Have you thought about Botox? Whether you’re tempted by the procedure’s popularity or hesitant about a product named after a “toxin,” the truth is that cosmetic neurotoxin injections are simple, effective and minimally invasive procedures that nevertheless should be administered by a qualified medical professional.
Neurotoxin injections are by far the most popular treatment for wrinkles: More than 7.5 million minimally invasive cosmetic neurotoxin procedures were performed in the U.S. in 2019 alone—a number that’s been trending upward for decades. The FDA first approved neurotoxins for medical use in 1989 (one of their first indications was for eyelid muscle spasms), and their use for cosmetic purposes soon skyrocketed. Because these substances are so potent, cosmetic neurotoxin procedures require only a very small amount to produce notable results.
These procedures should not be confused with “fillers,” which are injectable gel-like substances that create a “plumping” effect under the skin. Instead, neurotoxin treatments specifically target the wrinkles that develop as we age due to repetitive muscle movements—ie the many facial expressions we make day after day throughout our lives. The common types of these wrinkles are “crows’ feet” around the eyes, frown lines by the mouth, and creases in the forehead.
Neurotoxin injections temporarily block the nerve impulses to those muscles, relaxing them. When the muscles are relaxed, the wrinkles they cause are much less apparent. The nerve-blocking benefits of neurotoxin injections typically last between three and six months.
Botulinum toxin type A is the primary substance utilized in several brand-name cosmetic neurotoxin products, including Botox, Xeomin and Dysport. But each product is formulated with other ingredients in varying amounts, which affect procedural variables like dosage, application, the amount of time it takes to take effect, and how long those effects last.
Furthermore, your body brings its own variables to the table, which is why it’s important to consult with a qualified cosmetic professional prior to making a decision. Your physician should be able to tell you which product will best produce the benefits you’re looking for, and what you can expect from the overall experience.
Neurotoxin injections utilize very thin needles in order to target the precise wrinkle-causing muscles. And because those muscles are so close to the surface of the skin (hence the wrinkles’ visibility), the injections don’t need to be very deep. The added benefit of these factors is that neurotoxin injections typically cause only mild discomfort, few side effects and no downtime.
If you’ve been considering Botox or similar therapies, the first step is to schedule a thorough consultation with your physician. While these procedures are exceptionally common and relatively safe, you should always know all of the factors involved before embarking on a medical treatment.