What is Botox and What Does it Do?
For the treatment of moderate to severe frown lines in patients 65 and under, BOTOX (botulinum toxin type A) and MYOBLOC (botulinum toxin type B) are FDA-approved medications derived from specific bacteria. They work by blocking nerve signals from the brain that activate the muscles which cause frown lines.
You might not know it, but muscles in your face are the primary cause of frown lines. This is because after a lifetime of repeated facial movement into a frown configuration, these muscles become larger and more pronounced, and less elastic. They produce not only the wrinkles associated with frowning but a more perpetually frown-like expression.
BOTOX and MYOBLOC help reduce this expression. Injections of these medications actually prevent the muscles that create the frowning expression from “firing.” The lack of frown-like movement in the face automatically reduces the appearance of wrinkles because the expressions that cause the wrinkles can no longer be made.
Additionally, after a short time the “frowning muscles” atrophy, or reduce in size, further reducing the appearance of frown lines.
The administration of BOTOX and MYOBLOC involves injecting very small amounts of botulinum toxin into the target muscle areas. Treatment is quick and generally undetectable, with no required downtime. The injections allow the muscles to relax, leading to improved appearance after 3 to 7 days post-treatment.
Improvements generally last for 3 to 4 months after treatment, requiring further treatments on a regular basis. After regular treatments have been administered for an extended amount of time (which varies per patient), muscle atrophy commonly starts to occur, resulting in more permanent results.
BOTOX and MYOBLOC are used mainly to reduce the appearance of vertical lines between the eyebrows, but they are also effective for removing vertical lines on the bridge of the nose, horizontal lines across the forehead, crows feet or squint lines at the corners of the eyes, and lines that ring around the neck, often referred to as “turkey neck.”
BOTOX and MYOBLOC manage to reduce the appearance of wrinkles without hindering natural reactive facial expressions such as raising the eyebrows. Only the precise and targeted nature of BOTOX and MYOBLOC treatment make this possible.
However, botulinum toxin is generally not used around the area of the mouth, because many of the muscles that create wrinkles around the mouth also assist in necessary activities such as talking and eating. For these types of wrinkles, we recommend chemical peels, dermal fillers, and laser resurfacing procedures. By the way, these procedures also complement BOTOX extremely well!
Side effects generally only relate to the injection itself. Mild bruising or soreness may occur around the injection site, although these are rare. Normally, there is little to no visible immediate evidence of having undergone the procedure, allowing you to return to work immediately and even apply makeup as usual. Temporary headache or weakness in the surrounding muscles are rare, temporary side effects of botulinum toxin injection. It is important for the patient to avoid massaging or applying pressure to the injection site.