Botox: Myths vs. Facts

Here at Oregon Coast Plastic Surgery, we are full time Botox myth busters! We are asked these common questions about Botox on a daily basis and want to share with you the most common concerns, questions, and myths, along with truths, to help educate patients about Botox cosmetic treatment.

Botox is a medication made from a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum called botulinum toxin. In cosmetic beauty, Botox brand contains botulinum toxin type A (the active ingredient), human albumin (a protein found in human blood plasma) and sodium chloride. It is predominantly used as a treatment to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and fine lines. Beyond aesthetic applications, Botox has been found useful in treating a variety of medical conditions including migraines, excess sweating, overactive bladders, and cervical dystonia. Botox has been proven to be a successful and valuable therapeutic treatment.

MYTH 1: Botox is toxic.

FACT: While many are of the impression that Botox is harmful to the human body, it is actually a neurotoxin derived from Clostridium botulinum, an organism found in the natural environment where it is largely inactive and non-toxic. Botox cosmetic is not botulism (food poisoning). It is a purified protein and a finished medical prescription product, proven to be safe through extensive research and testing when administered appropriately by an experienced and skilled doctor or nurse.

MYTH 2: Botox will give me a ‘frozen’ or expressionless look.

FACT: A ‘Frozen’ or expressionless look is usually a result of an over dosage of Botox. An experienced injector would know how many Botox units to inject so that you will look natural and not ‘frozen’. Less is more; Some movement is okay and is a more modern approach. Botox cosmetic is intended to enhance the way you look, not change it. The treatment only relaxes the muscles beneath the lines at the point of injection, so the other elements of facial expression remain active. It also has no effect on the sensory nerves, so you will have normal feeling in the treated areas.

MYTH 3: Botox can erase all my wrinkles.

FACT: There are two types of wrinkles: Dynamic wrinkles are wrinkles developed from facial muscular movement and static wrinkles are a result of aging and sun exposure. Botox treats dynamic wrinkles by relaxing the muscle, thus improving the appearance of these wrinkles. Treatment of static wrinkles may require a combination of other aesthetic treatments, such as dermal fillers, laser therapy, chemical peeling, or surgical treatment options.

MYTH 4: If you stop getting Botox, it will make you look older.

FACT: Botox will prevent your wrinkles from worsening when you keep up with your treatments. If you decide to stop having Botox treatments, you will slowly lose the muscle relaxing effect of Botox and will resume the normal development of wrinkles with facial movement. Botox will not worsen wrinkle formation, but instead wrinkles will slowly return to how they were initially, prior to treatment.

MYTH 5: Botox injections are painful.

FACT: Botox treatments are often referred to as the “lunchtime procedure” because it’s quick and there is little to no downtime. Pain from the injections is completely manageable, as the needles are very fine and a small amount of liquid is used. You will only feel a slight sting during the injection. Ice may be used before and after injections, and topical arnica can be applied to help prevent bruising. If you are very sensitive to injections, topical application of a numbing anesthetic cream prior to injections can help make the procedure almost painless. You can resume normal activities immediately.

MYTH 6: Botox is addictive.

FACT: No addictive properties are reported to be in a Botox solution, thus there is no potential to make a patient physically addicted to the medication. People may become dependent on the cosmetic results of a Botox injection because it can help them look younger and refreshed.

MYTH 7: Botox will travel throughout my body, infecting everything.

FACT: Botox is a purified protein complex derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum toxin. Botox itself will not cause any infection in the body. It will not travel throughout the body, as it clots locally at the site of injection.

MYTH 8: Botox is permanent

FACT: Botox isn’t permanent, its effects wear off. Patients typically return every 3-5 months for treatments. Some patients wait longer, others less – it’s personal preference and the doctor or nurse treating you can help advise on this.

MYTH 9: Botox has immediate effects

FACT: It’s fast, but not immediate. Botox works by temporarily blocking nerve signals that cause muscle contractions. You’ll notice a softening and restriction of movement after 3-4 days, with the full effect becoming noticeable between days 7 and 10.

MYTH 10: Botox is a filler.

Fact: Unlike facial fillers, Botox doesn’t fill in facial lines or restore volume loss. It relaxes the muscles underneath the skin that cause the lines. Unlike Botox, fillers are a gel, not a toxin. They are injected under the skin and not into the muscle. Facial fillers help to fill in facial lines and give back volume that is lost over time. The most common filler is hyaluronic acid, which is naturally occurring in the body. You can use fillers in places that lose volume with age, such as lips and cheeks. Botox is most commonly used to treat frown lines, forehead lines, and crow’s feet. Botox and fillers both address lines, just in different ways.

Call Oregon Coast Plastic Surgery to schedule a free cosmetic consult at 541-266-1522.


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