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Curious About Botox? Here's Everything You Need To Know

For starters, "Botox" is actually just a brand.
PHOTO: Getty Images

Most of us know Botox as a non-surgical cosmetic procedure people get to dramatically reduce the appearance of wrinkles. We instantly think of older people going to clinics to get their faces injected to get freakishly smooth skin. But, did you know that "Botox" is not really the universal term for the procedure? “Botox” is actually a brand name of the neurotoxic protein (simple translation: poison), botulinum toxin. It paralyzes the muscles, which then makes the skin appear smoother and stretched. There are other brands of this toxin available in the market—like Dysport and Xeomin—but the Botox brand stuck and has since then became the common term people used to refer to the procedure.

You're probably thinking: "Wow. People are okay with injecting medical 'poison' to paralyze a part of their body?!" Before you get scared of your own thoughts and other speculations you might hear from others, allow Dr. Kaycee Reyes-Bacani of Luminisce Clinic to answer the frequently asked questions about Botox, including myths surrounding it.

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How does Botox work?

“Botox blocks the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter vital in the contraction of muscles. This results in relaxation of the muscle,” Dr. Kaycee detailed. When underlying muscles relax, the area on the skin appears smooth and is resistant to movement. 

What are the benefits of Botox?

“Botox helps get rid of dynamic lines or wrinkles that come out when you make facial expressions,” Dr. Kaycee explained. The common areas where Botox is injected are the following: the horizontal forehead lines or the “11,” the crow’s feet on the outer corner of each eye, and the bunny lines (found at sides of the nose bridge near the eyes).

It is also injected on the jaw or the masseter muscles to make the face look slimmer. “For the body, it can be used to elongate the neck and slim down the arms and calves, to name a few,” she added.

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Does Botox hurt? How fast is the procedure?

During a Botox injection procedure, Dr. Kaycee assured that topical anesthesia and cold compress are used to minimize discomfort. “The procedure takes about 30 minutes to an hour, which depends on how many areas are to be treated,” she clarified.

Can Botoc prevent lines?

Because it can reduce existing lines and wrinkles, we just had to ask if it can prevent more lines from appearing. Dr. Kaycee’s answer was positive: “Yes! Usage of Botox can help prevent dynamic lines and wrinkles from becoming static.” In medical terms, dynamic wrinkles are formed by repeated movement and static wrinkles are caused by the loss of elasticity and gravity (aging!). 

At what age should you get Botox?

In case you’re curious, Dr. Kaycee said that they advise patients in their late 20s to start getting botulinum toxin. “This is to prevent the dynamic lines from becoming permanent or static,” she explained.

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How long do you have to wait before we see the results? Are there side effects?

This quick doctor’s procedure can yield fast results, too. “Results can be appreciated as early as two days after the procedure, but are best seen two weeks after the procedure,” Dr. Kaycee revealed.

Depending on your body chemistry, you may experience side effects. “There are possible side effects such as pain, swelling, bruising. Rarely, eyelid ptosis (when the eyelid droops) or diffusion of the toxin to other muscles groups can happen,” she explained.

How long does the effect of Botox last?

According to her, the botulinum toxin effect lasts for four to six months, and you can have it done within the same period, too, “or as soon as lines start becoming visible again.”

Can a person be "immune" to Botox?

Since it’s not permanent, one might be addicted to having it done regularly as soon as she spots a wrinkle. Dr. Kaycee warned that you can develop immunity to Botox. “Frequent treatment with botulinum toxin can stimulate the body to produce antibodies to the toxin. Clinically, this would mean the toxin might not work as effectively the next time it is used. To avoid this, best to use a botulinum toxin with lower protein content. Ask your doctor about this."

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Is it true that one may get migraines from Botox? Is it also true that pimples will heal slower if you get Botox?

This is a common fear of some patients because Botox is still a foreign substance injected in the body. Dr. Kaycee assured that there’s no cause for alarm. “No. Botox can actually help with migraines by way of targeting the temporalis muscle to relax the contractions. As for zits, there are different factors considered in the development of acne and Botox will not worsen this.”

Why do some people look frozen or nagulat after getting Botox? Would that effect also happen to me?

Ah, the common Hollywood faux pas that possibly cause fear to would-be patients. “The frozen look can indeed happen, but this depends on how much units [of Botox] are placed, the technique of the doctor, and the brand of the botulinum toxin used. Tell your doctor you want a more natural look,” she advised.

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Are there any activities you are prohibited from doing right after getting Botox?

Just like any other clinical procedure, there are activities you should avoid to allow the Botox to work its ~magic~. “Try to stay upright for the next six hours following the injection. Also, avoid face massages, sauna sessions, or hot yoga in the next 24 hours,” Dr. Kaycee warned. You can live a normal life after that.

How does Botox work as a treatment to prevent excessive underarm sweat?

We see clinics offer Botox as a treatment for excessive underarm sweating. The toxin used here is no different than the formula used on the face, but with a different dilution. Dr. Kaycee explained how this treatment works: “Botox prevents the release of acetylcholine, a substance that mediates the activity of the eccrine sweat glands to release sweat.”

According to her, the ideal candidate for this treatment are those "with hyperactive sweat glands not controlled by topical medications." In layman's terms, you can try this solution when anti-perspirant deodorants do nothing for you.

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Its effect also lasts from four to six months, and the patient can go back after that perioid has passed to repeat the procedure. To prevent “immunity” from Botox, Dr. Kaycee detailed, “Doctors use a botulinum toxin preparation with low clostridial protein content. This lowers the risk of your body developing antibodies to ‘fight’ botulinum toxin.”

What is the difference between Botox and fillers?

Fillers and Botox are both used to make one’s face look younger, and sometimes, patients get confused on what procedure they want or can get. “Botox acts on the muscle to get rid of lines and slim down parts of the body. Fillers bring back the lost volume in the face and provide lift and strength to certain structures in the face,” she explained.

How much does Botox usually cost? How much will I expect to shell out?

This was a very important question we could not help ourselves but ask Dr. Kaycee. She answered: "Different clinics would offer different pricing, and it also depends on the brand of botulinum toxin they use. But generally, prepare to shell out P350 to P500 per unit of botulinum toxin or P35,000 to P45,000 for the whole procedure." Time to save up, guys!

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Is Botox safe? What are the risks of getting Botox?

While the cost of Botox is considered as the most wanted information, knowing its possible risk is equally important, too. "No procedure is without risks, but botulinum toxin is relatively low risk. Some side effects are pain, swelling, and bruising. It's rare that there may be diffusion of the toxin into other muscle groups," Dr. Kaycee concluded.

If you have more Botox-related questions or is interested to finally try it, you can book an appointment at the Luminisce clinics in Podium, Bonifacio Global City, and Alabang. Visit the Luminisce website for more details.

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