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Seven things you need to know if having Botox for the first time

If you have been thinking about having a Botox treatment then here are seven important things you need to know from Dermatologist Dr Martin Wade.

Botulinum toxin (Botox) is a neuromodulator which blocks the transmission signals from the nerve endings to the muscles resulting in localised inactivity of the selected muscles. It was first used for cosmetic purposes in the late 1980s but since then has become mainstream and the number of people having Botox each year has steadily increased. BOTOX® is actually a brand name for the original toxin used for cosmetic treatments and distributed by Allergan. There are now a number of different brand products out in the market. Botox plays an important role in an anti-ageing program for many men and women.

1. Is Botox safe?
Yes. Botulinum toxin has now been used for over 20 years for cosmetic purposes with over 6.3 million injections per year in the United States alone. We therefore know that botulinum toxin if used correctly is a very safe treatment with minimal side effects.

2. Am I too young to have Botox?
Patients usually start having Botox in their late 20s or 30s. Some younger people who have very strong, expressive muscles and are constantly frowning start getting permanent creases in their skin and so as long as they are over 18 could be suitable for Botox injections.

3. Is Botox painful?
No. A very small needle is used to inject the botulinum toxin to specific areas under the skin to reduce the movement of the underlying muscles.

4. Are there any side effects from Botox?
Yes. Because we are injecting underneath the skin it is possible to get a bruise with this procedure. The bruises are small and heal quickly. In experienced hands it is a very safe and predictable procedure but we sometimes see heavy foreheads, a frozen look or a droopy eyelid if Botox has been performed by someone who does not understand the underlying facial anatomy.

5. How long do the effects of Botox last for?
Botox takes approximately three days to start working and the maximal effect is seen at the two-week stage. The effect on the muscles generally lasts up to 3 months however if the muscles are very strong or if only a small dose of Botox is used the effects wear off sooner. With repeated use the muscles tend to weaken and the effects from the Botox lengthens to some extent.

6. How do I avoid the Botox frozen face look?
Just as fashions change, so do cosmetic treatments. In London it is more popular for people to want a subtle result from their Botox treatments where they still have an expressive face, rather than a frozen face look. A skilled medical practitioner will deliver an individualised Botox treatment plan which is quite sophisticated giving you the degree of movement desired.

7. What do I do if I’m interested in Botox but I’m still not sure if Botox is for me?
I’d recommend that you make an initial “no-commitment” appointment to discuss Botox treatments with an experienced medical practitioner or aesthetic advisor who can spend time with you explaining the procedure in further detail and answering your questions. When starting out “less is more”. A subtle change with your first treatment allows you to become more used to and confident with the treatment. With a good Botox treatment friends and family members should be commenting that you are looking “fresh” rather than asking “have you had Botox?”

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