Wrinkles and fine lines are a common sign of ageing. As we know, It is inevitable but is it irreversible? Well, science has made enough progress to make you look 20 in your 40s. As the title suggests, HealthShots is unfolding the bright and the dark side of botox treatment.
To understand the functioning and safety of botox, HealthShots spoke to Dr Parag Telang, a Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, practicing in UAE and India.
“Botox is a drug that weakens or relaxes a muscle. In small doses, it can reduce wrinkles and fine lines and help to treat some other medical conditions. Botox is a protein made from Botulinum toxin. They work by blocking the nerves that contract muscles, softening the appearance of wrinkles. It’s considered a safe, effective treatment for fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. It can also be used on the forehead and between the eyes,” says Dr Telang.
What are the uses of a botox treatment?
Botox is a toxin, but when used correctly and in small doses, it can have many benefits. It has both cosmetic and medical uses. These injections can reduce the appearance of signs of ageing.
Botox injections are injected into muscles, where it blocks nerve impulses to those tissues. The muscle activity that causes the frown lines is reduced, and it makes you look younger.
Without a contracting muscle beneath it, the skin has a difficult time wrinkling. Botox can also help to soften facial lines but not always get rid of them.
It can temporarily relax the muscles, which can benefit people with various muscle or nerve disorders. Botox is used for muscle spasm control, severe under-arm sweating and cosmetic improvement too.
How does botox work in reducing wrinkles and fine lines?
Botox targets the nerve supplying the muscle, disrupting the nerve signaling processes that stimulate muscle contraction and causes temporary muscle paralysis.
In order for any muscle to contract, the nerves release a chemical messenger called acetylcholine at the junction where nerve endings meet muscle cells. Acetylcholine attaches to receptors on the muscle cells and causes the cells to contract, or shorten.
“Botox injections prevent the release of acetylcholine, which stops the muscle cells from contracting. Botulinum toxin treatment helps the muscles to become less stiff. Botox Cosmetic works by temporarily blocking nerve signals and muscle contractions,” says Dr Telang, who holds a DHA and HAAD license in plastic surgery.
This improves the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes and between the eyebrows. It can also slow the formation of new fine lines by preventing contraction of facial muscles.
It’s a minimally invasive procedure. It doesn’t involve incisions or general anesthesia. To reduce the pain or discomfort, a topical anesthetic or ice is used to numb the treatment area.
What are the side effects of botox?
“Botox treatment is the most effective treatment for wrinkles. But it has some side effects as well.” says Dr Telang.
It’s side effects include pain at the injection site, infection, inflammation, swelling, redness, bleeding and bruising. Some of these symptoms may indicate an allergic reaction such as itching, wheezing, asthma, a rash, red welts, dizziness and faintness. It is possible for the Botox to spread a little beyond the intended injection site and affect surrounding tissues.
“Dry mouth, fatigue, headache, neck pain, bruising, pain at the site of injection, and, in rare cases, drooping eyelids or eyebrows are also visible that return to their natural position within a few months. One should always get it done from a certified doctor to avoid any adversities.” suggests Dr Telang, who is the Director of Designer Bodyz Centre, Mumbai.
Precautionary measures to be taken before and after a botox treatment:
Botox treatment aftercare also includes some precautions. Before getting botox, avoid alcohol for 24 hours as it can increase the risk of bruising.
To avoid spreading the toxin, don’t touch the face for at least 1- 3 days. Avoid any kind of professional massages on the treated areas.
Botox needs some time to settle into the muscle. For the first 24 hours, avoid other skin treatments such as facials, massages, derma fillers and exfoliation and Scrubs. As these treatments can reduce the effectiveness of the botox treatment.
Avoid sleeping on the injected areas. This will minimize the physical pressure and let the Botox settle into your muscles. Also, avoid sleeping within 4 hours after the treatment.
Avoid sun exposure for at least 4 hours. The heat can promote flushing and increase the blood pressure, which may encourage bruising.