Botox is the most commonly performed minimally invasive cosmetic procedure. It is a potent neurotoxin that reduces the ability of muscles to bend and crease the skin that was first approved 20 years ago – so has a great safety record. However, it is not a treatment to take too lightly and there are a lot of myths and concerns about getting your first treatment. So… what are the 10 things everyone should know before getting botulinum toxin for the first time
Consultation is key
Full and thorough consultation prior to your treatment is a must. For your practitioner to work out what procedures are going to get you the result you want but also to make sure you feel the doctor is right for you and ‘gets’ you. It may be that a combination of toxins and fillers (and others) will get you the results you want so go in with an open mind.
You get what you pay for
Special offers are definitely too good to be true (and are actually illegal in the UK); ensure your doctor is using genuine products (Botox, Azzalure and Bocouture are the only licensed products in the UK). If it seems too cheap its almost certain that practitioners are cutting corners somewhere – gram for gram Botox is the most expensive naturally occurring substance on the face of the planet!
You don’t have to look frozen
Toxin treatments are a balance between reducing the muscle movement (and therefore the lines and wrinkles) and maintaining a natural-looking result. It is for you and your doctor to decide where you want to be along this line.
Start younger than you think
Start before those frown lines become a permanent feature and we can use smaller doses, looking more natural. That way we prevent the line from ever appearing and you just never age…
There are some things to avoid before treatment
Supplements and painkillers that thin your blood should be avoided for a few days prior to treatment (unless prescribed by your doctor) to reduce the chances of bruising: fish oils, ginkgo, garlic, and ibuprofen.
It won’t hurt…
…much. The needles we use are absolutely tiny so most people barely even feel them.
There are a potential side effects
But they are rare and mostly easily fixed. An errant eyebrow can be sorted at your two-week follow-up appointment (which should also be included with your treatment). Occasionally you will get a bruise (you are having needles stuck in your face after all) but they tend to be very small, easily hidden and disappear quickly.
The results aren’t immediate
It takes a few days for the toxin to start working – usually around 4-6, but occasionally as long as 2 weeks. Your practitioner should offer a review at around 2-3 weeks to see the results and make any adjustments needed once we have seen the full effect.
The results don’t last forever
Sadly Botox treatments will wear off by around 3-4 months (on average) so if you like the results – and you will – be prepared for the ongoing maintenance!
There is some aftercare…
…but not much. There are various aftercare regimes for botox you may have heard about – not lying flat, not bending forward, not going to the gym and not having a facial for a fortnight. None of these are evidence-based but some of the things we know for definite is that toxin is all taken up into the muscle within a couple of hours and movement helps with this. So plenty of frowning, smiling and wriggling your eyebrows around for a couple of hours and then you can do what you like. We’d avoid makeup until the next morning though, just to allow the tiny needle holes to heal up.
Overall, Botox is a well-researched, safe procedure with decades of safety data and millions and millions of treatments successfully performed by companies which are Doctor led like Novellus Aesthetics. Pick your doctor well and you can enjoy looking fresher, more rested and feeling more self-confident. Follow these tips and enjoy your results!