aging, smoking, sun exposure and — most importantly — muscle movement. In fact, skin is most prone to wrinkling in areas that fold with facial expressions. Some wrinkles appear only with facial movement and are called dynamic wrinkles, while those that are always present on the face are called static wrinkles. BOTOX® treats the former by blocking nerve signals that make muscles contract.
Botulinum toxin type A, the active ingredient in BOTOX®, is a neurotoxin that blocks nerve signals to the muscle. More specifically, it prevents the release of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction. Acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter responsible for muscle contractions. Although wrinkle relaxers are designed to relax facial muscles, they should not create a frozen look on your face. A skilled practitioner will know how to properly dose and inject this treatment to create a natural and wrinkle-free look. You should be able to maintain a significant level of facial movement following BOTOX® injections.
Botulinum toxin injections are clinically proven to be safe and effective in preventing and treating facial wrinkles. Only a small amount of toxin is injected directly into the muscle — millions of times less than one gram!
What Does BOTOX® Treat?
There are two types of injectables sold under the BOTOX® brand name: BOTOX® and BOTOX® Cosmetic.
The FDA has approved BOTOX® Cosmetic as a prescription medicine injected into the muscle to treat:
- Forehead lines
- Crow’s feet
- Frown lines between the eyebrows
In other words, this specific brand of wrinkle relaxer is approved as a treatment for dynamic wrinkles in the upper face. It may also be an effective treatment for bunny lines on the nose, heavy brows and even a gummy smile.
For people with facial wrinkles in the lower face — such as smile lines, smoker’s lines, chin wrinkles or marionette lines — we may recommend dermal fillers like JUVÉDERM® and VOLUMA™ XC or Chemical Peels. The same applies to those with deep wrinkles, as well as anyone with significant skin sagging.
Besides treating facial wrinkles, BOTOX® has been approved for the treatment of chronic migraine, overactive bladder, cervical dystonia, hyperhidrosis, strabismus and more. If you are interested in BOTOX® for a medical condition, speak to your primary care doctor, who will explain how it may be beneficial and whether you are a candidate for this treatment.
The BOTOX® Procedure
Wrinkle relaxing injections as a cosmetic procedure are available in most medspas, including at California Vein Specialists offices in Newport Beach, Orange County. You will schedule a consultation with one of our providers to see if you are a good candidate for this procedure and explore your options. We will take your medical history and provide you with instructions on preparing for your treatment. Most patients are asked to do the following in advance of their appointment:
- Avoid blood-thinning medications and supplements
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid chemical peels and tanning
Getting wrinkle relaxer injections takes only about 15 minutes and is relatively painless. Your provider will cleanse your face and start injecting small amounts of medication using thing needles. You may feel a pinch, but no significant pain.
Once your injections are completed, you may return to your daily routine right away. Aside from some possible mild swelling, there are not usually side effects that would reveal you just had a cosmetic procedure performed. However, some patients may develop minor bruising at the injection site that usually resolves within a week. We advise our patients not to schedule their treatment if they have an important event right ahead, since some amount of social downtime may be required.
It is a good idea to avoid exercising for 24 hours after your treatment and to avoid rubbing the area until it has completely healed. This is to help prevent bruising and swelling.
**Please note that to ensure our customer results and satisfaction, we do not charge by the “area,” we charge by unit. This ensures that you pay only for the actual amount of BOTOX® that is administered. At our medspa, we dilute our BOTOX® based on Allergan’s precise guidelines and never less or more than recommended. We want you to achieve the optimal results for the longest time possible, ensuring you tell your friends and come back for more. We care about our patients and we want to see you happy!
Most patients notice initial results three to four days after treatment, but it usually takes seven to 14 days to notice the full effect of BOTOX® Cosmetic. The results from this cosmetic procedure last about three months on average, although this varies widely depending on the area being treated, the severity of the wrinkles, how many units were used, whether this is your first or tenth appointment, and many other factors.
Regarding what you can expect, most patients notice the following improvements after receiving BOTOX® Cosmetic injections:
- Smoother and refreshed skin
- Less prominent wrinkling
- Generally improved appearance of the skin
Immediately after treatment, you may notice mild tugging or pulling in the treatment area, but you should generally not feel any different than before your treatment. Although wrinkle relaxers block nerve signals that make muscles contract, they do not impact the sensory system.
Your dynamic wrinkles will gradually reappear. If you decide to undergo further wrinkle relaxer injections, you may notice that the effects last much longer after subsequent treatments than after your initial treatment. The lines on your face will also become less prominent with each repeat treatment since BOTOX® causes muscles to atrophy and shrink.
Combining Botox With Other Treatments
Wrinkle relaxers containing botulinum toxin type A are mainly designed to treat dynamic wrinkles in the upper face. If you have multiple or more severe cosmetic concerns than just a couple of fine lines and wrinkles, we can use BOTOX® in conjunction with other procedures to help you achieve your cosmetic goals.
Many of our patients benefit from a combination of dermal fillers with wrinkle relaxers — known as a “liquid facelift.” Dermal fillers are another type of injectable that is injected into the skin to restore volume as well as to smooth wrinkles.
Besides combining different injectables, we can also perform chemical peels, PRP microneedling, and Ultherapy before your BOTOX® injections to create a refreshed and youthful look. These FDA-approved procedures address different concerns — such as skin sagging, discoloration, photodamage, enlarged pores and other concerns that could lead to a tired and aged look. You may find the results of these procedures satisfactory enough to not even need wrinkle relaxer injections.
Patients who are not good candidates for wrinkle relaxer injections can also benefit from some of our other alternatives.
Is BOTOX® Right for You?
Almost anyone over the age of 18 can be a candidate for BOTOX® and other wrinkle relaxer injections. However, ideal candidates are patients who:
- Have moderate to severe facial wrinkles
- Are primarily concerned about wrinkles in the upper part of the face
- Are in relatively good health
- Have realistic expectations from this treatment
Younger patients can request preventive BOTOX® — the use of botulinum toxin A injections to prevent rather than reverse wrinkle formation. Patients in their 20s who are just starting to develop dynamic wrinkles are ideal candidates for this type of treatment. The good thing about preventive BOTOX®, also known as “baby Botox,” is that you will require a small number of units, usually around 10. And once you reach that time when age-related wrinkles become inevitable, you will again require fewer BOTOX® injections.
If you are an older adult with prominent wrinkles, you can request wrinkle relaxers to reverse this common sign of aging. Although BOTOX® works best for mild to moderate dynamic wrinkles, it can also reduce the appearance of static wrinkles to some extent. It may also help prevent your existing wrinkles from worsening.
BOTOX® may not be suitable if you have certain health conditions or under some circumstances:
- You are allergic to any ingredient(s) in this medication
- You have a muscle or nerve condition (ptosis, ASL or myasthenia gravis)
- You have an active infection in the problem area
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
- You are prone to developing keloid scars
- You have body dysmorphic disorder
If we find that you are not a candidate for this procedure, we will either offer alternatives or wait for a time when you can safely receive this treatment.
Side Effects and Downsides
Wrinkle relaxer injections are generally safe with minimum side effects. But like all cosmetic treatments, complications can and do occur. Common side effects of BOTOX® injections include mild pain, swelling and bruising at the injection site. If you develop flu-like symptoms along with muscle weakness, dizziness and nausea, please contact us promptly. While rare, these symptoms could require emergency treatment.
The downsides of BOTOX® injections include unsatisfactory results and “frozen” features, although a skilled provider will ensure you achieve a look you love. The only major downside of wrinkle relaxers is that they are a temporary treatment that you need to repeat to maintain results.
BOTOX® Cosmetic is used for cosmetic purposes only and is not covered by insurance. The good news is that BOTOX® injections are one of the most affordable cosmetic procedures there is, with costs being only a couple of hundred dollars per area.
At our Newport Beach medspa, the costs of treatment with BOTOX® injections vary depending on the severity of your wrinkles and how many areas are being treated. Please note that to ensure our customer results and satisfaction, we do not charge by the area treated but by the number of BOTOX® units used. This practice ensures you only pay for the amount of Botox that is administered during your procedure. At our medspa, we dilute our Botox based on Allergan’s exact guidelines and never less or more than recommended, so that it remains safe to use. We want you to achieve the optimal results for the longest time possible, ensuring you are fully satisfied with your outcome. We want our patients to be happy, so they return to us for additional treatments and tell their friends about their positive experiences at our office.
If you would like more information about BOTOX® Cosmetic, or to find out whether this injectable treatment is right for you, contact us at our office in Newport Beach, Orange County, at 949-339-1032 to schedule an exam.