One of the more obvious signs of aging is the appearance of wrinkles on the face. It can affect a person’s confidence, which can have an impact on many different facets of life. Luckily, this is also one of the easiest cosmetic issues to correct, and here at Murphy Plastic Surgery in Englewood, CO, we regularly treat this minor problem with Botox.
Because this treatment is generally safe, most people can have the same areas treated more than once. So if you’re unfamiliar with this minimally invasive therapy for reducing or eliminating lines and wrinkles, here’s an introduction to what it is and how often you can have it done.
What Is Botox?
Botox is the name brand for botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin that acts as a paralytic. It relaxes muscles by disrupting communication between the brain and nerves. It’s commonly used by dermatologists to help patients who want to look younger, as it’s capable of relaxing facial muscles that contribute to the appearance of wrinkles. While collagen production plays a major role in the formation of wrinkles and fine lines, muscle contractions in the face can make them appear more prominent with certain facial expressions.
Although this therapy is often used for cosmetic purposes, it’s also sometimes used to treat other medical conditions, such as migraines and excessive sweating. It’s normally injected directly into muscles or in the skin nearby, depending on the condition, and a single treatment session normally takes less than 15 minutes, though this too can vary.
How Often Can You Get Botox?
How frequently you decide to get injections depends on many different factors, such as your age, your metabolism, your aesthetic goals, and how long you’ve been receiving therapy.
In most patients, the results of this therapy last at least three to four months. This is also the recommended timeframe that you should wait for any repeated treatments due to safety reasons. Some people don’t schedule follow-up appointments until they start to notice the effects wearing off, while others like to stay on top of their treatments and schedule regular appointments every three months, whether they’re noticing reduced effects by then or not.
If you have a fast metabolism, then it’s much more likely that you will see the effects wear off sooner than later, as this medication can be metabolized by the body the same as any other. Other factors can also cause its effects to wear off more quickly, including stress, which can lead to stronger muscle contractions, a faster metabolism, and less collagen production.
Some people enjoy longer-lasting effects from Botox where they only need it once or twice a year. While this is relatively rare for those who are in their first year of treatment, having a slow metabolism is one factor that can contribute to this longer timeframe.
There’s also a phenomenon where some people’s bodies adapt to their treatments, as the muscles can naturally become trained to contract less with facial expressions. This is been commonly observed in those who have had treatment for more than two years, at which point many people reduce the frequency of injections from every three to four months to every six months instead.
What Conditions Can It Treat?
While this therapy is used to treat a variety of different health conditions, it’s especially popular for its use as an anti-aging treatment. Here at our practice, we regularly treat fine lines and wrinkles throughout the face based on our patients’ needs. The three most common types of wrinkles and lines we treat are:
- Forehead wrinkles
- Frown lines
- Crow’s feet
During your initial consultation with us, we’ll discuss your cosmetic goals and the areas you’re dissatisfied with. This helps us assess whether this treatment is right for you and also allows us to gauge how many neurotoxin units we should use for each area, so treatment is tailored specifically to your needs for the best outcome.
Pre and Post-Treatment Care
While every therapy session is a fairly quick one, the following are a few basic things you should do before and after your appointment to ensure you receive the best results:
Avoid Certain Medications
If you’re currently taking any blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, they should be avoided during the week before treatment. If these medications were prescribed to you by a doctor, you should speak to them about whether it’s safe or not to temporarily discontinue use. Blood thinning medications can increase the risk of bleeding after injections.
Refrain from Alcohol
You should also refrain from drinking alcohol on both the day of treatment and the days leading up to it. Similar to blood thinners, alcohol can affect your circulation and lead to an increased risk of bleeding. It’s also a vasodilator, so consuming alcohol before any injection can also lead to more bruising and swelling at the treated site.
Don’t Apply Makeup
Once you arrive for your appointment, we will need to sanitize the area to be treated using an alcohol swab. You should therefore not wear any makeup, as it will need to be removed before your therapy can begin. This is to ensure that the area is thoroughly cleaned beforehand to reduce the chance of infection.
Avoid Lying Down
You should not lie down for at least four hours after you’ve been treated, and this is both for safety and cosmetic reasons. While Botox is generally very safe, lying down directly after an injection increases the chances of the neurotoxin spreading to nearby areas, so you’ll want to stay sitting up for optimal results.
Don’t Rub Your Skin
After you’ve been treated, you may be tempted to touch or rub the areas where injections were made. For the same reason you shouldn’t lie down, you should also refrain from touching your face. Doing so can distribute the medicine to unintended areas if you haven’t allowed enough time for it to fully penetrate the target areas. This also means that you shouldn’t apply makeup until at least 24 hours have passed.
Wait to Exercise
It’s also a good idea to avoid exercise for at least 24 hours after each therapy session, though it’s perfectly okay to remain active and mobile. Because the treated area may be slightly sensitive or sore the first day, exercising can increase the risk of bruising. It can also reduce the effectiveness of the neurotoxin by contracting muscles or by increasing circulation, which can sometimes disperse some of the medicine away from the site of injection.
What Are the Benefits?
Aside from diminishing the appearance of pre-existing wrinkles, Botox also has preventative benefits. Both the reduction of collagen production that comes with aging and muscle contractions associated with facial expressions contribute to the formation of wrinkles. When you remove one of these factors, wrinkles are less likely to appear.
Since this therapy reduces muscle contractions, it can also prevent some wrinkles from forming. For this reason, many people prefer to schedule injections periodically throughout the year as a preventative measure, long before any wrinkles have developed.
Compared to many other skin care therapies, this is one of the safest because it’s minimally invasive. Very few anti-aging treatments can be done as quickly and easily as Botox can, and this is largely due to the fact that it doesn’t require surgery or other invasive approaches. This treatment has been used by dermatologists for quite a long time now and the FDA has approved it for many areas of the face.
In addition to choosing which areas of the face or body you’d like treated, Botox can also be targeted to precise areas in other ways. The number of neurotoxin units used in each session can be increased or decreased based on your cosmetic needs. While we typically start with a small amount, as this is all that most patients need, we can use more if there’s a minimal response the first time or if we need to treat a larger area.
Schedule Your Consultation
Botox treatment is an effective, minimally invasive solution to the aging process. We understand how wrinkles and fine lines can affect one’s confidence, which is why we’re here to answer all your questions and to ensure you’re comfortable during your appointment. Contact us today at Murphy Plastic Surgery in Englewood, CO to schedule a consultation and get ready to love your appearance again.