BOTOX is the brand name of a botulinum toxin type A, commonly used to relax muscles that create wrinkles and creases on the face, such as frown lines and crows’ feet. This muscle relaxant can also be used to treat ailments such as blepharospasm, strabismus and axillary hyperhidrosis. Cosmetic physicians have been using BOTOX since 2002 to enhance the facial features of patients, giving them a more youthful and vibrant look.
Each year, about one million BOTOX treatments are administered to both men and women who wish to look or remain young. Some youths have even turned to BOTOX as a preventive measure to ageing.
In the right hands, BOTOX can be used to accentuate the eyes and make the entire face more attractive.
Other brands of botulinum toxin type A approved in Singapore include Dysport and Xeomin.
How BOTOX works
Small, diluted amounts of the chemical is directly injected into muscles. The chemical will then block nerve signals to the muscles. The injected muscle would no longer be able to contract as forcefully, causing the wrinkles to relax and soften.
When an aesthetic physician performs a BOTOX injection procedure, they use a fine needle to inject the chemical into a specific region on the face. There is only minimal discomfort during the few minutes when the injection takes place, and no anesthesia is required. The process is quick and simple. Topical numbing cream may be applied in advance to minimise discomfort for those new and afraid of needle injection.
It takes about 3 to 7 days for the BOTOX injection to take full effect.
The most common side effect of a BOTOX injection is a temporary bruising at the injected areas. The bruising should go away in about 5 to 14 days. Some patients may also experience slight pain at the injected areas. Rarer side effects include headaches and drooping at the eyebrow or eyelid. To prevent unwanted side effects, do heed advice given by your aesthetic clinic physician.
However, it is important to note that the effect is not permanent. A BOTOX injection will last approximately 4 to 6 months. After which, the muscles will begin to tighten again, and wrinkles will re-appear. It is recommended that BOTOX is injected again, should you wish to maintain the effect. With each injection, these lines and wrinkles will appear less severe, as the muscles are trained to relax.
Also, not all wrinkles can be treated by BOTOX. Wrinkles created by sun damage and gravity will not respond to a BOTOX treatment. Do consult your doctor before proceeding with the treatment.
Patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a neurological disease or are allergic to the chemical components of BOTOX should not undergo a BOTOX injection.
It is highly recommended that patients get a BOTOX injection by a medical professional, who is better qualified in administering BOTOX with a lesser risk of unwanted side effects.