While how long Botox® lasts varies from person to person, we typically see it last anywhere between 3-6 months, with an average of 4 months.
Botox® is one of the most popular treatments against aging and wrinkles, and it has been used by physicians and other licensed healthcare providers for many years now.
The reasons behind its popularity are not difficult to understand: Botox® is very efficient, delivers quick results and is relatively inexpensive.
But how does it work and how long does it really last?
Botox® is a brand name for the neurotoxin botulinum, which is produced by a bacterium called clostridium botulinum.
While the botulinum toxin is one of the most potent toxins known to mankind, can cause severe paralysis, and has a very low lethal dose, its paralyzing effect is often also used in esthetic treatments.
Botox® basically blocks the transmission of the signals from the nerves to the muscles, which in turn causes mild muscle paralysis.
Since the muscle that has been injected with Botox can no longer contract, this in turn makes the wrinkles relax and soften, which makes them appear less obvious.
Botox® is used in many fields of medicine, although it is most widely known for its use in cosmetic treatments for wrinkles.
It is most often used on forehead lines, lines around the eyes, lines around the lips and the corners of the mouth, frown lines, chin, and neck.
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Botox®is not permanent, and the effects of Botox last between three and six months on average.
The exact duration of results depends on several factors, such as the dosage, the application, the anatomy of the patient, and the area that was treated with Botox®.
For example, Botox® injections around the eyes tend to last a little shorter, first time users tend to experience Botox® wearing off more quickly, and men usually need more frequent Botox® shots than women.
In any case, a Botox® treatment should last longer than just a couple of weeks.
After that, the muscle action gradually starts to return, which means that the lines and wrinkles begin to reappear.
Once Botox® starts to wear off, and the results are no longer visible, repetitive treatments are always an option.
Repetitive treatments don’t only provide the same results once again; they can actually bring improved results over longer periods of time.
While the direct effects of Botox® only last for a limited period of time, long-term use of Botox can have some permanent effects.
Regular use of Botox® can prevent wrinkles from getting worse in the long run, which can significantly improve their appearance.
Since Botox®, if administered correctly, can limit the range of facial muscle movement, it also prevents the wrinkles from becoming deeper or more obvious.
At the same time, regular administration of Botox® can help relax facial muscles, so the patients need lower doses or even less frequent treatments to maintain the same results.
Botox® is a very reliable treatment; however, sometimes it just doesn’t deliver the results we are after.
In those instances, it is important to find the causes why Botox hasn’t worked as anticipated so that we can improve the process with future administrations of Botox®.
First of all, it is important not to judge the effects of a Botox® treatment prematurely.
Although Botox® does work quickly, it sometimes needs a couple of days to work and the best results are sometimes visible only after a week or even two.
Before jumping to any conclusions, wait a while and see what happens.
If even after this period the results of the Botox® treatment still aren’t showing the anticipated results, there can be many causes for this.
The problem could be the Botox® itself: perhaps the solution was too diluted or you used too little of it.
The problem could be the wrinkles: those caused by sun and gravity do not respond as well to Botox®.
However, the problem could also be with the patient: some patients’ anatomy requires unusual administration while others may have some tendency to be resistant to Botox® and don’t get the anticipated results.
When a facial muscle becomes overactive, it results in the appearance of lines or wrinkles in the overlying skin. These wrinkles appear at 90 degrees in the direction in which the muscle fibers run. Injection of Botulinum toxin A into such muscles inhibits the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles, causing the muscle to relax. As the muscle relaxes, the wrinkles in the skin disappear resulting in a smoother, flawless look.
The procedure elicits minimal pain owing to the fact that the needles used for injecting Botox® have quite small a caliber. Even then, a topical anesthetic (a numbing agent) is administered in order to eliminate the pain.
The application of cold packs for 10-20 minutes is another way of achieving the same effect. Alternatively, vibration anesthesia can also be used which employs massage techniques to lessen the pain. The person might feel a slight degree of discomfort once the effects of the anesthetic subside.
A lot of people, especially first-time clients, are gripped with anxiety before and after the Botox® treatment. Fear of what’s to come their way makes every prospective patient apprehensive.
Before going for Botox® cosmetic procedure, patients should do their homework and choose an expert and credible doctor. Make an appointment to discuss all the pros and cons of getting Botox injections and discuss medical history.
Patients must advise their healthcare provider of any recent similar cosmetic treatment and also if they are taking any sort of muscle relaxants, sleeping medications, blood-thinning drugs or medicines for any allergy.
Before the procedure, a numbing agent is applied to reduce the pain at the injection site via topical anesthetic gels or injections, ice packs or by vibration anesthesia.
The procedure is carried out by a trained doctor, or another licensed healthcare provider like a nurse or physician assistant. During the administration of Botox® injection, a very small needle is used to inject Botulinum A into the muscle that they want to relax.
The number of injections that are given depends on the size of the affected area. The entire procedure takes an average of 10 minutes to be performed.
The Botox® patients can return to their daily life activities immediately following the treatment which is why Botox® has come to be known as the “lunchtime” cosmetic procedure.
The onset of the action of the Botox® injection occurs within 2-4 days. Botox® results attain their optimal level 10-14 days after the procedure.
Some of the potential side effects that might develop following Botox® cosmetic treatment include:
The more serious side effects associated with Botox® medical procedure which warrant immediate medical attention include:
Botox® injections help in preventing the onset of wrinkles. In fact, Botulinum toxin has been used for more than two decades to combat visible signs of aging in people, in a variety of age groups.
While Botox® treatment is usually administered after signs of aging have already appeared, preventative Botox® is a treatment that starts before wrinkles and fine lines appear.
Preventative Botox® is using Botulinum Toxins during the initial stages of development of fine lines and has the power to stop the aging process from the get-go.
Therefore, anyone who detects even the faintest lines in their face is the ideal candidate for preventative Botox®. This is why people in their 20’s and early 30’s are often thought to be the ideal candidates for Botox® treatments.
The benefit of preventative Botox® is that it ensures that the process of fine lines is frozen altogether at a younger age.
This way, there will be fewer fine lines to deal with even as you get older. Patients who opt for preventative Botox® early on, require fewer Botox® treatments over the years compared to those who get the procedure after the onset of wrinkles and fine lines.
Botox® works by targeting the muscles that help a person with their facial expressions. Botox® helps in blocking the nerve signals relayed to these muscles.
Wrinkles occur because of the repetitive movements of the muscles. When patients receive Botox® injections, the procedure restricts facial expressions, thereby preventing wrinkles.
Botox® works by relaxing the muscle present underneath the skin. By blocking nerve responses, it will prevent further wrinkles from being formed while also smoothing out any fine lines that may persist.
Signs of aging begin appearing at different ages for different people. While some skins are prone to getting wrinkles in the late ’20s, some people don’t exhibit even the slightest signs of aging even in their 30’s.
The point of opting for preventative Botox® is to avoid the onset of lines and wrinkles altogether.
However, the question arises: what is the right age to start preventative Botox®? Is it better to get it in your early 20’s? Or should you wait till your 40’s?
It turns out that there is no ideal age in getting preventative Botox®. The right age depends on what results you are expecting from the treatment.
For instance, let’s say a given patient has had a lot of skin damage due to the sun.
Such people will prefer to start their treatment early, to ensure that their skin doesn’t undergo any more damage. Other people might sport skin types that are smooth enough for them not to require preventative Botox® treatments until their 40’s.
Therefore, no one age can be deemed as being ideal for getting the treatment done.
It will depend on what results the patient wants; the skin type he or she has and what the healthcare professional deems as being the right procedure for the skin at the time of the consultation.
A healthcare professional will take into account factors like skin type, lifestyle, history of sun damage, and patient personality to judge whether the age is right for the treatment or not.
A lot of people choose preventative Botox® treatment in their early or late 20’s. At this age, many people have wrinkle-free and smooth skin.
People have the luxury to spend their energy and time on protecting their skin from the sun by using the right products or going out at the safer times of the day. Such people don’t require much Botox® early on.
However, patients who have genetics that lead to them developing wrinkles in their 20’s or those who prefer getting their fair share of suntans might want to get Botox® in their 20’s.
In the ’20s, most types of skin require “Baby Botox®.” This means that the dose administered is much less than the one required for standard treatment.
Generally, wrinkles in the ’20s appear when one frowns, squints, or smiles. They might not persist beyond the facial expressions and are often known as dynamic wrinkles.
Others may develop early signs of aging because of their lifestyle.
For instance, patients who either expose their skin to the sun or smoke a lot tend to get wrinkles early on.
This is because smoking cuts down the oxygen received by the skin. It causes dryness and plays a role in reducing blood circulation to the skin.
Since the age bracket of 25-34 signifies 20 percent of smokers, a lot of people might find themselves with prematurely aged skin in their 20’s. And these are the people that should consider getting Botox®.
The ’30s is an age where the faintest of wrinkles and fine lines begin to appear.
While most females still have at least a few more years before the wrinkles become deep and etched, the fact remains that the initial signs start being exhibited early on.
These fine lines are no longer dynamic in nature. Instead, they remain even when a person is not making a facial expression. Common areas for the aging signs to occur are the brows and the eyes.
Botox® helps combat the issue of aging by stopping the muscle from creating expressions that further deepen the wrinkles.
For instance, when people frown, vertical lines are formed between the brows which become deeply set with each frown.
Since Botox® restricts facial movements, it stops such habitual expression from causing harm to the skin.
Starting treatment in the ’30s is the ideal option for those who either are regular smokers or live in areas that are higher up in altitude. In most cases, wrinkles and fine lines do begin to appear when a person enters their 30’s.
This occurs regardless of how much you care for your skin. But, people who expose their skin to the sun without proper protection or indulge in smoking are much likely to get wrinkles during their early 30’s.
People who fall into these categories should consider starting Botox® in their early 30’s, as a preventative measure.
The ’40s and beyond is an age when most people do get wrinkles and fine lines. And these lines are quite defined by age.
This is because, by the time a person hits 40, their skin begins to get thin, and the collagen in the skin begins breaking down. This is a natural aging process that cannot be avoided.
This is the ideal time for getting Botox®. However, one can’t dub the process as being preventative anymore since this is the age when the wrinkles are visible to the naked eye.
If you can see that the fine lines have etched into your skin and remain visible even when you stretch the area with your fingers, know that it is time to seek treatment to rectify the issue.
Even though people in their 40’s are bound to have signs of aging, some people have more prominent wrinkles than others.
Here lifestyle plays an integral role. Stress, consumption of alcohol, and smoking all further exacerbate the occurrence of wrinkles.
People who drink alcohol on a regular basis and can detect the dehydration their skin is going through as a result of it are the best candidates for Botox®.
Others who lead a stressful life and wish to look energized are equally suited for the treatment.
All in all, after 40, anyone who wishes to reduce their already present wrinkles will serve as the perfect candidate for the procedure.
This is because this is the age where no skincare routine or anti-aging cream can ultimately combat the onset of wrinkles.
This is especially observed in the frown lines, forehead lines, and around the eyes.
Botox is a trademark of Allergan Inc.