With so many people opting out of cosmetic surgery in favor of non-invasive options, it's not surprising that simpler, less expensive options like Botox are accompanied by a sea of myths, misinformation and misunderstanding. An injection that relatively quickly smooths wrinkles with few side effects seems too good to be true, so what’s the catch?
It is widely understood that “Botox” used for cosmetic purposes is Botulinum Toxin A, a poison that (in high doses) is extremely lethal. However, we're often less informed about how injecting it into muscular tissue can, indeed, be safe and effective. Here are some of the questions we get most often from our clients looking into Botox:
1. So, are Botox injections dangerous?
The short answer here is No! Botox works by preventing the release of a neurotransmitter called Acetylcholine, which instructs muscles cells to shorten. The motor neurons that release these chemical signals, however, remain completely intact.
The saline-based Botox that you receive in a medical office is actually a heavily diulted version of a powdered Botox concentrate. Because the concentration is so low for cosmetic treatments, Botox can safely be used to achieve site-specific muscle paralysis without posing a threat to any other part of the body.
lthough Botox has minor and typically transient side effects for 1 in 3,333 cases (usually due to allergic reactions), you should still consult an expereinced physician prior to receiving Botox treatment, particularly if you have a preexisting medical conditions that affects motor function.
2. Will Botox will cause my face to sag?
The answer here is also no. First, your face has hundreds of interconnected muscles, only some of which make the facial expressions that cause skin to wrinkle. Although Botox will never cause the treated muscle to lose function indefinitely, repeated injections will weaken the muscles that cause expression-related wrinkles.
When injected by an experienced practitioner, Botox-related muscle weakening will have no negative effects on facial appearance and will decrease that amount of Botox required for subsequent treatment.
Second, not every muscle in your face works like those that allow you to raise and drop your eyebrows. Some muscles, like those treated with Botox when a person desires an eyebrow raise, actually pull down on the overlying skin.
3. If you get Botox too frequently you will become immune to it?
The chance of this happening is almost non-existent: in fact, only about 1% of the population receiving Botox injections develops antibodies that render subsequent injections ineffective. However, a majority of those who become immune receive Botox injections for medical purposes, which require a much higher dosage. Scientists have also recently engineered a newer form of Botox with a smaller “protein load” that decreases potential for the production of neutralizing antibodies.