What is Botox?
Botox is one of the world’s most famous brand names. Since its approval by the FDA in 2002 for the treatment of wrinkles, Botox has been the most popular cosmetic procedure worldwide every year and is very popular in San Diego too. The reason? It works!
Botox temporarily reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the face by stopping the muscle contractions that create them. It is specifically injected into deep grooves along the forehead or around the corners of the eyes.
Botox injections do not require anesthesia and a treatment session can be completed in 20 to 30 minutes. There is no downtime and you can resume regular activities right after treatment. The effects of Botox can be seen after three to four days and typically last three to five months. Botox does not work on wrinkles caused by sun damage or the effects of gravity.
But it doesn’t work on all wrinkles. Botox targets what are called “dynamic” wrinkles. These are the wrinkles caused by the repeated muscle contractions we make with certain behaviors such as squinting. These wrinkles can be found on the upper third of the face — crow’s feet, the 11s, and forehead lines.
Botox has no effect, however, on the other type of wrinkle, the static wrinkle. These wrinkles are caused by sun damage, decreasing collagen production, and simple aging. They show themselves at all times, and are not triggered by muscle contractions.
What’s the difference between Botox and dermal fillers?
Botox (along with Dysport) are known as neuromodulators, meaning they block the nerve signal of a muscle whose contraction is causing a wrinkle to form on the surface skin above the muscle. As noted above, neuromodulators such as Botox only work on wrinkles that form from muscle contractions, dynamic wrinkles.
Dermal fillers, in contrast, work on static wrinkles, those wrinkles that have formed from sun damage or the breakdown of collagen and are always on display (compared with dynamic wrinkles that only show when the person performs the behavior like squinting or frowning). Dermal fillers, as their name implies, actually fill in the area beneath the wrinkle, plumping the skin and pushing it back upward. This fills the wrinkle and smoothes the skin.
There are basically two types of dermal fillers: natural or synthetic. Natural fillers are mostly made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in the body whose job it is to plump and keep the skin firm. Hyaluronic acid does this by binding with water molecules under the skin. Two popular hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are Juvederm and Restylane.
How does Botox work?
Botox is derived from the botulinum toxin type A, the same bacteria that cause botulism. Long ago scientists discovered that, when injected in very minute amounts, the botulinum toxin could temporarily paralyze a muscle, preventing it from contracting. It does this by blocking the nerve signals from the muscle to the brain. Originally Botox was used to treat conditions such as involuntary eyelid spasms.
But when it was approved to address the wrinkles that are formed by muscle contractions beneath the skin, Botox became a phenomenon. When injected into the muscle beneath a wrinkle, Botox blocks the nerve message, so the brain never receives the command to contract the muscle. And without the muscle contraction, the wrinkle on the surface doesn’t form. This continues for a period of four to six months. At that point the body eventually begins to absorb the now-inactive Botox. The muscles begin to contract again and the wrinkles return. At that point, another Botox session with Dr. Kearney is necessary to maintain your results.
See real result in our Before & After Gallery
Are there side effects with Botox?
A Botox session with Dr. Kearney doesn’t require any recovery. It’s often termed a “lunchtime procedure” for that reason. Some patients have very minor bruising at the injection locations and possibly slight redness. Headaches can develop, but this is very rare.
If the patient rubs the injection sites, this can cause the Botox to migrate to unwanted muscles. This can cause temporary drooping of an eyelid or other unwanted side effects. To head this off, patients are advised not to rub the injected areas for 12 hours after their session.
When will my results show and how long will they last?
Unlike the instant results with dermal fillers, Botox results aren’t immediate. This is because the Botox needs to work to stop the muscles from contracting. This can take from three to seven days to fully take hold. From there, your results last from four to six months, depending on the individual.
Is everyone eligible for Botox?
Allergic reactions to Botox are very rare, but patients can be tested ahead of time if they have a history. Otherwise, the injector is the most important variable, as injecting Botox into the wrong area can lead to side effects such as droopy eyelids when the Botox paralyzes an unintended muscle. That’s why you need to choose a doctor such as Dr. Kearney who is well versed in facial muscle anatomy and has performed hundreds of Botox injections.
For more information about getting Botox treatment in San Diego or La Jolla, give us a call at (858) 677-9352