Botox is probably a word you’ve heard thrown around a lot, but unless you’ve had it done yourself or you know someone who has had Botox treatments, you may not have a great idea of what it is or what it can do. When you’re dealing with signs of aging and want to help improve the overall look and feeling of your skin, Botox can go a long way toward helping you get back that youthful appearance you’re looking for, even if you’ve already made it to your “golden years.” But, as with any type of aesthetic treatment, it’s a good idea to know a little bit about what you’re considering before you make any final decisions.

What is Botox?

Botox is a type of drug that is made from the toxin that causes botulism. In very minimal amounts, this toxin can actually be used to treat several different conditions, including migraines, overactive bladder, some eye issues, and fine lines and wrinkles in your face.

The drug is administered through injections that paralyze muscles or block nerves as needed depending on the purpose of the Botox treatment. This will cause wrinkles to stop forming in the treated area, and it will help smooth over the wrinkles that are already present there. It can last anywhere from three months to a year, depending on your individual response to the procedure, but it will have to be repeated if you want to keep up the look over time.

What is the Botox procedure?

The procedure is actually not very invasive even though it sounds a little uncomfortable to think about having injections in your face. Patients receiving Botox injections don’t have anesthesia and the injections can be performed in only just a few minutes. A very thin, fine needle is inserted into the muscles that are responsible for the wrinkles and the Botox is injected. You may receive a couple of injections in one visit, depending on your needs and specifics, but you may only receive one.

You should be able to go about your day normally after your injection. You may need to take an over-the-counter painkiller to deal with mild discomfort from the injection site. It will take a few days for the effects to be visible.

What are the risks associated with Botox?

Many people who receive Botox injections report experiencing negative side effects. It’s important to weigh your options and try to decide if you’re willing to handle the side effects that you may experience when you go through this procedure yourself. Risks may include:

Drooping eyelids: This is very common after Botox and should go away in a short while. If it doesn’t go away, be sure to speak with your doctor as soon as possible.

Flu symptoms: As your body adjusts to the presence of the toxin, you may have some flu-like symptoms or feel generally run down for a couple of days.

Drooling: Some patients have problems with drooling due to the paralysis of some facial muscles after injections.

Rarely, botulism: It is possible for this procedure to cause botulism, although it is very rare.

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