Have you missed your Botox because of all the lockdowns? Here’s what you need to know if you are considering Botox.
As we get closer to opening dates, Botox is a common reason for contacting an aesthetic clinic. You may come across alternative phrases due to advertising rules on prescription-only medication. In other words, in the U.K, prescription-only medication cannot be directly advertised. So, you will ‘anti-wrinkle injections’ or ‘wrinkle relaxing treatments’ on websites and social media. Although these words mean the same thing, ‘Botox’ remains the most searched Google keyword in this field.
How does Botox work?
Botox is a brand name of a prescription-only medicine containing a protein called botulinum toxin. Here I discuss what it is and why it’s not a permanent way to get rid of your wrinkles.
When Botox is injected into your muscle, it blocks the nerve signals which normally makes it contract. Your muscle will stop contracting and stay relaxed. As a result, your muscles move less, making wrinkles less obvious. In fact, when you have Botox, your whole face looks fresher, smoother, and more rested.
However, Botox is not permanent. It will wear off in about 3 months. This is because Botox is broken down and the body makes new connections between the nerve endings and muscles. Eventually, as your muscles start moving, your lines and wrinkles return. Because Botox wears off gradually, you won’t find all your wrinkles reappearing at once. Consequently, you need to repeat your Botox three to four times per year. However, if you have regular treatments, Botox can last as long as 6 months.
What happens during my consultation for Botox?
You must have a face-to-face consultation with the clinician who prescribes your Botox.
This consultation actually takes longer than the treatment itself. Why?
During your consultation, your practitioner must talk you through everything before you give consent. Here is what you need to know about Botox. Firstly, they will ask about medical and psychological history to make sure it is safe for you to have Botox. Then they will ask for you details of previous cosmetic treatments. Next, you have to list the medication you take and describe any allergies. If you are suitable for Botox, they will advise you about the risks and benefits of Botox.
They will provide aftercare advice about what you can and can’t do. You will be given contact details to seek help in case you get any side effects. Most importantly, they must recommend suitable alternative treatment options. This helps you make an informed decision.
Finally, they must offer you a cooling-off period. So, you have ample time to go away and consider the treatment.
Your practitioner may offer a facial assessment and propose a treatment plan. As Botox only works on muscles, full facial rejuvenation needs a combination approach.
Take this opportunity to ask questions about the practitioner’s credentials.
Click here for YouTube video on FAQs about Botox
What happens on the day of my treatment?
When you attend for your treatment, you can ask questions about Botox. If you decide to go ahead, read and sign the consent form.
Your photos are taken while you make certain facial movements. These clinical photos capture your wrinkles before treatment. The photos remain confidential in your records unless you give explicit consent for sharing. The photos allow you to compare the outcome of the treatment. Practitioners have to take photos for insurance purposes.
Next, your skin is thoroughly cleaned with an antiseptic. Injection points are marked for precise treatment. You have to repeat the facial movements for assessment of your muscles.
Now you will get your Botox injections. This is very quick. Afterward, the injection sites are checked for minor bleeding or bruising.
Written aftercare is given or emailed to you. And you can book your review appointment.
How painful are Botox injections?
Small needles are used to minimise discomfort. You don’t need any anaesthetic cream for Botox injections.
What are the immediate effects of Botox?
Straight after the injection, you will have small red bumps at the injection sites. These are temporary and will settle within half an hour. Good infection control steps reduce infection risk which is very rare after Botox.
Some people experience headaches, facial pain, itching, and tenderness at injection sites. Others complain of a rash, fatigue, and even a flu-like illness after Botox.
Anaphylactic reaction to Botox is very rare. Your practitioner will always have the necessary medication available if required.
Bruising is not common but can occur in some areas if you are susceptible.
Are there any circumstances when I have to contact emergency services?
Contact the doctor immediately or call 999 if you experience any of the following:
- Difficulty swallowing, speech or breathing difficulty.
- Severe allergic reaction.
What do I have to avoid after Botox?
Alcohol and anti-inflammatory medication
Alcohol can worsen bruising so best avoided the night before and for 24 hours after treatment. The same is true for anti-inflammatory medication.
Exercise and facials
These activities increase blood flow to the area. Extra circulation can dilute the Botox making the treatment less effective. Avoid exercise for at least 24 hours and facials for 2 weeks.
Avoiding makeup for 12 hours helps to prevent infection.
Avoid lying down for 4 hours or sleeping on your front. This prevents it from moving out of the intended muscle.
Other cosmetic treatments
Delay treatments like microneedling, chemical peels etc for 2 weeks after Botox. This allows your skin to heal and optimise other procedures. You will be given specific advice relevant to you.
When will I see results?
You won’t see the effects immediately. It takes about 4-5 days to start seeing some effects. The full effects are seen 2-3 weeks after Botox.
Are there any complications?
Complications happen if Botox has gone into the wrong area or the wrong muscle. Examples are brow drop or eyelid droop. Luckily these effects wear off after 6-8 weeks. Asymmetry is due to some muscles taking up Botox better than others. An example is the tail end of your eyebrow being markedly raised. This is called chemical ‘brow lift’ desired by some women. Asymmetry can be adjusted or corrected at the review appointment. Sometimes you may notice asymmetry as Botox starts to work but corrects itself once fully effective.
If too much Botox is injected, you may end up with a ‘frozen’ face. Although this will wear off in time, a more natural result can be achieved by using less product. You can always have further Botox at the review appointment.
Why do I need a review appointment?
You should be offered a face-to-face review 2-3 weeks after Botox. This gives you the opportunity to check the results against your photos. You can have more Botox to resistant muscle areas or correct asymmetry. This is the perfect opportunity to schedule other treatments if desired.
When can’t you have Botox?
- Never have Botox if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Botox is prohibited with neuromuscular disorders, hence medical history is very important.
- Botox is licensed for ages 18 to 65. So, you must not be offered Botox if you are under 18. Although not very effective in people over the age of 65, some find Botox beneficial.
- It is best to avoid Botox for a week after Covid-19 vaccination. This is because any vaccination can give a flu-like illness for up to a week afterward. Rarely Botox can also cause this. Hence it is best to space these injections out. At the time of writing, this is the consensus amoung aesthetic experts.
Botox treatment is a medical treatment. Botox must never be offered at a party or in a conveyor belt fashion. Each treatment needs a face-to-face consultation and informed consent. You must be offered aftercare and how to contact your practitioner with any concerns.
Dr Tash Kanagasabai
📱07825 999 144 or
☎️ 01277 549 006
Website: Book an appointment