Fine lines, frown lines, how-did-those-get-there lines. Whatever you call them, a few minutes of Botox can smooth wrinkles on your forehead, in-between your eyes, and crow’s feet. This is a non-invasive FDA-approved treatment that requires zero downtime, so you can come in and erase those signs of aging on your lunch break. Using a very fine needle we inject Botox intothe facial muscles responsible for those annoying wrinkles, totally relaxing them and reducing their ability to contract. Don’t worry, you’ll be out the door and on your way to feeling refreshed and radiating confidence in no time.
Botox gained popularity and notoriety as a wrinkle reducer in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But it wasn’t long before researchers recognized the potential of Botox for treating medical conditions, too. Today it’s used to treat problems such as repetitive neck spasms, eye twitching, and overactive bladder. In 2010, the FDA approved Botox as a preventive treatment option for chronic migraines.
But for some conditions, step therapy can be downright harmful. In a 2016 op-ed in The Boston Globe, a patient with ulcerative colitis wrote that his health insurance forced him to try a cheaper treatment for six months, instead of the pricier meds his doctor wanted to prescribe. In those six months, his colon deteriorated so badly it had to be removed.
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.
The most common side effect of the BOTOX procedure for migraines is neck pain. In clinical trials, 9 percent of patients reported this side effect. Other side effects can include headaches or muscle pain, but these side effects are far less common. If you do experience neck pain, an ice pack can help you manage the discomfort until it dissipates. At Allure Esthetic, we will perform the BOTOX for migraines procedure carefully and correctly.
Still, there have been enough concerns that the FDA instituted a REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) requirement for all botulinum toxin preparations that specifically addresses the issues of distant spread of the toxin and the risk of problems, leading to death, from swallowing or breathing issues in certain patients who may be susceptible after botulinum toxin treatment. All products, including Dysport, Myobloc, Xeomin, and Botox, are monitored via this strategy. This is specifically aimed at a certain population of patients receiving more than the usual doses of botulinum toxin and not aimed at the casual user of Botox, per se.
Micropigmentation, or permanent makeup, is a procedure in which iron oxide pigment is injected into the dermis. This procedure can improve the appearance of thin eyebrows and lips and may be beneficial for those with makeup allergies. Swelling is common after the procedure. The patient may be instructed to apply ice and/or ointment to the treated area.
“Most people in their twenties decide to try Botox simply because they want to enhance their appearance, such as relaxing the muscles in their forehead, or because they want to keep their skin looking fresh and young,” Shah says. “Starting earlier is better than later because as the lines get more and more embedded into the skin, Botox is not as effective in eliminating the lines.”
It’s important to set up reasonable expectations for your Botox experience. “Botox does not get rid of all wrinkles on your face—it gets rid of wrinkles made from expressions,” Dr. Waibel explains. “It improves the appearance of these wrinkles by relaxing the muscles. It does not get rid of what we call static wrinkles—the ones that are seen at rest when looking in the mirror.” If those wrinkles bother you, talk to your dermatologist about the laser treatments that can help smooth them out. Find out the 13 craziest requests plastic surgeons have received.
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At the recent American Headache Society meeting in Washington DC, Allergan invested heavily in educating the board-certified headache physicians on the most effective injection sites and methods for Chronic Migraine patients. Find one here. Were I to repeat Botox for Migraine, I would absolutely find one of those Allergan-trained doctors and ask them exactly how many Botox for Migraine procedures they’d done.
I had no idea my health insurance could take Botox away from me. I checked Cigna’s policy and found out that in order to continue receiving Botox coverage after one year, I need to get at least seven fewer migraine days — or at least 100 fewer migraine hours — per month compared to pre-Botox treatments. (I keep a diary to record when I have migraines.) Worse still, if I were to change my job — and therefore change my health insurance — my new insurance could ask me to run through the cheap medication gauntlet again before covering Botox.
Unlike a face lift or other kind of invasive facial rejuvenation procedure, treatment takes minutes and requires zero downtime. Using a very fine needle, Botox is injected into the facial muscles that are responsible for unsightly wrinkles and fine lines and relaxes the muscles. The ingredients in Botox block the signal from the nerve to the muscle, and therefore reduce it’s ability to contract, and form unsightly wrinkles.
The American Migraine Foundation recently launched the American Registry for Migraine Research, or ARMR. ARMR collects information and biospecimens from patients living with migraine and other disorders that cause head pain. ARMR will be used to help health care providers and scientists better understand the causes, characteristics, and management of migraine and other headache types. Anonymized ARMR data will be made available to researchers who apply for access, enhancing the efficiency by which headache research can be conducted. Dr. Todd Schwedt, Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and co-principal investigator of ARMR, expands on the registry.
Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including: plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; have trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® Cosmetic can harm your unborn baby); are breast-feeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® Cosmetic passes into breast milk).