As we grow older, some of us may look in the mirror and see the appearance of fine lines or even deep-set creases staring back at us. For many people, this can cause distress as many people feel these signs of aging may not reflect their best-self and begin to search for solutions. The most common solutions for fine lines and wrinkles include Botox and dermal fillers.

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What is Botox?

Botox is a brand name of a toxin produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum and can be used to treat a range of conditions such as migraines, facial creases, crow’s feet, and even excessive sweating.

There are various formulas for this toxin and Botox is merely a brand name of the treatment. Other brand names are Dysport®, MYOBLOC®, and XEOMIN® to name a few, but Botox is commonly used to refer to the treatment as well as the product.

It is important to note that Botox is not a facial filler as it does not fill wrinkles, facial creases, or fine lines. Instead, it reduces the appearance of lines and creases.

Botox works by blocking signals from the nerve to targeted muscles preventing the muscle from contracting or tightening. This causes the muscle to relax, softening the appearance of lines and creases and allowing the patient to achieve the desired goal.

There is a common myth that your face will freeze. We want our patients to look natural, which is why we only inject small amounts of the toxin. This enables us to control the effect just enough to weaken and relax the targeted muscles without affecting other areas, allowing you to maintain your natural facial expressions.

The procedure itself is short and can be done within a few minutes without anesthesia. During the procedure, the patient is injected with very small amounts of purified botulinum toxin into targeted muscles.

This quick treatment allows patients to return to most daily activities immediately with results that are seen within days.

However, we recommend avoiding alcohol or heavily touching the treated area for at least 24 hours. We also advise you to wait a minimum of 2 hours before engaging in any strenuous physical activity such as working out, heavy lifting, or any activities that might raise your heart rate.

Though the results are not permanent, they can last anywhere from 3 to 4 months. Muscle action will gradually return and need to be treated again. The appearance of lines and creases generally return less severe with subsequent treatments often producing more lasting results than the patient might have experienced previously.

Temporary bruising is the most common side effect. Though rare, headaches can also occur but typically disappear within 24 hours. Other side effects include swelling, redness, soreness, and weakness in surrounding muscles. A small percentage of patients may develop muscle drooping, but this often happens due to the treated area being touched or put under stress within 12 hours of treatment.

What are Dermal Fillers?

Many Americans struggle with fine facial lines around the mouth, nose, and eyes and turn to dermal fillers to restore volume and firmness to their faces. Facial fillers are generally a minimally invasive procedure with minimal downtime making it an appealing treatment option for those seeking relief from mild-moderate facial lines and a more youthful appearance.

Common dermal fillers such as Restylane®, Juvéderm®, and Sculptra® are made of a clear gel known as hyaluronic acid formulated specifically to act as your body’s own to restore fullness, definition, and eliminate fine facial lines.

Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in almost every cell of the body and helps your skin to stay hydrated and plump. As we age, our bodies may begin to produce less and less. Dermal fillers help to restore volume and fullness to your cheeks and lips by replacing volume lost underneath your skin to smooth out and lift the skin while helping you achieve a more youthful appearance.

It is a fairly easy cosmetic procedure typically performed in-office and considered minimally invasive as it does not involve any incisions. Before your procedure, a topical anesthetic, cold treatment, or local anesthetic can be applied to the area for patient comfort.

Depending on the targeted area and patient condition, your procedure may last anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour.

Patients may experience slight redness, swelling, tenderness, or itching around the treated area. This is a normal and expected side effect of treatment and should resolve within several days. Associated risks can include bruising, bleeding, infection, allergic reaction, and irregularities in the area.

The healing time varies from patient to patient, depending on the procedure. Some patients are able to return to work following treatment. However, if you have received several injections you may want to rest for the remainder of the day to allow some swelling to subside. It is important to refrain from touching the treated area for a minimum of six hours. Afterward, it can be gently washed with soap and water.

Full results are typically seen within a week or after the swelling subsides with results lasting anywhere from 6 to 18 months depending on the product used. However, dermal fillers that use hyaluronic acid are not a permanent filler, follow-up treatments may be necessary if you wish to maintain your results.

For more information on Botox and dermal fillers or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today.