Botox treatments for wrinkle reduction and prevention have become increasingly popular and commonplace. Almost half of the nearly 14 million minimally invasive cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2014 were Botox injections, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Like coloring your hair or waxing your eyebrows, Botox has become a beauty basic, but how does Botox work?
Frown lines, laugh lines, and smile lines between the eyebrows, forehead, and around the eyes come from the skin pinching and stretching in response to the movement of the underlying facial muscles. Over time, when we’re repeatedly furrowing our brow when frowning or raising our eyebrows in conversation, those lines that appear with muscle contraction can become etched into the skin, causing people to look angry, upset, or surprised, even when they are not. When we stop the movement of the muscles under the skin, the skin has a chance to relax and the lines are softened and the appearance improved.
What is Botox?
Botulinum toxin is a protein that is derived from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum that temporarily prevents muscle movement. The protein works at the junction between nerves and muscles and prevents the nerves from transmitting the signal to the muscle to contract. Because of its effect on the nerve-muscle junction, botulinum is often classified as a neuromodulator.
The medical use of botulinum was developed in the late 70s to correct problems with the muscles that move the eyes. It was lucky coincidence when the ophthalmologists observed the improvement in the appearance of wrinkles around the brows and the forehead in the patients that they were treating for eye muscle disorders. In 2002, the FDA approved the use of botulinum to improve the appearance of moderate to severe wrinkles between the brows. Since this time, botulinum has also been approved for treatment of chronic migraines.
Botox vs. Xeomin vs. Dysport?
Currently, there are three different brands of botulinum available: Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin. Each of these different brands has slightly different properties but they are all effective. Chicago Dermatology and Cosmetic Center offers each of these and I personally customize each patient’s treatment based on their unique facial structure and concerns.
When should you start using Botox to treat your wrinkles?
The truth is that there is no right or wrong time, but the earlier the better to help prevent deep wrinkles from forming. After the treatment, it takes about 7 days to see the effects of Botox injections. The procedure itself is quick and the discomfort from the injections is minimal. The effects last about 3-4 months. The most important factor to consider when thinking about any cosmetic procedure is that an expert Board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon performs your treatment. A thorough consultation with an expert will help you achieve a natural look that improves your appearance and gets you closer to the skin you’ve been dreaming of.