When someone says they get Botox they may actually be referring to one of the 4 related injectables on the market: Botox, Dysport, Jeuveau, or Xeomin. They are all botulinum neurotoxins that smooth out wrinkles and prevent muscle contraction but there several misconceptions about how that happens.
Many people confuse fillers with neurotoxin – both are injectables that treat lines and wrinkles. Neurotoxins are paralyzing agents that stop the transmission of electrical impulses from nerve endings to muscles. This means that the muscle can’t contract normally. When you can’t move the muscle, the expressions you make with your face can’t create the fine lines and creases that etch in over time. The nerve paralysis doesn’t happen overnight although we wish it could. It typically takes 5-14 days from the day of injection for the product to take full effect and see visible results. The most common areas Botox is injected cosmetically are the forehead, frown lines, crow’s feet, chin cobblestoning, and the masseter (clenching) muscle. The effects usually last about 3 months or maybe longer with consistent use.
Just because you can’t make full expressions while the product is working, any etched lines created in the past from repeated folding will remain visible on the skin but appear much softer. Botox doesn’t get rid of lines, it prevents further creasing and helps smooth out lines on the face.
There are risks of course. Aside from bruising (which is an effect of the injection and not the product) the most common side effect is ptosis, or drooping, of the eyelids.
Interestingly, there are many medical uses for these neurotoxins. These include migraine headaches, underarm and palm sweating, bladder disorders, TMJ in the jaw, and spasms of the eyes.
Botox et al. continue to provide a lot of bang for the buck and can achieve the appearance of smoother skin faster and easier than other antiaging procedures.