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Botox – is it for me?

Botox is originally a brand name of a medication called Botulinum Toxin A, manufactured by Allergan. Over the past few years, the use of botox has increased tremendously and eventually the brand name Botox has turned into a noun, even an adjective ie: OMG she is looks so Botoxed! Just like the word of the year last year, Botox is going to be the selfie of 2014! For ease of reading, we will refer botulinum toxin as Botox for the rest of this article.

What is Botox?

Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. In large quantities, it is actually lethal and this is why botulinum toxin should only be handled by a qualified medical doctor. Like fillers, there have been beauticians pretending to be doctors and injecting illegally acquired Botox. There are three forms of botulinum toxin type A (Botox, Dysport and Xeomin) available commercially for various cosmetic and medical procedures.

Cosmetic usage of Botox

Botox Glabellar

Notice the frown line miraculously vanish after Botox is injected

The cosmetic effect of botox on wrinkle was originally documented in 1989. After formal clinical trials on the safety of Botox for cosmetic procedures, the US FDA announced regulatory approval of botox to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines). Subsequently, cosmetic use of botox became widespread. The results of Botox can last up to four months but this may vary with each patient. Because of the unique way Botox is able to relax muscles, regular injection of botox can actually result in longer lasting effects. This means that patients who regularly inject Botox will notice that their injection intervals will get longer, and also their wrinkles will stay away. It also helps to prevent the formation of new wrinkles.

No matter how hard they try, there are no crows feet in a baby

No matter how hard they try, there are no crows feet in a baby

Imagine your shirt being crumpled up like a piece of paper. Repeat that action continuously. Eventually permanent creases and folds will appear. This is the same with your skin. If you look in the mirror now and smile as hard as you can, you might notice wrinkles at the sides of your eyes. These are called crows feet. Imagine if this went on for another few years, these lines will start to appear permanently at the side of your eyes even when you are not smiling!

Is Botox safe?

Botox injection is a safe procedure with each procedure involving only very few units of Botox. However, there are side effects which are generally minor and temporary.

  • bruising at the injection site – can be prevented by applying pressure to the injection site but if it still occurs, will last around 7 to 10 days.
  • inapproriate facial expression,
  • droppy eyelids
  • double vision,
  • uneven smile,
  • reduction of power to chew solid foods (if injected into masseter muscles)

These side effects are usually due to inapproriate use of Botox at the wrong locations and are usually temporary and will last up to 6 weeks from the time of injection. At the extremely low doses used, botox has a very low degree of human toxicity.

Individuals who are pregnant, have egg allergies or a neuromuscular disorder are advised to avoid Botox. Breastfeeding mothers should consult their doctors. While no data exists on the medical use of Botox during breastfeeding, one infant was safely breastfed during maternal botulism and no botulinum toxin was detectable in the mother’s milk or infant. Since the doses used medically are far lower than those that cause botulism, the National Library of Medicine LactMed Drugs and Lactation Database suggests that no special precautions are required.

How much Botox Do I Need?

When a patient comes to The Retreat Clinic for Botox injections, our doctor will first assess him/her to see how much botox does he/she need. Botox is delivered in dosages of units and a rough guide of how many units is required to treat common problem areas is illustrated below;

A rough guide to the dosage of Botox needed for common problem areas

A rough guide to the dosage of Botox needed for common problem areas

The effects of Botox are not immediate and patients will usually see the desired results after 10 to 14 days. We usually request the patient to come back for a follow up after 14 days to assess if the dosage injected was sufficient. We usually prefer to undertreat our patients and top up later rather than to overtreat and end up with mask like appearances.

So Is Botox For You?

Botox injection is effective and when performed by a medically trained doctor, you can be assured that the procedure is safe. A common misconception is Botox is only needed when a person reaches her late 40s or 50s. That isn’t true because clinical studies and case studies have proven that regular Botox use from a young age can effectively prevent the formation of wrinkles and thus prolonging a face of youth. When done in correct amounts/dosage, Botox can be very natural in results and will not cause mask like appearances.

Look out for our next couple of updates showing you that Botox can also be useful for treating non wrinkle problems such as a Gummy Smile and also a Square Jawline.

Never let age catch up to you 🙂

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