Botox is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure that is typically performed to improve the cosmetic appearance of both the face and neck area. It also has some medical benefits such as treating excessive sweating but these uses are far less common. Given the number of people who have Botox, you could be tempted into thinking that choosing to have the procedure is an easy decision. However, you should always take the time to read around the subject as there are a number of factors you need to consider.
Botox is actually a neuro toxin which works by preventing the injected nerves from sending their signal to their associated muscles. Relaxing certain muscles within the face such as the ‘frown muscles’ in the forehead, can lead to a smoothing and softening of your features. A nice analogy is to think of wrinkles as like folding a piece of paper; if the paper doesn’t fold you won’t see a line! So by preventing the muscles from contracting the frown lines will disappear. This youthful look is the number one reason people decide to have Botox.
Let’s look at the main issues surrounding whether or not Botox is right for you:
The price of Botox.
When compared with cosmetic surgery procedures such as a face lift, the price of Botox injections is tiny in comparison. The average price of Botox is around $300.00 to $500.00 but this will depend on the amount of treatment that is required. When choosing a practitioner you should always ask if they charge per ‘area treated’ or per ‘unit of Botox’ used. I would definitely recommend paying per unit of Botox as this way you are only paying for exactly what you need. If, for example, you only have mild frown lines then you would pay exactly the same as someone who had deep frown lines if you were paying per area treated. Whereas if you paid per unit of Botox required, you would be likely to need less and therefore pay less. Although there is some variation in what practitioners charge per unit of Botox, you should expect to pay between $12 and $15 per unit.
How long does it last?
This is probably the most important issue when deciding whether or not Botox is right for you as unfortunately Botox does not last forever! On average, Botox lasts for around 4 months, although this can be slightly more or slightly less depending on how quickly your body metabolises the product. For this reason, when you are calculating the cost you need to realise that in order to maintain the same appearance you will need to continually repeat the procedure every 5 months or so.
Some people chose to have Botox just for special occasions such as attending a wedding but if your aim is to maintain the same results you are committing to a regular outlay of money at least twice a year. The great results that Botox produces is in a way one if its disadvantages as once you get used to your new, younger appearance you will be disappointed once your Botox wears off! People often think that their wrinkles / frown lines have got worse when the Botox wears off but in fact it is just that they have got so used to their new improved appearance.
Is Botox safe?
Naturally, if you are going to let someone inject something into your face, at the very least want to be certain that it is safe. Botox is generally considered to be an extremely safe procedure providing you choose a fully trained, experienced practitioner. It is important to choose a dermatologist or plastic surgeon as both have a deep fundamental understanding of facial anatomy. Although nurses and other professionals can train to inject Botox they simply do not have the same knowledge levels to treat any problems should they arise. For example, if following Botox your appearance appeared asymmetrical as one side of your face responded more to the Botox than the other side, a skilled practitioner would be able to rectify this to ensure a more natural look.
Whilst I am not saying that there aren’t some excellent Botox nurse practitioners out there, I still think you are unlikely to be disappointed by paying a little bit extra to have an expert in facial anatomy perform your injections. There are some side effects associated with Botox but these are generally rare and last only as long as the Botox is in your body, which is normally about 4 months. A skilled practitioner is able to rectify the more embarrassing side effects of Botox such as a drooping eye lid which is another reason to choose your clinician carefully.
In summary Botox is a quick, painless and hassle free treatment for significantly improving your cosmetic appearance. Providing you understand that Botox only lasts for around 4 months and the cost of the treatment is on-going if you plan to maintain the same results, then you are likely to be a great candidate for the procedure.
Dr. Ganesh Rao is a medical doctor from the UK with over 10 years experience is all aspects of medicine. In addition to his role as a doctor, Ganesh also writes all the content for his own health comparison website and takes part in online health forums.