Botox: what is it and is it dangerous? Pros and cons of botox treatments

Botox: what is it and is it dangerous?

Nowadays, you often hear how people have used botox in order to get rid of unwanted wrinkles. Apparently, 3 out of 4 users are satisfied enough to recommend it to others. As a matter of fact, botox has become so popular, there are even so-called 'botox parties' in which the guests all receive injections while having a drink and bite.

Although botox was approved for medical use almost 30 years ago in 1989, it was only approved for cosmetic treatment 15 years later in 2002.
Botox became rapidly popular as a solution to sagging skin. So much so, that perhaps you too are considering to do it as well.
However it is a smart idea to get familiar with how botox works and what to expect in order to make a smart decision.

How does botox work?

Botox is an abbreviation for 'botulinum toxin A' which as the name suggest is a toxin. The same toxin that is responsible for
water (and sometimes wound or food) poisoning called botulism. The best known symptom of botulism is muscular paralysis. This is precisely why it is used for wrinkle reduction. The neurotoxin known as as botulinum blocks out signals that make muscles contract.

While botulinum can be very dangerous, it is safe when isolated to the muscles of the face. Most people that die of botulinum, die because the neurotoxin has spread to the chest muscles, responsible for breathing. When these no longer can contract properly, breathing becomes difficult and later impossible.

When injected with a syringe into the tiny muscles of the face, botox will not spread to other parts of the body. In clinical trials, botox has been shown to be completely safe in all patients under the age of 65.

Botox will never permanently remove wrinkles, but will paralyze and smoothen wrinkle muscles for 3 up to 8 months.
After an injection the botox will not work immediately, but needs time to 'settle'. Depending on your physiology and the strength of the drug, results can set in within a couple of hours or longer.

Advantages of botox

Botox is a temporary treatment, which means that if the results are not satisfactory, your skin will revert back to how it looked before.
Botox works quickly and results are visible within a few days or even hours, as long as the treatment was done properly.
Sometimes the results are not so impressive, but it will work for almost anybody.
Botox injections can be applied very quickly, it only takes about 10 minutes.
There are very few health risks, though pregnant women are warned to not use it, as there can be a very small chance botox will spread to the womb.

Disadvantages of botox

The advantage of botox is also its disadvantage: botox is a temporary solution, so you will have to get regular injections for the rest of the time that you wish to remove lines and wrinkles.
In some cases, people have become allergic to botox, especially when they were taking antibiotics. Although treatable, some reactions can quickly become severe and uncomfortable.
Botox will paralyze your facial muscles and will make your face less expressive than before. At worst it can cause you to look surprised or in a frown all the time.
Although typically not as obvious as in people who have had cosmetic surgery as well as botox, you may not like your expression as much as you anticipated.
You must go to a botox clinic with a medical professional administering the injections. By all means avoid 'botox-parties' as while rare, side-effects like a severe allergic reaction, can happen and are dangerous when injections are done in a non-medical setting. Oftentimes, to avoid side-effects, botox injections administered during parties are much weaker and therefore may be ineffective.
Above all, botox is expensive. The average cost of a single area injection is close to €200.
Sometimes injections of a lower concentration are available for less than €100, but results are often unsatisfactory.

Possible side effects of botox

Although side effects are usually mild and readily treatable, some of the following side effects may happen:

Common side effects 

- bruises and soreness which is also temporary. Do pay attention when the soreness will not go away and seek medical help immediately as this can signify a true botox infection
- headaches, which can be treated with OCD drugs like aspirin
- nausea is common among 45% of people that are treated
- neck pain is equally common. The pain is temporary, and fortunately does not mean botox has spread to other parts of the body
-  a (minor) loss of the ability to speak clearly or perform basic facial expressions

Uncommon side effects 

- drooping eyelids can happen to about 5% of the people that get injections, which fortunately is a temporary effect
- upper respiratory tract infection: while rare, an upper respiratory tract infection can occur after a botox injection.

Botox, yes or no?

Although cheaper than cosmetic surgery, botox treatments are expensive. On the other hand, it is one of the few skin treatments that is temporary and yet yields fantastic results.

If you are truly unhappy with the current appearance of your wrinkles or fine lines, or when you have a profession that requires you to look good all the time, you may want to consider botox treatment.
However, most people will also notice you have had treatment even if they don't know you had wrinkles before, they will see your face is not as expressive as that of most people.

Most of the severe side-effects are rare, while the mild side-effects often go away within a few days.

While having your body injected with toxins may sound horrible, botox is considered safe and reliable.
The treatment takes only very little time and results will be quickly visible after just a few hours or days.

Be sure to speak with your doctor before you start any treatment to see if there are possible disadvantages you were not aware of yet and do understand there may still be risks involved to the procedure, even though it is safe for most people.

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