Botox® is a neuromodulator that is a derivative of Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that is found naturally in many settings including the soil, lakes, forests and even in the intestinal tracts of certain animals. While botulinum is generally harmless, under certain conditions the bacterium can produce toxins that are harmful. Since the 1980s, Botox® has been used successfully in therapeutic treatments.
How does Botox® work?
Some wrinkles, such as crow’s feet, forehead lines, or wrinkles around the nose and mouth, are caused by repetitive muscle movements. In small concentrations, Botox® is safe to inject into humans, temporarily preventing the nerves from communicating with muscles thereby “freezing” them. Because this treatment does not damage the nerves, once the neuromodulator wears off, communication between the nerves and muscles will be restored. In general, patients who receive Botox® injections will get them every three to six months. With an estimated six million treatments administered each year, Botox® is one of the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatments and is expected to continue to rise in its popularity.
What is Preventative Botox®?
Most adults in their early twenties rarely think about fine lines and wrinkles, it’s a topic generally reserved for older patients. However, since the advent of Botox® treatments in the 80s, many practitioners have discovered that with extended use, the frequency of treatment lessens over time. It is believed that with consistent use, Botox® can actually retrain the muscles.
When we look in the mirror, we can observe how our face reacts to the many facial expressions we use in our daily lives. Smiling will result in lines around our mouth and nose while frowning causes deep lines on our foreheads and in between our eyes. Once the expression is dropped, the lines we noticed should disappear. However, as we age our skin becomes less elastic and begins to weaken making its ability to bounce back less effective. In essence, the lines become more and more noticeable despite having a relaxed facial expression.
After Botox® treatments, positive results can be seen for up to six months. However, over time the muscles’ natural tendency to return to the pre-treatment condition is lessened resulting in smoother skin for longer intervals. Additionally, with the precise placement, Botox® can be used to encourage the muscles to age more evenly. Muscles that are pulling in an unwanted direction are targeted allowing for opposing muscles to pull in the opposite direction, thereby becoming stronger. This preventative regime can be used to prevent the muscles from constricting and wrinkling overlying skin altogether.
Botox® is administered directly into the targeted muscle with an ultrafine needle. The procedure is virtually pain-free, but some patients do liken it to the sensation of a bug bite. Generally, Botox® injections take about 15 to 30 minutes depending on the number of areas treated and patients are able to return to normal activities immediately afterward. Though some results can be seen within a few days, the full effect can take up to two weeks.
During your consultation, Dr. Zochowski will thoroughly examine your facial structure, skin laxity and quality, and the degree of wrinkling. The need for preventative Botox® can usually be determined by careful examination. With your goals and expectations in mind, an individualized care plan will be designed to achieve the greatest results.
Is Prevention Botox® worth it?
Patients in their mid to late 20’s who have noticed the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles when the face is at rest are the best candidates for Prevention Botox®. Those without “resting” wrinkles should consider other skin care measures such as not smoking, drink plenty of water and the use of sunscreen and retinol. In most cases, the earlier treatment is begun, the longer you can enjoy smooth, youthful-looking skin without the aid of surgical enhancement. Although multiple Botox® injections can “retrain” muscles and extend the effects of treatment, it is not permanent. Once treatment has stopped, the muscles will eventually return to their pre-treatment position and the effects of aging skin will become noticeable once again. With the early use of Botox®, extensive surgical treatment can be postponed for many years.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Don’t wait for the signs of aging to appear before you do something about it. Contact Zochowski Plastic Surgery today to schedule your consultation. Dedicated skin care professionals are waiting to work with you. (614)604-7820