Absolutely. Botox (and competitors like Dysport, Xeomin and Jeuveau) 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 board-certified plastic surgeon Michael Kane, author of The Botox Book.
Basically, wherever Botox is injected in the body, it paralyzes the muscles underneath the skin. "Botox interferes with the nerve stimulation of the muscle causing excess facial expressions," Lancer explains. "When the muscle relaxes, the line diminishes."
In addition to relaxing frown lines in between the eyebrows, Botox can also lift the corners of the mouth that sag with age, smooth out the "pincushion" look in some chins, soften smoker's lines around the mouth, and soften vertical neck cords.
"Botox is not designed to remove facial expressions,” Lancer says. "It's designed to soften lines of excessive facial expression from squinting, frowning, and smiling." It does paralyze your muscles, but it will not affect the nerves that cause sensation, or make you feel numb. When it is used correctly, it can lift the brow to give an appealing and sincere look.
"But if too much is injected in the danger zone — the horizontal lines in the forehead — you can look Spocked, as in Spock from Star Trek," says Jean Carruthers, a Vancouver eye surgeon who, with her husband, Alastair, coauthored the first paper on the cosmetic benefits of Botox in 1989. That's why it's important to be treated by an experienced doctor who can judge the size of your muscles and how much Botox you will need.
Like most injections, Botox can be slightly painful, especially between the eyebrows. Some doctors offer topical anesthesia (aka numbing cream) 10 minutes before the procedure or ice the area to numb it. Because Botox treatment requires no anesthesia or recovery time, some patients even schedule appointments for Botox injections during their lunch hour and are able to return to work right after their appointment.
Every drug has side effects, and Botox is no exception. Potential side effects (in just 1 to 5% of cases) include mild droopiness of the eyelid or eyebrow, which usually goes away within two weeks, slight bruising at the injection area, and headaches. Some patients may experience bruising, swelling, redness or tenderness around the injection site. These side effects resolve on their own within a few days or up to a week following Botox treatment.
Everyone is different, so the answer varies from patient to patient. In general, "the results can be seen within four to five days, and [they] last for three to six months with no downtime or surgery, and little to no discomfort. Over time when facial muscles aren’t used, they eventually get shorter and smaller so regular use of Botox may extend the results for longer periods of time.
Is there anything I need to do to prepare for my Botox treatment?
Your provider may advise you to not consume alcohol or cease taking certain medications or supplements in the week prior to your treatment such as aspirin, ibuprofen, Gingko Biloba, or Ginseng, which are known to thin the blood. This will help minimize the potential side effects listed above.
Everyone is different, but generally, not too much. Results will usually begin to show within four to five days after the treatment, and there is no downtime, as well as little or no discomfort. After those first few days, results will continue to develop gradually over the course of two weeks.
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