Doctors have been administering BOTOX® since 1989 for some medical conditions and in 2002, it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cosmetic use (source: FDA). You’d think that a procedure that’s been available for more than a decade wouldn’t have many misconceptions and myths surrounding it, but unfortunately, it does.
I recently had BOTOX injections, and I found that I was misinformed about several aspects of this non-surgical cosmetic procedure. Those misunderstandings had kept me from trying it, but now that I have the correct information I’m sorry I didn’t do it years ago!
5 BOTOX Myths That Prevented Me From Trying It Until Now:
Myth: BOTOX Injections Are Painful
For me, they weren’t painful in the least. I had 5 or 6 injection sites, and none were any more painful than a mosquito bite. That’s because BOTOX is injected with a very thin needle and only a small amount of fluid is used, and it’s injected slowly. A good doctor will distract you while you’re being injected by either chatting with you or by pinching and wiggling the skin near the injection site.
If you’re worried about BOTOX injections being too painful, consider icing the treatment area before and after. Also, make sure you’re as relaxed as possible – take some deep breaths, say the word “relax” in your mind, and focus on your shoulders, arms, legs, etc., to check for tension. If you do find the procedure painful, let your doctor know. He will have some additional ways to make it more comfortable for you.
Myth: BOTOX Works Instantly
I noticed a few changes right away like my eyelids appeared to be lifted, and my fine wrinkles disappeared. However, the full results of the procedure can take up to two weeks, and you may have several changes along the way. I admit, the morning I woke up with one eyebrow arched much higher than the other (ala Jack Nickolson in the “Shining”), I was a little worried. I needn’t have been because within hours it had settled down. I had an injury near one of my eyebrows as a child which may have made that area react differently.
It’s important to know that complete muscle relaxation can take two to three treatments. If you’re planning on having BOTOX done for a particular event, like your wedding, plan ahead. Having BOTOX injections too close to an event can leave you disappointed and you want to make sure you’ll be looking your best in time for your big day.
Myth: BOTOX is Permanent
Depending on your cosmetic surgeon, the effects can last from three to six months. My doctor chooses to inject less and more often so that he can tailor the new injections based on my needs. While great doctors can pretty accurately predict how your muscles will react to the BOTOX, it can sometimes take differently. Also, using a more frequent schedule means that if you do have a bad outcome, it can be corrected sooner. It also means that should your muscles adapt to their new weakened state; you may be able to go longer between injections.
Myth: BOTOX Freezes Facial Expressions
While there are many examples in Hollywood of stars who’ve created foreheads that make them appear to be standing in a wind tunnel, that doesn’t have to be the case. Choosing a great cosmetic surgeon who understands your desired outcome is crucial. BOTOX injections should enhance your natural beauty not change it.
I can still move my forehead and make faces, but the muscles where I had injections have been relaxed, not paralyzed, so they’re not as prominent and blend in better giving me smoother looking skin.
Myth: BOTOX Can Erase All of My Lines and Wrinkles
Sadly, that’s not the case. BOTOX can’t treat wrinkles that have been caused by sun damage or aging (called static wrinkles). BOTOX generally works on wrinkles created by movement – squinting, furrowing, etc. They’re called dynamic wrinkles. However, if dynamic lines are too deep, they may require multiple injections or even fillers instead. My dynamic vertical forehead wrinkles are a great example. They’re caused by me furrowing and raising my brows as I talk, and while my initial BOTOX injections have softened them slightly, they’re still very prominent. However, my fine horizontal dynamic wrinkles have been erased completely.
I’m so glad I found out the truth about BOTOX and went for it. I’m now a fan and will be going in for a second round of injections soon.
Did you find any BOTOX Myths you thought were true? Have you tried BOTOX? Why not?
Dr. Alexander Sobel is an award-winning, double board certified surgeon in cosmetic surgery and Otolaryngology (facial cosmetic surgery) who has performed thousands of cosmetic procedures. Located in the Seattle-area, Dr. Sobel specializes in cosmetic surgery of the face, breast, and body.