Since botulinum toxin treatment involves injections into the skin, many patients worry about what it feels like. This article will discuss Botox, how it works, how it feels, its common side effects, benefits and frequently asked questions about Botox injections.
Botulinum toxin acts as an anti-wrinkle treatment to enhance the appearance of a client. Botox involves the insertion of fine needles into the skin. Therefore, many clients may worry about how the treatment feels like. However, Botox is a safe and effective treatment when done by a professional. Patients may feel slight stinging as the aesthetic practitioner inserts the fine needles into the skin. This resolves immediately after the injection.After the aesthetic treatment, some patients experience tight sensations. However, these feelings often fade within 2 to 3 weeks as your muscles get used to this new relaxation. Read this article to understand more about botox and how it feels when done.
What Is Botox, and How Does It Work?
Botox is a trading name for Botulinum toxin (type A) derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum). C. botulinum occurs naturally in environmental settings such as lakes, soil, forests, some foods and the intestinal tracts of animals. Botulinum toxin is the protein neurotoxin popularly known for causing botulism. The toxin is extremely dangerous. Senel&Muslu (2020) stated that a single gram of botulinum toxin could kill over one million people if evenly dispersed and inhaled. However, manufacturers of Botox use minute quantities of highly purified botulinum toxin to make it therapeutically safe.
Botulinum toxin (Botox) is a neurotoxin. It cats on the nervous system by disrupting nerve-signalling processes, especially those stimulating muscle contractions. The brain sends nerve signals by releasing a chemical substance known as acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for causing muscle contractions. Constant movements and contractions of facial muscles cause the skin to fold and form wrinkles. When Botox is injected into the facial muscles, it blocks the release of acetylcholine, causing facial muscles to relax temporarily. This state is mostly referred to as temporal paralysis. With time, the appearance of facial wrinkles gradually disappears until the skin becomes smooth and more refreshed. Facial wrinkles begin to reappear once the effects of Botox injection wear off. Some patients often go for top-up treatments to maintain a youthful appearance.
What Does Botox Feel Like?
Once you receive Botox injections, you may feel slight stinging or pinching at the injected site. Typically, the injection is administered using small needles; therefore, the discomfort is mild. You may also feel slight heaviness in the injected area. However, it fades within a few minutes after the procedure. It is important to know that Botox injections do not work instantly as dermal fillers. So do not get surprised if you do not see any changes immediately after receiving Botox. Botulinum toxin takes time before it completely relaxes the muscle cells by inhibiting the release of acetylcholine. The treated area will look almost exactly how it looked before you received Botox injections. Some patients with sensitive skin may experience slight redness immediately after the injection.
Many patients notice results within the first seven days after treatment. Most clients report slightly noticeable changes in the injected area by day three after treatment. After the injection, you may have feelings of tightness or heavy sensation in the injected area. The sensations are more pronounced in Botox newbies than those who’ve already undergone the treatment. Botulinum toxin works by temporarily weakening muscle cells in the injected area. You may notice slight changes in how the injected area responds when making a range of facial expressions.
Within 3 to 4 weeks, you will notice a pronounced difference in the appearance of wrinkles in the injected area. Some patients may still be experiencing limited facial movement in the injected area, especially the Botox newbies.
Common Side Effects of Botox Injections
As with any medical procedure, Botox treatment has a few common side effects that usually subside within a few days. However, suppose you are getting treatment from a professional aesthetician and follow all their instructions. In that case, there is minimal chance of having any serious issues.
Bruising is a common side effect after Botox injections. However, it is usually mild and resolves within a few days. Patients can minimize the risk of bruising by avoiding certain things as instructed by the practitioner. For example, blood-thinning drugs, alcohol, intense heat and workouts, among other things, may increase the risk of prolonged bruising. Some over-the-counter medicines and supplements not prescribed by a doctor may also cause increased bruising. Patients should avoid taking them at least one week before and after Botox treatment to limit bruising. According to Contarino et al. (2017), other common side effects of Botox injections include:
- Drowsiness and dizziness
Benefits of Botox Injections
Smooth out Wrinkles
Botulinum toxin injections are primarily used to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles. According to Satriyasa (2019), Botox is a relatively safe treatment to moderate facial wrinkles for 3 to 6 months without causing adverse effects. Besides, Bach & Simman (2022)showed that Botox injections are FSA-approved for forehead wrinkles, lateral canthal and glabellar wrinkles.
It May Improve Anxiety and Related Disorders
Wollmer et al. (2021)investigated the therapeutic potentials of Botulinum toxin against incident anxiety. The study found that Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections were associated with a lower incidence of anxiety symptoms and related disorders than alternative treatments. Among the seven injection sites, the researcher found the toxin’s protective effect in cosmetic uses, migraines, spasms and spasticity, neck pain, and sialorrhea. The study concluded that these findings are encouraging for possible future randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on botulinum toxin(Botox) as a treatment for anxiety and related disorders.
Other Benefits of Botox
- Enhances natural beauty.
- There is no downtime needed after the treatment.
- Improves several health conditions, especially those linked to the neuromuscular system.
- The procedure is quick and minimally invasive.
- Botox treatment is not permanent. It is an excellent option for those who want to enhance their appearance without a long-term or permanent commitment, as in surgical cosmetic procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions about Botox
How Long Does Botox Last?
The results of Botox injections can last for 3 to 6 months, depending on the area being injected, individual metabolism and the number of Botox units used.
Who Should Not Get Botox Injections?
Not everyone can receive Botox injections. Patients with bleeding disorders, excessive muscle weakening, and skin sensitivity should not have Botox injections. Likewise, pregnant and breastfeeding patients should also not receive Botox treatment.
The feelings and sensations most patients experience after a Botox treatment are completely normal and a part of the treatment process. These feelings often become more pronounced if you are new to Botox and not used to such sensations. However, they usually fade within a few days, so there is nothing much to worry about. Botox is an approved drug and should be administered by a board-certified professional. Clients should ensure that they get their treatment from reputable and highly qualified aestheticians to minimize the risks of adverse effects and complications. Besides, following the aftercare instructions from the aesthetic practitioner helps clients to assess their progress and achieve their desired results.
Bach, K., & Simman, R. (2022). The Multispecialty Toxin: A Literature Review of Botulinum Toxin. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, 10(4).
Satriyasa, B. K. (2019). Botulinum toxin (Botox) A for reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles: a literature review of clinical use and pharmacological aspect. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 12, 223.
Şenel, E., & Muslu, Ü. (2020). Global trends of botulinum toxin literature: A bibliometric analysis of botulinum toxin publications between 1975 and 2017. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 13(2), 95.
Wollmer, M. A., Makunts, T., Krüger, T. H., & Abagyan, R. (2021). Postmarketing safety surveillance data reveals the protective effects of botulinum toxin injections against incident anxiety. Scientific reports, 11(1), 1-8.
Contarino, M. F., Van Den Dool, J., Balash, Y., Bhatia, K., Giladi, N., Koelman, J. H., … &Tijssen, M. A. (2017). Clinical practice: evidence-based recommendations for the treatment of cervical dystonia with botulinum toxin. Frontiers in neurology, 8, 35.