Updated: Jun 17, 2021
The one thing that I have noticed since doing aesthetic medicine that has really surprised me is the fear most people have of botulinum toxin (AKA Botox)! So, I am going to break down the common misconceptions. But first, let’s clarify what “Botox” is exactly. Botox is a neurotoxin that comes from a bacterium, Clostridium botulinum (hence the name). The word Botox is used freely as a generic name in the aesthetic industry but there are different brands of the neurotoxin including Botox, Dysport, Jeauveau, and Xeomin. Its intended purpose is for prevention of wrinkles, but it is most often used on already existing wrinkles. Botox can help diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and is also used for hyperhidrosis (excess sweating) and prevention of migraines.
The biggest fear most people tend to have with neurotoxins is that they will look “frozen” or “fake.” I guess that is understandable when you have TV shows with all the Housewives walking around expressionless. Let me reassure you that whoever is doing those injections just wants extra money. In my experience, the only time I have seen “frozen” or “fake” faces is when the provider is using too much neurotoxin or is applying it too frequently. As the saying goes in medicine: “Always start low and work your way up.” I can always add more, but I can’t take any away. This is surely true with neurotoxins. As a matter of fact, having a touch up 1-2 weeks after your first session is pretty common. I’m sure you would rather have a small touch up two weeks later than be completely frozen and have to wait months for the effects to wear off. The purpose of neurotoxins is to get rid of wrinkles, but you should still be able to make facial expressions!
Another misconception is that once you get neurotoxins you will need it for the rest of your life. This is absolutely not true! Yes, continuing to get neurotoxins will help PREVENT wrinkles from getting WORSE but if you decide not to get neurotoxins anymore, then there is nothing to worry about. What I tell my patients is that your body will continue to age as it normally would without the neurotoxin. And using it once or twice will NOT worsen the wrinkles afterwards. So let’s say you try Botox once and don’t like it (but c’mon you know you will!) and don’t want to try it again... There’s the end of that. No strings attached. You go back to your normal life.
Now let’s break down two types of “wrinkles” on the face. There are dynamic and static lines. Dynamic lines are those that appear when we make facial expressions; when we smile, when we are surprised, when we are angry. Static lines are those that are present at rest. Neurotoxins work with dynamic lines. Unfortunately, neurotoxins will not work with static lines. In those cases, microneedling, PDO threads, and/or dermal fillers may be required. No worries... I'll make sure to make separate posts for these procedures as well.
I always coach my patients before they get neurotoxins, whether it is their first time or not. The procedure itself is quick and painless (you make feel a small poke). We can use ice or a beauty bar to mitigate the pain if you really need it. Little to no downtime afterwards. Hence why getting botox has gotten fame as being a quick “work lunch procedure.” I always tell my patients that we want to start with the smallest dose possible that will still produce great results. There is no need in flooding one area with so much neurotoxin. This is why knowing who is performing these procedures is so important. You need someone who not only understands the anatomy but knows that botox is a procedure that should be customizable to every patient. Not one person is the same.