If you think wrinkles on your face make you look tired or old, then you may be considering Botox injections. However, if you've never had them before, you may be leery about what to expect. Here is a quick look at how the procedure works, how to prepare for it, and what to expect during recovery.
Preparing For The Injections
Botox injections are generally safe, but to reduce your risk of side effects, be sure to find a qualified dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, or other health professional to do the job, and avoid Botox injection parties. Let your doctor know about all the prescription medications, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs you take. You may need to stop taking supplements or medications that thin your blood for several days prior to getting Botox. Otherwise, you may experience bleeding or bruising at the injection sites. Also, let your doctor know about your occupation and usual activities, so you can plan whether to take the day off from work.
Undergoing The Procedure
Botox is injected into the wrinkled areas by your eyes and forehead using very tiny needles. To minimize discomfort, your doctor will probably go ahead and numb your skin first with a topical anesthetic. Then, you'll be asked to make various facial expressions so the doctor can see the lines on your face. A tiny bit of Botox is then injected into the muscles controlling the parts of your face where lines appear when you frown or smile. The number of injections is individualized to your needs, so the length of the treatment will depend on how many injections you receive. The treatment is done right in your doctor's office and you are awake the entire time. When the procedure is over, you can resume your usual activities.
Recovering From The Injections
Botox doesn't work right away. It takes a few days for the muscles in your face to go numb so the wrinkles go away. The most important thing you can do during recovery is to prevent the Botox from spreading. It needs to remain where it was injected so it targets the intended muscles. To keep it from spreading, you must avoid rubbing your face or participating in strenuous exercise or work. Exertion can cause increased blood flow that may disturb the Botox. You can go back to work right after the injections and return to your usual activities right away. The day after your procedure, you should be able to resume strenuous activities as well.
The effects of Botox come on gradually in the days following the procedure and they wear off gradually over the next several months. Botox doesn't give permanent results, but you can have repeat treatments to keep your wrinkles at bay.