Botox is an old familiar when it comes to cosmetic enhancement, even though it has not been around that long. It does not involve going under the knife or taking weeks to heal. In fact, you could get a boost during your lunch hour and go straight back to work if you wanted to.
Botox, a brand name for the chemical produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1990, according to Discovery Health. It was reportedly first used to treat eye muscle spasms, but its cosmetic potential became apparent when patients noticed the wrinkles around their eyes softening.
Now, Botox is used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles on all parts of the face. It has become a cosmetic treatment far more popular than the facelift, for instance, due to its non-intrusive nature and almost non-existent healing period. This does, however, also mean that the effect is likely to wear off and repeat doses are essential in maintaining the desired look.
Botox works by temporarily paralysing muscles and thus blocking nerve impulses. Injecting the substance into the target muscle stops it from contracting, therefore removing the movement that makes wrinkles visible.
It is most often used on the forehead and around the eyes, according to MedicineNet, and wrinkles caused by sun damage or gravity can not be treated this way.
Botox is administered through a small needle, injected into the target area. It only takes a few minutes, does not require any anaesthesia and usually takes between three and seven days to take full effect.
What are the down-sides?
Botox is not permanent. It usually takes between four to six months for the effect to wear off and for wrinkles to gradually re-appear. At this point, re-treatment is necessary to maintain the look.
Known side effects of the procedure are relatively minor. MedicineNet states that the patient can experience some bruising and a headache after treatment, both of which usually resolve within a couple of days. Some, such as Desperate Housewives’ Dana Delany, may also experience eyelid drooping due to the fluid’s migration, but this is also reported to go away within three weeks.
Those who have a neurological disease, are pregnant or breastfeeding are not advised to have Botox.
It is important to choose a qualified and experienced doctor to administer the injections and provide crucial advice, support and guidance.
One celebrity who has decided to steer clear of Botox is reality-TV star Kim Kardashian. Click here to find out why.
Images: VancouverLaser on Flikr and Wikimedia Commons