Most of you probably know what botox is and how it came about, and what it can do for you. In order to ensure it is most effective for you, it’s best to use certain precautions.
First of all, before having any sort of injectable (or deep laser) it is advisable not to have any blood thinner (aspirin), alcohol or Vitamin E for 2-3 days prior to treatment to avoid bruising. It is also advisable to remove all make-up before any of the treatments.
The injections shouldn’t hurt — but for the extra cautious people, you can apply ice or a light anesthetic cream before a treatment. Though, the only patient of mine who has ever needed that was my sister!
Before having the treatment, the doctor or nurse injector will explain all the potential risks and contraindications, take a detailed history of allergies and medications, and have you go through a consent form. Also, it is customary to take photographs of you smiling and squinting. It is amazing how people often forget what they looked like before the treatment and come in saying “I’m not sure if it worked.” Once they look at their photos from just two weeks ago, and they are always amazed.
The treatment will take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. I have been known to talk a lot, so it takes longer sometimes. In my quest to make patients comfortable and relaxed, I am now part botox doctor, part counselor, and part keeper of your secrets! The things I hear!
The cost of a treatment often ranges between $300-$700.
Once the treatment is done, the most important follow up rules are to make lots of facial movements for about 30 minutes (you should be good at that…that’s how you got those pesky lines!), and make sure not to lie down for 3-4 hours.
I advise my patients to avoid make up for a few hours and not to drink alcohol or take aspirin for 24 hours.
I find it very useful to suggest that patients examine their facial movements in the mirror for the next five days. For the first few days, they will see no change (and think…there goes another $500 I’ll never see again…) but on day 4 or 5, almost like magic they will see the lines soften and sometimes disappear. That’s it. They are hooked!
As you probably know, botox effects are temporary. That’s a good thing when you first have it because you think “even if it’s all a horrible mistake and I end up looking like a freak…its only temporary” but once you’ve had a treatment, the same blessing is a curse (it’s expensive to keep up).
But there is good news. It does last anywhere from 3 months to 6 months and each time you have it, it tends to last a bit longer. Also over time, I find for women who keep up with it…less and less is required. This makes absolute sense, as the muscles atrophy from not using them. Hey who knew, there would actually be something good about muscles going weak!
I recommend that my patients come in for a follow up after two weeks. At this visit, it may take a unit or two to fix any part of the muscle not quite relaxed.
Because certain muscles are being weakened, other opposing muscles can get too strong so sometimes this causes an upward pull on the eyebrow peak (called spocking – after Mr Spock in Star Trek). This can easily be fixed with a tiny bit of botox.
In the rare instance of developing a droopy eyelid as a side effect of botox, drops can be administered to counter that.
Overall botox is a relatively safe treatment, very effective and takes very little time to have. It has no downtime, rare and reversible complications and can give a very natural relaxed look, which is pleasing to everyone.