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A Guide On Botox


BOTOX is an anti-aging substance that can help you look younger, both now and in the future. For many women and men, BOTOX is a regular part of their anti-aging regimen. It is the most popular cosmetic procedure performed in the United States. Learn more about this effective injectable and see if it might be right for you.

What is BOTOX?

BOTOX is made from a neurotoxin called onabotulinumtoxin A, which is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This is the same toxin that causes botulism (a form of food poisoning). For cosmetic purposes, the toxin is purified for safety and injected into facial muscles for anti-aging purposes. Doctors also use BOTOX for certain medical treatments such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), migraine headaches, or urinary incontinence.

What Does BOTOX Do?

BOTOX is a liquid that is injected into facial muscles to temporarily paralyze them. When facial muscles are paralyzed, the skin above the muscle is unable to move. This reduces the appearance of existing wrinkles and helps prevent new ones from forming.

How Does BOTOX Work?

When muscles contract, they must first receive chemical “messages” from the nerves. Acetylcholine (ACH) is the chemical messenger molecule responsible for muscle contractions. When BOTOX has been injected into a muscle, it blocks ACH from telling the nerve to contract. This results in the muscle not receiving the message and never contracting.

What is BOTOX Made of?

BOTOX is made from the botulinum toxin, which is produced by the same bacteria (C. botulinum) that causes botulism. However, when injected into the muscle, the toxin stays contained in the muscle for a period of time. BOTOX rarely causes serious side effects.

Is BOTOX Safe?

BOTOX is safe and has been approved by the FDA for injection into facial muscles for cosmetic purposes. Mild side effects at the injection site such as redness, soreness, and swelling can occur immediately after injection. Serious side effects are rare but should still be considered before getting BOTOX injections.

Does BOTOX Hurt?

BOTOX injections use short needles with a small gauge (width) for maximum comfort during injection. Most people report feeling a slight “pinching” in the muscle during injection, but overall, injections are well tolerated.

How Long Does it Take for BOTOX to Work?

BOTOX needs time to reach all areas of the muscle where it has been injected. How long it takes depends on a person’s body and how fast the muscle tissue allows the BOTOX to penetrate the nerve fibers. Some people notice positive results within a few days, with full effects being reached by the majority of individuals anywhere between 5-7 days after injection.

Can You Exercise After BOTOX?

Exercising immediately after your BOTOX treatments is not a good idea. Your doctor will advise you to avoid working out for at least 4 hours; some doctors advise waiting 24 hours. Taking it easy will help the BOTOX to stay in the muscle where it was injected so that it does not spread to surrounding muscles.

What Not to Do After BOTOX

BOTOX injections serve the purpose of temporarily paralyzing specific facial muscles. Immediately after injection, it is important to avoid certain things so that the treated muscles can absorb the BOTOX without it spreading to unwanted areas. Avoid touching your face, working out, going in the sun, or bending over for at least 4 hours after injections.

How Long Does BOTOX Last?

How long BOTOX lasts depends on each person’s metabolism. In other words, one person’s body may remove BOTOX from muscles much faster than another person’s body does. BOTOX injections can last anywhere from 3 to 12 months before additional injections are needed.

How Much Does BOTOX Cost?

The cost of BOTOX depends on how many facial areas are being treated, what area you live in, and who is injecting you. BOTOX (by-the-unit) costs anywhere from $10-$25. Some providers charge by the facial area. If you live in a rural area, you may pay less than someone who lives in a metropolitan area. Additionally, if a doctor is injecting you, they may charge more than a nurse or physician’s assistant.

How Much is BOTOX Per Unit?

BOTOX is sold by the unit. Each facial area has a recommended number of units for optimal results. BOTOX can cost as little as $10 per unit and as much as $25 per unit. If you live in a highly populated city, you may pay more than someone who lives in a small town.

How Many Units of BOTOX Do I Need?

  • “Elevens” between the eyes (glabellar muscles) = up to 20 units
  • “Crow’s feet” around the eyes (orbicularis oculi muscles) = up to 12 units per side
  • Forehead lines = up to 20 units
  • Forehead lines + glabellar lines = up to 44 units
  • BOTOX can also be injected into the area above the eyebrows for a lifted effect

*Your doctor will ultimately decide how many units you need to achieve optimal results.

Can You Get BOTOX While Pregnant?

Not recommended. BOTOX injections are generally not recommended during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. For example, if a pregnant woman is experiencing severe migraine headaches that could be reduced with BOTOX injections, the doctor may decide to provide this treatment. Ask your doctor for full disclosure of potential risks and side effects.

Can You Get BOTOX While Breastfeeding?

Not recommended. Studies have failed to determine if BOTOX affects milk production or can be passed through breast milk to the infant. Until conclusive evidence suggests that BOTOX is safe while breastfeeding, BOTOX should be avoided. If the benefits outweigh the risks (i.e., BOTOX for migraines), your doctor may suggest BOTOX to reduce the severity and frequency of your headaches.

Where to Get BOTOX

Only an experienced and qualified injector should inject BOTOX. Preferably, choose a physician (with “MD” in their title) because they are more likely to have the skills and expertise needed to provide safe BOTOX injections.

Dr. Aeria Chang, MD, is a San Diego based aesthetic medicine doctor and Allergan Platinum Injector of BOTOX Cosmetic. This means that she is in the top 5% of the country when it comes to the high number of injections she performs each year. Book your consultation and treatment today by calling Dr. Chang at (619) 280-1609.

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Patient Stories Dr. Chang has an eye for symmetry and aesthetics. I went in for a consultation to have fillers under my eyes. Instead I was educated on my facial anatomy. I agreed to some fillers in my forehead and cheeks instead and could not be more pleased with the outcome.