Pesky wrinkles, frown lines and annoying fine lines are all causes of widespread aging concern. However, worry not as a simple procedure lasting only a few minutes can easily take care of all these issues. Approved by the FDA, Botox injection is a non-invasive treatment with no downtime whatsoever. You can simply get in during lunch hour and get this quick procedure done.
What is Botox?
Botox a neurotoxin known as botulinum toxin is manufactured using the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and is the first FDA approved treatment for safely reducing the appearance of wrinkles, frown lines and crow’s feet temporarily.
Although there are other ways to reduce wrinkles appearance such as a face-lift or other injectable fillers, there all have significant down time and associated side effects.
What are the uses of Botox?
Botox is currently the most famous anti-aging treatment available through out the world. Botox was initially approved for usage to treat conditions such as blepharospasm and strabismus. Since the year 2002, the FDA approved the use of Botox for treating moderate to severe frown lines and wrinkles between the eyebrows. However, it is also used off-label in other parts of the face.
The underlying mechanism
As we age, repeated contraction of facial muscles causes wrinkles to form around the areas of maximum movement. Such lines mostly form in between the eyebrows, on the sides of eyes, and laugh lines. Botox is injected below the surface of the skin. It acts on the activity of the facial muscles by paralyzing their motion. While making facial expressions or while squinting our eyes, our facial nerves release acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. It is an essential chemical for facial movement as it binds with the muscle receptors and thus makes it contract. Botox binds to the receptors of acetylcholine and blocks the signals of the nerves from reaching the muscles.
The Botox injection doesn’t stop the release of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine still sends signals to the muscle to contract, however the receptors are unresponsive to the acetylcholine stimulation as it is already bound to the Botox molecules. This temporarily stops the muscles from contracting thus temporarily relieving frown lines and fine lines. After Botox is injected under the skin, it takes about 48 hours for the binding process to occur. Noticeable results are visible after about a week. Although most significant difference is visible on wrinkles that contract with muscles, smaller wrinkles unassociated with facial movements also show some degree of improvement.
Is Botox affordable for everyone?
The cost of Botox may vary in different clinics. The average price ranges from $250 -$400 for a session of Botox injections.
Does insurance cover Botox?
Generally speaking, most insurance companies do not cover Botox. Unless it is medically necessary, Botox costs do not fall under insurance coverage. However, different insurance companies have varying policies, you can consult with your insurance carrier regarding cosmetic coverage.
Results Of Botox Injection
Noticeable improvement will be clinically visible within 7 to 10 days. A before-after photo will show definite improvement in moderate to severe lines around the injected muscles. A Botox procedure alone will make superficial wrinkles disappear but deeper wrinkles will only become less deep and less prominent. Adjuvant treatments using HA fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane and Sculptra may be needed to further improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Furthermore, multiple treatments may be required for optimal desired results.
Does Botox have side effects?
While the results may be amazing, the side effects can be equally severe. Common serious side effect is paralysis of unintended muscles which may be life threatening. The Botox injection may be mistakenly injected into other areas of the face and paralyze other facial muscles. Paralysis of facial muscles can result in partial facial drooping, inability to make facial expressions and muscle weakness. In serious instances, muscle paralysis can cause difficulty in breathing, speaking and swallowing.
Apart from this, there can be other side effects not limited to paralysis. Other side effects include headache, flu-like symptoms and allergic reactions. Although the side effects can be disfiguring, the duration of the effects is similar to the duration of the treatment. The unintended paralysis is temporary and will be relieved within a few weeks. In some cases, injection of Botox into the masseter muscle can cause difficulty in chewing.
Another common side effect is temporary bruising that follows the Botox injection at injection site. Proper injection does not require any downtime. However, in cases of improper mode of injection, bruising, redness and swelling may follow post-treatment.
- It is FDA approved for treating wrinkles so it can be considered to be relatively safe
- It is highly effective in reducing the appearance of fine lines, crow’s feet and wrinkles between the eyes.
- The whole treatment duration takes only a few minutes
- Very little to no downtime
- Easily available and widely used
- Serious side effects such as facial muscle paralysis which may be life threatening
- Temporary effects lasting only a few months
- Optimal results can be seen only after 3-4 treatments
- Adjuvant treatments also required
- More costly than other alternatives for anti-aging
A much better alternative to Botox with similar mechanism is Argireline. It is rapidly gaining popularity world-wide as a potent anti-aging ingredient in many creams.
Argireline: What is it?
Argireline (Acetyl hexapeptide-8) is a synthetic chemical found as a component in many anti-wrinkle cosmetic products. It is made up of peptides, and is a fragment of SNAP-25, which is a substrate of Botox. Its action is similar to botox as it limits muscle movement and thus prevents wrinkles formation. However, the underlying mechanism is completely different from Botox. It doesn’t bind to neurotransmission receptors of muscles and simply inhibits reactions that cause muscle movement.
Argireline mostly comes in the form of creams and after it is applied and absorbed into the skin, the chemical reduces the force of contraction of the facial muscles. This in turn reduces the appearance of facial wrinkles and makes aging fine lines much smoother.
- More than 30 percent improvement can be seen in facial lines and wrinkles.
- Side effects are minimal in comparison to Botox
- Facial paralysis of unintended muscles is unknown
- It doesn’t require multiple visits to the dermatologist
- Simple daily at-home application can be done
- Extremely affordable and easily available
- The effects are not temporary and can be long term
- It also stimulates your body to produce increased collagen and give you a more plump appearance
- The effects may not be immediate as after a Botox injection
- The improvement may not be as significant as after a Botox injection