It’s hard to believe that anyone would pay for the injection of a bacteria that paralyzes facial muscles. But it’s certainly something millions of people do every year, and that number is growing: since the FDA approval in April 2002, my cell phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from patients questioning the pros and cons of Botox injections.
Although the desire for a more youthful appearance is generally greater in women than in men, even men have been found to be satisfied with their appearance after a visit to a dermatologist and a quick Botox facial beautification.
Most people think that Botox is “better” than a facelift for eliminating angry lines and frown lines. It is of course less expensive and the recovery time is minimal. Botox is so simple and convenient that it is also called the “lunchtime treatment.”
Many people are unaware that before it was popularized for cosmetic purposes, Botox was used in the past to treat a multitude of conditions. It has been used effectively to treat strabismus, blink disorders, skin diseases, and glandular and neurological disorders.
When the FDA finally approved the drug, a press release stated that Botox was to be used temporarily to improve “the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows.” In a randomized, placebo-controlled study, significant improvement or disappearance of anger lines between the eyebrows was observed within one month of Botox injections.
Why the controversy?
First, Botox is made directly from a deadly bacterial toxin, botulinum toxin type A, a protein complex produced by Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium known to cause severe food poisoning and even death. Injecting poison into the face may not seem like the smartest thing to do, but that’s how it works.
When Botox is injected into the face, it blocks acetylcholine receptors and interrupts the pathways that lead to the muscle contractions that control frowning. When used properly by a qualified physician, the results can be amazing. One teaspoon of Botox can already dramatically improve the disappearance of angry lines between the eyebrows.
Botox injections are usually performed in the doctor’s office. During the Botox injection, patients are asked to sit up straight and contract their facial muscles. It is then recommended not to lie down for 4 to 5 hours so that the treated facial muscles can return to their natural position during the day.
The effect lasts 4 to 6 months in most people, but each patient reacts differently.
Advantages and disadvantages of Botox
In the first part of this article, we explained the advantages of a Botox treatment. It is quick, less expensive than surgical procedures, minimally invasive and results are visible within days. It has been described as the perfect procedure in the cosmetic industry. Also, it is a multi-million dollar market, to say the least.
Now let’s look at the drawbacks of using Botox for cosmetic purposes. Any time a foreign substance, especially a drug, is absorbed into the body, there is a risk of side effects. These include flu-like symptoms, nausea, difficulty breathing, burning or stabbing pain, allergic reactions, and other facial pain. Botox also weakens the facial muscles involved in the injections.
It is also possible that there may be complications with current medications and that there may be effects on the fetus in the event of pregnancy. However, the possibility of such side effects is not clearly established at this time.
The main concern is that the person administering the injections may not be qualified. If Botox is not injected properly, the patient’s eyelids may droop for a week or more. The FDA insists that Botox injections must be sterile and performed by a qualified and certified facial aesthetician.
Is collagen a competitor to Botox?
Collagen is another popular cosmetic procedure, often used alone or in combination with Botox. It is used to fill in wrinkles and hollows on the face. Its effect lasts from 3 to 6 months. Collagen is produced from purified bovine collagen. But it can also be produced synthetically if one has tested positive for collagen beforehand.
The injections can be more painful than Botox and are very expensive. The procedure is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, similar to Botox injections.
If you think Botox or collagen injections are right for you. Always check the doctor’s credentials and ask lots of questions. Talk to your doctor about your concerns, decide what you want and give specific information about the results you want.
Weigh the pros and cons, consider the risks, and have full confidence in your doctor before undergoing the procedure. The good news is that the results are usually temporary. Also, the treatment is much less invasive than laser or surgical procedures. Ultimately, the choice is yours!
Sara is a freelance writer, linguist, and communications expert based in Southern Europe. At age 10, she read a book called “1001 Questions about the Human Body” and has since dedicated her life to breaking down the complexities and myths around the human body like Botox in Norwich treatment and the culture surrounding it, especially in relation to mental and physical health. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.