by Dr Alek Nikolic
Whenever I see a patient for the first time and they have never had a cosmetic treatment before such as Botox®, I have always noticed that there will be a varying degree of nervousness, anxiety and even excitement.
If you are considering a Botox treatment and the above sounds familiar, then I am hoping this article will make the entire process less worrisome and a whole lot more exciting.
What is Botox intended for:
I think it is important for us to first understand what Botox is intended for and where and how it can be used. Traditionally Botox is used to treat wrinkles that are caused by muscles of facial expression. When we frown (a negative facial expression as this donates anger or disapproval) or smile or lift our eyebrows the skin tends to fold and over time will produce permanent indents in the skin that are visible at rest and are known as wrinkles. As our understanding and expertise with Botox administration has increased over the years it is now possible to treat almost the entire face and neck. So, Botox is not only indicated for wrinkle softening but also to help correct asymmetries in the face and even to help lift facial structures.
The Classic Treatment Areas for Botox are:
- Frown or glabella
- Forehead lines
- Crow’s Feet: outer lateral corners of the eyes
Other Botox Treatment Areas include:
- Lifting eyebrows
- Bunny lines (wrinkles on the side of the nose)
- Lifting the corners of the mouth
- ‘Turkey Neck': these are neck bands that relax as we age pushing the neck skin forward
- Lower Cheek Smile Lines
- Asymmetrical Smile
- Enlarged Clench Muscles: these are the muscles found along the border of the jaw
And many more which can be found on our Botox Treatment Page.
What to Expect with your first Botox treatment:
Every doctor has a different approach so I will write down what we do at our practice for every patient who comes to see me for a Botox treatment. To minimise any discomfort we always apply a fast acting and strong topical anaesthetic cream.
Every new patient undergoes an in depth medical history and I discuss with everyone what their concerns are and what the best treatment options are available. We also discuss the potential side effects and complications with Botox treatments before a consent form is signed so you are fully aware and understand the procedure.
From my experience with clients I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions which should provide you with further insight as to what to expect.
Is It Painful?
The quick answer is no but everyone has a different pain tolerance so the general feedback from patients is that they either feel nothing or some feel a mild discomfort. However, each treatment point takes less than a second so the treatment is 100% tolerable by everyone.
What Do I See Immediately After?
Small bumps on the skin will be visible at the treatment points and these are normal and will disappear within 30 minutes or less.
Where would you typically inject them?
Botox is typically injected into muscles to reduce their activity; the aim is to relax the muscle but not to completely stop all movement. We can literally inject the entire face, neck, chest, for cosmetic reasons but Botox is also used to control headaches, migraines, reduce excessive sweating, bladder problems, neurological conditions, pain syndromes, etc.
How long until you see results?
Botox can start to work within a few days but typically people will notice visible changes within 5 to 7 days and full effects are seen 3 to 4 weeks following the treatment.
How long do the results typically last?
For cosmetic effects the typical duration is 3.5 to 4 months but some people are unlucky and only get 2 months while other are extremely lucky and get 6 months.
At what age would you recommend starting (should you be so inclined)?
The time to start is dependent on the person but if one would like to never develop a line or wrinkle then the best time to start is before they appear or just as fine lines start appearing.
We do see patients in their twenties because of this but it is vital that if you start at this age that you see a doctor who uses Botox to relax muscles and not to completely immobilize or stop muscle movement so that a natural end result is achieved. Today we have the ability to treat someone who comes to see me and says I work on stage but need movement to show emotion all the way to someone who wants no movement. We should approach patients differently so that we tailor make the end result. By treating certain muscles and leaving others out and by changing the dose used we can achieve natural end results and provide a specific effect that suites each person.
What are the potential side effects?
Possible side effects include allergic reactions (this is extremely rare), swelling at the site of injection (which disappears within 30 minutes), and eyebrow and/or eyelid ptosis (drop) but this is directly related to the experience of the injector. Very rarely headaches, nausea, muscle weakness, and even flu like symptoms have been reported but this does not require treatment as the symptoms disappear fairly quickly.
If you don’t like the effect, can it be reversed?
Unfortunately, no as once the muscle nerve ending has been effected we need to wait for the effect to wear off which may take 3 to 4 months. So, the effect is temporary.
I hope you have found the above article interesting and helpful in not only deciding if you should have a Botox treatment but more importantly what to expect and how to improve your treatment experience. If you have questions which have not been answered above then feel free to leave a comment or contact our office so we can assist you further.
Our next Article on what to do and not do after a Botox treatment will follow next month. To stay updated and informed subscribe to our newsletter.