8 things you didn’t know about botox, but probably should

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I’m not going to lie – when I hear the words ‘botox’ and ‘fillers’, images of trout pouts and botched face lifts spring to my mind.

Even though both treatments have become increasingly popular in recent years, I don’t actually know a lot about them beyond these misconceptions about beauty.

I suspect I’m not alone in my ignorance, which is why I decided to pick skin care expert Dr Van Park’s brains on the subject.

Below, she reveals eight rather interesting facts about botox and fillers…

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1. Botox has quite a history

According to Dr Park, “Botox has a long history and many uses that people are often unaware of.” It was first discovered in the 1820s, when Dr Justinus Kerner discovered a toxin (botulinum toxin type A) in meat while investigating a case of food poisoning. Later, in the 1980s, an ophthalmologist “used it to cure crossed eyes and realised it smoothed wrinkles in the process”.

2. Botox has multiple uses

Dr Park describes the treatment as “a jack of all trades”. According to the doc, “There are over 30 conditions in which botulinum toxin type A has been reported to be of benefit.” It can be used “in armpits to prevent excessive sweating”, as well as “to prevent chronic migraines and treat overactive bladders” – and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  

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3. Botox is also technically a brand name

According to Dr Park, in the same way “people refer to all adhesive bandages as Band-Aids, people tend to refer to all anti-wrinkle injections as botox” because it is also a trademarked brand name. But generally speaking, botox is just one of several products containing “a purified form of botulinum toxin type A” to treat wrinkles. Dysport and Xeomin can be “just as effective”.

4. Botox and fillers aren’t the same thing

Dr Park says, “Botox and fillers are commonly thought to be the same thing, [but] this is totally not true!” Botox is a muscle relaxant, while “soft tissue fillers such as Restylane and Emervel consist of a hyaluronic acid gel formulation [that is] injected into the skin tissue to restore lost volume and smooth wrinkles and lines.” So, in a nutshell, botox helps relax facial muscles, while fillers literally ‘fill’ and plump the skin.

5. Botox isn’t permanent

For aesthetic treatments, “Botulinum toxin type A is injected into targeted facial muscles responsible for lines, causing the muscles to relax so wrinkles cannot form in the skin lying above the muscle.” But it’s not a permanent fix: “After a few months, the nerve recovers as the botox wears off, meaning the muscles start moving again and wrinkles are visible.”

6. Botox ‘naturally’ wears off

Wondering where the botox goes after it’s worn off? According to the doc, the product is “a natural protein”, which means “it’s broken down in the body and naturally disappears” over time. Bye-bye, botox!

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7. Botox takes longer than fillers to have an effect

Once injected, “fillers begin working their magic instantly”, but botox treatments take “approximately 72 days to have full effect”. While “results vary from person to person”, fillers can last for up to 18 months, while botox typically wears off after four to five.

8. The procedure isn’t usually very painful

Worried about the pain factor? Dr Park says patients “typically associate the pain of dermal fillers with 2.5 on the ‘0-10 Pain Scale’.” The injection is usually “combined with lidocaine, which helps alleviate the pain associated with needle injections”. In some cases, doctors will also use a local anesthetic.

Were you surprised by any of these facts about botox and fillers? Are you concerned about lines and wrinkles?

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