How long does Botox last, and what is it?
OnobotulinumtoxinA is the name of the poison used in Botox injections (a purified form of the botulinum toxin, which is produced by a certain type of bacteria). “Botox injections block certain chemical signals from nerves,” says the Mayo Clinic. These are mostly signals that tell muscles to contract. This relaxes the muscles and, in a sense, “freezes” them so that you don’t move your face too much, which can cause lines and wrinkles.
Depending on how quickly your body breaks down the drug, a Botox injection usually lasts between three and six months. One to three days after getting the shot, you should start to see results.
How safe is Botox?
Dr. Lam says that the Botox brand has been around since the early 1990s. Botulinum toxin, on the other hand, has been around since the 1970s. In 2002, the FDA said it could be used as a cosmetic. Before that, it had been used in clinics and off-label for almost a decade. “People worry about side effects because they hear the word “toxin,” but what’s injected is a very pure protein,” says Dr. Lam.
Not only is it used for looks, but it also has other uses. It is also used to treat esophageal problems and cerebral palsy, among other things. “It’s very safe and has few side effects if you go to the right injector and do the right things afterward,” he says.
How long do fillers last, and what are they?
Most dermal fillers are made of hyaluronic acid gel, but collagen and other natural and man-made materials can also be used. Due to a natural decrease in hyaluronic acid and collagen, our faces start to lose volume as we get older. Fillers can help bring back some of this volume and smooth out wrinkles. Depending on the type of filler used, they can last anywhere from a few months to a whole year.
Before getting Botox or fillers, there are 5 things to think about.
Even though injections aren’t thought to be dangerous, you should still think before you pull the trigger. If you’re still not sure, here are some things to think about!
1. Make sure that Botox or fillers will give you exactly what you want.
“What bothers you about your face, and what do you want to change?” This is the first thing I ask a person who is thinking about Botox or fillers. People often mention problems like dull skin, bumpy skin, large pores that get clogged, or brown spots. Even though these are bothersome, Botox or fillers aren’t the best way to fix them.
The other answer I hear is, “I look older, and I feel like I should do something about it,” or “I’ve recently noticed X, and it really bothers me.” When someone gives this kind of answer, especially if they are 35 or older, I’m more likely to suggest injectables.
There’s nothing wrong with doing something about something that really bothers you as you get older. At this point, I’ll get a mirror and ask the client to show me what about their face is bothering them. This process could help us find out that Botox or fillers can help with some of these things. This includes deep lines, a thin upper lip, lines under the eyes, and dark circles around the eyes caused by sunken eyes.
2. Think of other options besides Botox and fillers
Depending on your goals, there are many other treatments that can make the skin look brighter, smoother, clearer, and tighter. The best way to know if one of these options will work for you is to talk to a doctor or esthetician who has done it before.
- Anyone who wants to turn back the clock on their skin should start with retinol or retinoids. Read this guide to retinol and retinoids for beginners.
- Chemical peels, whether done by a professional or at home, can make a big difference in the texture and brightness of the skin.
- Laser treatments can help with a lot of things, like making collagen and smoothing out the skin.
- Radiofrequency and ultrasound are both great ways to tighten skin without cutting into it.
- At certain wavelengths, LED therapy can also help build collagen.
3. Find a trustworthy doctor who looks out for your best interests.
If you decide to do it, the best way to make sure you get the results you want is to talk to a good doctor with a lot of experience.
When I hear someone say, “My doctor thinks I would benefit from a little filler,” I have mixed feelings. First of all, when we feel insecure, it’s easy for other people to influence us, and doctors know this all too well. Some doctors are trying hard to add more cosmetic procedures to their practices because they can make a lot of money. This means that they might be trying to get patients to have these procedures done for the wrong reasons. I really wish this wasn’t true, but it sometimes is.
Many people also think that injections don’t have any risks because they don’t hurt you. Side effects from a licensed injector are rare, but they can happen. Because of this, it’s very important to see a doctor who is licensed and trained to deal with any possible side effects.
It’s all about trust, so the key is to find someone who makes you feel comfortable, listens carefully to your goals and concerns, and doesn’t pressure you. Make sure that whoever you go to really gets what you want to look like.
4. After 45, you might want to think about other ways to look good.
People over 40 often say, “I’m losing tone, but I don’t want a facelift because it would cut my skin.”
Many doctors are recommending Botox and fillers instead of traditional facelifts because they are less invasive ways to reshape, plump up, and tighten the skin. From my own experience, I know that injectables and technologies like radiofrequency or lasers can keep things together for a while. But there are times when a traditional facelift or neck lift is the best way for people to get the results they want. Fillers and lasers can make loose skin look tight again, but it can be hard to do so in a way that looks natural. Noninvasive treatments don’t always work, so it’s important to think about all of your options and get more than one opinion from an experienced doctor.
5. Make sure you're getting Botox and fillers for the right reasons.
When I ask someone why they want Botox or fillers, I pay close attention to what made them think of it in the first place. All of these answers should be warning signs:
“X was done to my friend, and it looks great!”
“My doctor or nurse told me to do X.”
“I heard that a famous person did this and now looks great for their age.”
People in their 20s and 30s give these answers most often. Many people will get the idea after seeing a friend or celebrity who had something done. These answers are red flags because I want to know how they feel about their own looks, not what a friend or celebrity does to their face. I often find that many young people don’t have any problem with their faces; they just have FOMO and want to be part of the latest trend. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten people to really think about why they want to do these kinds of things, only for them to realize that they’re making a problem where there wasn’t one before.
If I hear one of these red flag answers, I’ll always ask, “When you look in the mirror, are you upset with what you see?” An esthetician may need to act as a counselor to help a client figure out what’s really going on. When a client realizes that something else in their life is making them unhappy, they often decide that a cosmetic procedure isn’t the answer. I’ve had clients who realized that what they really needed was to go back to therapy to work on accepting themselves.
At the end of the day, the best advice I can give is to do it for YOU. Don’t do something just because you think that’s what other people want you to do.
What's Been Done to Me
People are always interested in what I do, and I’m not afraid to tell them (I’m 53, by the way.) I get Botox around my eyes, between my brows, and a little bit on my forehead. And I like the result a lot. I live in Austin, but I fly up to Bergen County every three to four months to see my friend Dr. Galope. He is so good and I trust him so much.
About a year ago, he got me to get filler, which was something I had never done before. (I was so scared because we’ve all seen people with puffy faces after getting filler!) He put it on my face near the sides. It was such a small change, but it made a big difference. It made my face look shorter and a bit rounder. He also put a tiny bit of filler on my lips a few months ago. I was so nervous, but I also really liked that. So, all in all, I’m playing around with Botox and fillers with the help of a doctor I trust to keep me looking like me!
Besides all of that, I’m obviously most concerned with good skin care. I try to do everything I can to give my skin a smooth, even texture with pores that look small. I’m not trying to get rid of every line and wrinkle. After all, I’ll never win this battle (even with fillers and Botox.) I’m not willing to go to great lengths to look like I’m 25. Since I was 28, I’ve used sunscreen as a moisturizer every day, and since I was 41, I’ve used a retinol serum. Both of these have changed the way I do things.
If you don’t get Botox and fillers, you’re not missing out on anything. But if you think they’ll make you happier and more sure of yourself, then do it! Just make sure to find a doctor you can trust and who can help you get what you want.