Botox is an injectable treatment that safely and effectively reduces wrinkles by inhibiting facial muscles from contracting. At MacMed Spa & Medical in Milford, Framingham, and Hopedale, MA locations, this treatment is one of the most frequently requested anti-aging services. Keep reading to learn more about how this FDA-approved treatment works and why it is so popular.
How Does Botox Work: The Science Behind Neuromodulators
Injectables that block nerve signals are also known as “neuromodulators.” Botox is by far the most popular and well-known injectable in this class. It has been in use for more than three decades and has an excellent track record of safety and efficacy. The reason for its popularity is obvious: it causes targeted facial muscles to relax, erasing current wrinkles and making it impossible for new ones to form.
This particular injectable is a form of “botulinum toxin type A” that has been purified, diluted, and transformed into a substance that can have dramatic anti-aging effects when used properly. Administered in very small amounts by a trained medical professional, this minimally invasive treatment can reverse certain signs of aging with absolutely no downtime required.
How It Affects Facial Muscles
Most facial wrinkles are caused by repetitive muscle contractions such as frowning, squinting, and raising the eyebrows. When Botox is injected, it blocks the nerve signals that cause muscles to contract. Once this substance has taken effect, the targeted muscles are immobilized. Most patients choose to inject only a few areas of the face, so that they can still maintain some natural facial movement.
How It Affects the Skin
Unlike many anti-aging treatments, which specifically target the skin, neuromodulators do not directly impact the skin at all. They work on the targeted muscles beneath the epidermis only, which in turn has a dramatic impact on wrinkle reversal and prevention. Since this injectable is focused on the muscle only, it can safely be used in combination with other facial rejuvenation treatments such as dermal fillers.
How Long Do These Results Last?
Eventually, the muscle relaxant effect of a neuromodulator injection will wear off and wrinkles will begin to return. How soon this happens can vary from patient to patient, but generally the effects last about 3 to 6 months. To achieve the maximum benefit from this treatment, we recommend that patients schedule their next appointment before their wrinkles have fully returned.
Men and women who use Botox on a regular, long-term basis will of course have very smooth skin for their age, but a little-known fact about this injectable is that it can also permanently weaken the muscle fibers at injection sites. In the same way that leg muscles will weaken over time when a person doesn’t walk very much, facial muscles can also atrophy when they aren’t used.
Of course, weakened muscles are usually a bad thing, but not when we’re talking about the muscles that cause a person to frown or grimace. Over time, you may find that you need fewer injections because these muscles are naturally no longer as active.
What To Expect With Botox Injections
An appointment for an injectable treatment generally takes less than an hour. A very thin needle is used, so the injections should be relatively painless, but a numbing cream can be used if you have particularly sensitive skin. Patients can return to their normal activities right after their appointment, but there are some aftercare recommendations that we will outline below.
After Your Appointment
While patients can certainly return to work or other routine activities after their appointment, there are some things that should be avoided for 24 hours post-treatment. Intense physical activity and exposure to extreme heat should be avoided, as should any firm pressure to the face. Rubbing treatment areas could potentially cause fluid to spread beyond the treatment site. Once 24 hours have passed, the substance is fully absorbed and this is no longer an issue.
If you use any blood-thinning medications or supplements, these should also be stopped until the day after your appointment. Blood thinners can cause unnecessary bruising. If you aren’t sure whether your medications have a blood thinning effect or not, bring a list of the medications and supplements you are taking to your consultation.
Knowing When To Schedule Your Next Session
Patients who wish to maximize the benefits of their treatment and keep wrinkles fully at bay usually schedule a touch-up appointment once every three months. If you find that your muscle movement does not begin to return for five or six months, then you can of course spread out your appointments accordingly.
The idea is to keep on top of your treatments so that wrinkles don’t have a chance to form. Once a wrinkle is back, you may have to wait a week or two for it to smooth out again following an injection.
Can Different Injectables Be Used at the Same Time?
While Botox is an excellent option for preventing wrinkles and smoothing out any lines that are not yet too deep, it does have its limitations. Deep wrinkles that have been in place for a while may not fully smooth out with a neuromodulator treatment alone. These types of wrinkles may be better addressed with a dermal filler. It is possible to treat different types of aging concerns with different forms of injectables at one appointment – ask your medical aesthetician!
Is This Treatment Safe?
Botox has been in use longer than many non-invasive treatments available today, so we know that its safety track record is excellent. This is an FDA-approved substance that has very few reported side effects when used properly.
The key is to have your injections administered by a trained medical professional. It is very important for neuromodulators to be applied in the correct dose and to only the exact muscle or group of muscles that you wish to immobilize. It is also important to follow the 24-hour aftercare instructions noted earlier.
Using Neuromodulators for Other Applications
While neuromodulators are most commonly used as an anti-wrinkle treatment, they do have several other medical and cosmetic applications that show tremendous promise. If you have certain diagnosed medical conditions such as chronic migraines or Cervical Dystonia, your Botox sessions may even be covered by your insurance plan.
Also known as hyperhidrosis, this embarrassing condition can cause uncontrollable sweating in many parts of the body. Some patients seek injections for their armpits, but a neuromodulator can also work to control sweating on the face, hands, or feet. Injections block the transmission of signals from the nerves to the sweat glands, causing them to calm down and produce less fluid.
A neuromodulator can also block pain signals and relax the head muscles that go into spasm during a migraine. Injecting this substance into the temples, forehead, and scalp has been shown to be effective when used alongside conventional migraine medication.
When injected into the uppermost layer of skin, a neuromodulator can curb oil production, which in turn dries up acne and reduces future breakouts. Since a larger part of the face may need to be covered, the key is to use a very small amount that will not affect facial expression. This treatment is most effective when used in combination with topical acne medications.
Neuromodulator injections can be helpful for treating certain muscle spasms such as facial or eyelid twitching. It has also been shown to be effective for muscle spasms in other parts of the body, particularly the hands and feet.
Patients with Cervical Dystonia show improvement when injected with a neuromodulator at the base of the neck. This painful condition causes muscles along the back of the neck to seize up. Blocking nerve signals to this muscle group can significantly reduce symptoms.
An Alternative to a Surgical Lift?
While the effects cannot exactly mimic plastic surgery, neuromodulators can be used to subtly lift certain facial features. When injected into the brow muscle, it can raise the end of the eyebrow, creating a more open look around the eyes. When injected into the base of the nose, it can raise the tip, creating a more attractive shape. A skilled medical aesthetician can also use these injections to carefully manipulate the lip line, creating a more pronounced “pout.”
Ready To Find Out What Injectable Can Do for You?
If you would like to learn more about neuromodulators or other injectable treatments that can turn back the clock, contact us today at MacMed Spa & Medical in Milford, MA. We would be pleased to schedule a consultation with you at our Milford, Framingham, or Hopedale, MA location.