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How Does BOTOX Work?

When some people hear about BOTOX® for the first time, they might feel afraid of it. This fear probably comes from not understanding what it’s made of, how it works, and its safety record.

BOTOX was first used for medical purposes to temporarily paralyze muscles in the eyelid (for excessive blinking), to correct lazy eye, and in the upper forehead to relieve migraine headaches. It was recently approved for overactive bladder.

In the 1980’s when doctors began noticing that patients’ wrinkles were dramatically faded after forehead injections, the pharmaceutical companies began to formulate BOTOX Cosmetic for anti-aging purposes.

How Does BOTOX Reduce Wrinkles?

So how does BOTOX work, you ask? It all comes down to molecules, muscles, and neurotransmitters. That may sound complicated, but it’s really simple when you break it down.

botox before and after

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  • BOTOX is made from the neurotoxin created by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This is the same neurotoxin that causes botulism food poisoning.
  • When injected into a facial muscle, it blocks the neurotransmitter signal from the nerve to the muscle.
  • With this signal blocked, the muscle never receives the “go ahead” to move, so it stays relaxed.
  • Without muscle contractions in facial areas where wrinkles are formed, the appearance of wrinkles is greatly diminished.
  • Over time (about 3-6 months for most people), the body removes the neurotoxin from the muscle and movement returns.

Click here to see a video showing how BOTOX works.

Where Can You Get BOTOX Injected?

BOTOX is FDA approved for injection into the crow’s feet area around the eyes as well as glabellar muscles between the eyes, also known as “elevens.” Because BOTOX is so effective and has an established safety record, many doctors inject it into other facial areas where muscle relaxation is desired.

Does BOTOX Hurt?

BOTOX injections use a small gauge needle, so it shouldn’t be painful. A pinching sensation and mild discomfort are usually what patients report. If one of our patients is afraid of needles or would prefer to be numbed, we can provide topical anesthetic gel to help.

woman getting botox injections in forehead

Getty Images – Canva – Model

After injections, the place where the needle entered the skin may be red, itchy, or swollen. Occasionally, some people may experience mild bruising. Usually, within a day or two, you won’t notice that you had the treatment.

Within several days after that, your treated facial muscles will begin to slow down and eventually stop moving wherever it was injected.

BOTOX in San Diego – Beatitude Aesthetic Medicine

My name is Dr. Aeria Chang, and I’ve been providing BOTOX, fillers, laser skin treatments, and more since 2008 when Beatitude Aesthetic Medicine first opened in 2008.

It is my joy to provide safe treatments with the most natural-looking results. My eye for symmetry and my gentle touch will give you something more to smile about when you look in the mirror. And boosting my patients’ confidence is the greatest reward I can imagine.

Give me a call today at (619) 280-1609 to schedule your first BOTOX treatment. We have an ongoing new client special. Just mention our “Feel Good Botox” special, and we’ll tell you all about it.


*BOTOX® and BOTOX® Cosmetic are registered trademarks of Allergan, Inc.

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.
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