Not much. Results begin to show in a couple of days and develop gradually over the course of two weeks. "I tell anyone preparing for a big event to have shots two weeks ahead of time," says Kane. Some observers believe Dysport sets in faster than Botox, but that has not been proven in a study. Patients taking medications that contain aspirin or NSAIDs can develop pinpoint blue bruising. Patients can wear makeup immediately but should avoid heavy workouts for 24 hours, says Carruthers.
Botox only lasts three to six months—and yet what's less commonly discussed is this: Facial muscles naturally weaken over time and going overboard in a certain area could have unwanted consequences. "If you do too much Botox on your forehead for many, many years, the muscles will get weaker and flatter," cautions Wexler, adding that the skin can also appear thinner and looser. Moreover, as your muscles become weaker, they can start to recruit surrounding muscles when you make facial expressions. "If one stops using their forehead muscles, they may start squinting using their nose and have wrinkles along the side of their nose," she explains. Translation: You need even more Botox for the newly recruited muscles, says Wexler. To avoid these kind of missteps, researching a doctor diligently is essential, as is approaching injectables conservatively, and asking questions about how the treatment will be tailored to your needs.
Side effects from therapeutic use can be much more varied depending on the location of injection and the dose of toxin injected. In general, side effects from therapeutic use can be more serious than those that arise during cosmetic use. These can arise from paralysis of critical muscle groups and can include arrhythmia, heart attack, and in some cases seizures, respiratory arrest, and death. Additionally, side effects which are common in cosmetic use are also common in therapeutic use, including trouble swallowing, muscle weakness, allergic reactions, and flu-like syndromes.
So let's talk about it, shall we? And before we do, let's also get one thing out of the way—I've had Botox. And it was free. As a result, I've found myself trying to field questions about the price and popularity of certain treatments, and many times my knowledge on the subject comes up short. To remedy that fact, I decided to do some research into the real, unexaggerated pricing for injections and what each formula and technique will actually do to your face. Below find the answers you may have been looking for but didn't feel comfortable asking.
Think about it this way: people make facial expressions every single day, whether it's expressing an emotion (i.e. smiling) or simply out of habit (i.e. raising your brows). Making facial expressions causes temporary dynamic lines to show up in your face. These lines go away when your face returns to rest. However, as you continue to make facial expressions, day after day and year after year, and as your skin ages, these lines start to get etched in your skin. That's when frown lines get progressively deeper for people who frown all the time. Or when crow's feet stay put even after you stop smiling or squinting. Eventually, what once were dynamic wrinkles become wrinkles that are just there, even when you don't make any facial expressions.
Absolutely. Botox (and competitors like Dysport and Xeomin, which will be widely available next January) are highly purified toxins that can temporarily erase or reduce horizontal forehead lines, vertical frown lines, and crow's-feet. "The injections slow muscles that contract hundreds of times a day, eventually etching lines in the skin," says New York City plastic surgeon Michael Kane, author of The Botox Book (St. Martin's Press). Botox can also lift the corners of the mouth that sag with age, smooth out the "pin cushion" look in some chins, soften smoker's lines around the mouth, and soften vertical neck cords.
When I wean patients off of treatment, I do not change the dose but rather delay the treatment cycle to 16 weeks and monitor headaches in the last 4 weeks. If the patient remains well-controlled, I increase the treatment window to 20 weeks, and so on. I use this method to establish the level at which patients need reinjection to prevent breakthrough headaches.11-13
“I don’t think it is physically addictive,” says Dr. Matarasso. “But, I have to be very frank with you, when I get a new patient I tell them (and I say this tongue-in-cheek) this product is truly addictive. I make jokes with my patients that we need a 12-step program for it, because when it’s done correctly, it’s a very simple office procedure, with impressive cosmetic results.”
It can also be expensive. Depending on your insurance, it can cost quite a lot of money — I've changed insurance providers since I first started, and my first provider was around $330 a month and charged me around $1,000 per Botox round (remember, that's four times a year). My new plan is much more expensive, around $600 a month, but the Botox copay is only $30 each time, so even if Botox is the only medical procedure I need to have done in the year, it made sense to switch.
The range of prices for a single unit of Botox range between $10 and $20 per unit. But the total cost of Botox treatment depends on exactly what you're trying to achieve. For example, the cost of treating horizontal forehead lines may range anywhere from $300 to $700 depending on the factors mentioned above. For other facial areas you may need fewer units.
"There is a difference in pricing based on the duration of the results," says L.A.-based injection specialist Lisa Goodman. (FYI: She's incredible, and I emphatically recommend seeing her if you're in L.A. or Dara Liotta, MD, if you're in NYC.) "The longer-lasting formulas cost more upfront. Shorter-term fillers can last from six to 11 months based on the patient's rate of aging (i.e., smoking, drinking, sun exposure, genetics), while the longer-term fillers last about one to two years."
A placebo-controlled, double-blind post-approval 52 week study with BOTOX 100 Units (Study NDO-3) was conducted in non-catheterizing MS patients with urinary incontinence due to detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition. Catheterization for urinary retention was initiated in 15.2% (10/66) of patients following treatment with BOTOX 100 Units versus 2.6% (2/78) on placebo at any time during the complete treatment cycle. The median duration of post-injection catheterization for those who developed urinary retention was 64 days for BOTOX 100 Units and 2 days for placebo.
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"Botox is a toxin that is extracted from a certain bacteria. It's been used for a couple of hundred years in medicine. It was first used in neurological conditions rather than cosmetic ones. It was first approved to treat spasms of the face and eye muscles. Only later was it discovered coincidentally that it could world for cosmetic purposes, like wrinkles," he says.
It's safe to say that the mouth is the clearest giveaway of work done too early. Youthful lips tend to have substantial volume and turn up naturally at the corners, meaning the best strategy for flattering them often comes down to a good signature lip color. For women who remain self conscious about the size or symmetry of their lips—think a slightly lopsided appearance, for instance—Botox can be injected into the orbicularis oris muscle along the lip line as an alternative to lip fillers. "When certain individuals smile, the lip flips in and they lose that upper volume," says Dara Liotta, a New York City-based plastic and cosmetic surgeon. "This relaxes the outer layers of the circular muscle around the lips and looks much more natural than filler." Additionally, injections along the jawline—or more specifically, the masseter muscle—have risen in popularity to relieve stress-induced jaw clenching and have also been known to refine the area. "A lot of people hold tension in the jaw area and when you relax that muscle, the chin comes out of the shadow of your lower lip,” explains Liotta. But the best advice of all? Forget about those self-perceived imperfections and smile. You're only in your '20s once.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: bleeding problems, eye surgery, certain eye problem (glaucoma), heart disease, diabetes, signs of infection near the injection site, urinary tract infection, inability to urinate, muscle/nerve disorders (such as Lou Gehrig's disease-ALS, myasthenia gravis), seizures, trouble swallowing (dysphagia), breathing problems (such as asthma, emphysema, aspiration-type pneumonia), treatment with any botulinum toxin product (especially in the last 4 months).
Cornea problems have been reported. Cornea (surface of the eye) problems have been reported in some people receiving BOTOX® for their blepharospasm, especially in people with certain nerve disorders. BOTOX® may cause the eyelids to blink less, which could lead to the surface of the eye being exposed to air more than is usual. Tell your doctor if you experience any problems with your eyes while receiving BOTOX®. Your doctor may treat your eyes with drops, ointments, contact lenses, or with an eye patch.