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Botox for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know

Have you noticed deepening wrinkles on your forehead and crows’ feet at the corners of your eyes? You may be wondering why this is happening. 

One reason could be that as we age, we squint more. Think of how much time you’ve spent reading books and looking at screens. Every time we squint we constrict muscles in our face. Since the collagen in our skin slowly breaks down as we age, this repeated constriction can result in the development of wrinkles. In the age of Zoom, you may be spending more time on video calls, which means that you’re simply seeing your own face on screen more. The lines and wrinkles may not actually be new; you just might be noticing them more now than you were before. 

If you’ve been staring at your face and thinking about reducing the wrinkles on your forehead and at the corners of your eyes, Botox may be right for you.

What is Botox?

Botox is a cosmetic treatment where botulinum is injected into specific places on the face. These injections will paralyze the desired facial muscles, preventing them from contracting. When they can’t contract, they can’t create lines or wrinkles.

The results of this treatment usually take a few days to become apparent, and their duration can be anywhere from two to four months. This range depends on how large of an area is being treated and whether or not you’ve previously had any injections. Just as the effects of botox are gradual, they wear off over time. This limits the commitment you make by receiving Botox. If you like the results, you can continue getting the injections. If not, you’ll be able to go into any treatment knowing that the results will eventually wear off.

Is It Expensive? 

The answer to that question is more complicate than “yes” or “no.” The price of Botox varies greatly, depending on: 

  • Location. Botox is generally cheaper in small towns compared to cities. 
  • How much is needed.
  • Who is performing the procedure. Some doctors charge more than others.

In short, the average cost of a botox treatment is about $400, but there’s a wide range of price tags. At the upper limits, a botox treatment may cost over $2,000.

What are the Risks?

While most people handle Botox well, there is always the possibility of negative side effects.

Minor risks include:

  • Pain, bruising, or swelling at the point of injection
  • Aching and/or headaches
  • Droopy eyelids or eyebrows 
  • Eye irritation

More serious side-effects could occur if the drug spreads into unintended areas of the face. These effects include:

  • Weak muscles
  • Trouble seeing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Allergy attacks
  • Loss of control over bodily functions

Who Should Get Botox? 

Keeping the risks in mind is important, but they’re outliers. Botox is overall a safe treatment for anyone trying to eliminate or prevent unwanted wrinkles. And it isn’t strictly cosmetic! It’s currently being used to manage and treat migraines. If you suffer from these intense headaches, this is an option to consider.

How Can I Find the Right Doctor?

When you’re trying to decide where to go for Botox injections, it might be tempting to enter your zipcode in Google and select the first (or cheapest) doctor who pops up. However, a better strategy might be to dig a little deeper. Here are a few tips:

  • Ask your primary doctor who they recommend. Additionally, friends or family who have had treatments can tell you who to trust or who to avoid.
  • Take into account any doctor’s reputation, skills, education, credentials, and experience. 
  • Look for an experienced doctor who is well trained and/or board certified.
  • Request a consultation! It often helps to simply discuss with your doctor any potential Botox injections. This is a good chance for you to address any reservations you may have about the process.

As someone considering how to start with Botox, the first and most important thing you can do for yourself is to be forward thinking. When it comes to treatment plans, you should educate yourself beforehand. Ask yourself what it is that you’re ultimately hoping to achieve by receiving Botox injections. Having that information can make developing future treatment plans easier, and that information may even become your very own personalized guide to Botox.