Throughout history, people have looked for ways to achieve a younger, more vibrant look by improving their facial appearance. A procedure utilizing Botox (Botulinum Toxin) is used for the treatment of facial lines and wrinkles. This procedure, sometimes referred to as cosmetic denervation (loss of nerve supply), has been widely used and is considered a safe and effective way of treating aging skin; Botox has been safely used for certain medical conditions for more than a decade. It is used to eliminate or reduce worry and frown lines, “crow’s feet”, laugh lines and dynamic wrinkles.

The procedure works by physiologically weakening facial muscles beneath the skin that are related to expression lines. The contractions of those muscles result in wrinkles. Botox blocks the impulses from the nerve of the facial muscles thereby relaxing them. The result is that the pull of the underlying facial muscles relax causing the skin to flatten. This results in a smooth, unwrinkled look.

Best Candidates

The best candidates for the procedure are those between the ages of 30 and 65. In many cases, wrinkles in people over 65 are not caused by muscle pull but rather by sun damage. With each patient being different, each person must be evaluated by the physician. The procedure works best on the wrinkles appearing in the upper one-third of the face, because its use on the lower two-thirds might cause distortion of a person’s smile or facial expression.

Prior to Procedure

Some physicians may recommend avoidance of alcoholic beverages, anti-inflammatory medications and aspirin one week prior to the procedure.

The Procedure

A sedative or local anesthetic is not used because the pain associated with the procedure is minimal. A small amount of discomfort is felt when the needle is inserted and the liquid injected. This sensation lasts approximately 5 seconds. Botox is injected into various locations on the face. The needle is extremely small and only a tiny amount of liquid is injected at one time.

After the Procedure

Since there is no sedative or anesthetic used, patients can return to normal activities immediately after the procedure. It is possible to experience a mild headache after the procedure. The physician may recommend acetaminophen if this should occur. The physician may also recommend that the patient not lie down for 3 or 4 hours following the procedure. Some facial exercises may be recommended.

The treatment takes three to eight days to take effect. The benefits will last from three to six months. A touch-up may be necessary 1 to 2 weeks after the initial treatment. When the toxin begins to wear off, the wrinkles begin to reappear; however, they are not as deep as the original ones. On average, it takes two or three injections each year to maintain the smooth, youthful appearance that is desired. Studies suggest that after several rounds of treatment, the patient may require injections less often.