How to get the most out of Botox treatments
Firstly, what is Botox? And what are the uses for Botox?
Botox, and the various other brands of botulinum toxin are biologics, meaning that they are complex molecules that are derived from nature but synthesized in a laboratory.
They work by blocking nerve receptors in muscles, sweat and oil glands. So Botox can be used to decrease wrinkles, reduce sweating and decrease oiliness in the skin.
Clasically, Botox is injected to erase lines on the forehead, between the eyes (the glabellar frown lines) and the crow’s feet. Less lines means less shadows across the face which then looks neater and fresher.
More novel uses for Botox would be to reduce the size of the jaw muscle, to refine the pores on the skin, to decrease sweating in the palms or armpits, and also to lift the skin of the neck. Those of us who have strong squarish jawlines may look to slim the face. Botox is injected into the biting muscles at the back of the jaw to cause the muscle to weaken and shrink. This then gives a slimmer and more triangularly shaped face.
And then there is Intradermal Botox (previous also called Microbotox or Mesobotox). Multiple tiny injections of botox are placed within the skin to decrease the the “opened-pores”. And btw, the intradermal botox also reduces sweating and oil secretions, which gives another level of refinement to the skin. Conditions like mild acne and rosacea responds well to this treatment.
Botox is also quite often used in the treatment of hyperhidrosis. Injected into the skin of the armpit or the palms, it will reduce sweating for 6 months of more.
Ok, how to get the best results or your money’s worth?
The best results depend mostly on the aesthetic doctor’s skill and experience. Hence prices also differ greatly among doctors. This is a situation where you really get what you are willing to pay for.
For those who have only bad experiences with Botox, you only have yourselves to blame. Because among all the available aesthetic treatments in the universe, Botox gives the most predictable results in trained and experienced hands. Albeit only for 16 weeks. If the intention is to erase a line, and if it is technically feasible, it will be successful in more than 90% of the time. No laser treat comes close to this kind of predictability.
So why is it that sometimes there are no results? The results and duration of action (longevity) are dose dependant. If an area needs 20U and you are only willing to fork out money for 10U (just to try, many will say), then of course the results will be sub-optimal and it will not last.
Also, it is not wise to dictate that your doctor treats one set of muscles only. Adjacent muscles compensate and may give rise to unfavourable results – like the “Spock sign”. Always treat anatomical zones in totality.
The take home message, if you want the best results from your Botox treatment, is to go to a trusted doctor and listen to her/him. Don’t bring Dr Google into the consultation room.
Should you go to unlicensed beautician? As you would expect, skill and experience differ already among trained aesthetic doctors. What more with people who have not had medical training on hygiene and facial anatomy. We cannot stress more about this point.
Dr Phoon Yi Shan