It's not surprising that we develop wrinkles, as we grow older. Every time we smile, frown, cry or laugh we make an imprint on our faces. If we're lucky, it takes years before we can visibly see the imprint. If we're not lucky, then the wrinkles are more obvious than we'd like. Whichever is the case, the wrinkles inevitably surfaces and when they do Botox is here to fight it.
Botox works hard to eliminate the wrinkles that occur when we use our face muscles too much. "I remember when I was growing up, my mother use to tell me not to frown. Never, ever did she tell me that I'd end up looking like this," says 55-year-old Gladys Rhome. Rhome had botox injected into the laugh lines around her mouth. She is very happy with her first treatment of Botox. Now, six months later she is coming back for more. "It helped me to get rid of lines around my mouth. It's time for me to get rid of the lines on my forehead as well, she laughs."
The FDA gave Botox the okay for use in April 2002. Since that time Botox has proven safe in getting rid of our most hated facial wrinkles.
I'm talking about wrinkles like the laugh lines Gladys Rhome suffered from as well as frown lines and crows feet. Doctors have been using Botox for more than ten years and so far they've seen no serious side effects. "I had a little swelling after my first treatment," says 42-year-old Sara McFarlane. She is a Botox pro. McFarlane has received three Botox injections in the last two years. She also plans on one day having a Botox party. Hosting a party is one of the ways some folks are spreading the good news about the wrinkle-crinkle Botox.
Whether you do it alone, or with a group of friends you would be surprised to see how relatively easy the procedure is. The Botox injection is placed directly into the face muscles that create wrinkles. "All I felt was a little pinch, then numbness. The numbness went away after a couple of days," says McFarlane. She may have gotten use to the numbness, but it's very hard to get use to not frowning.
Botox can prevent you from frowning and some people don't like that. However, most people can live with the side effect. "At first it was pretty odd, but I grew to accept it," says 44-year-old Rebecca Stanton. Stanton has used Botox on and off for the last three years. She's used it so much that she can't remember how many times she's been injected.
Botox took away Stanton's frown and it could take away yours as well. A tiny needle is used to place Botox in a muscle along the wrinkle line. A small amount of Botox basically renders the face muscles helpless. The amount is so small that you don't have to worry about it spreading through your body. Your lines will diminish and in some areas disappear altogether.
You may experience a little localized pain, tenderness and bruising in the aftermath of the injection. Your muscles in the vicinity of the injection may also be a little weak. However some people see this as a minor annoyance. You can see the affects of the injection right away. "It was great! I got my injection on a Saturday. I went to work on Monday and everyone was talking about how well rested I looked. I didn't tell them I got a Botox," says 31-year-old Jessica Lake.
The treatment lasts approximately three months to six months. Most people will need another injection after that time. You can repeat the injection as long as you don't have any serious side effects. The two good things about a Botox treatment are that it can be repeated as many times as you like. And, the treatment takes less than an hour. You can literally do it on a lunch break from work. In fact, doctors say the more treatments you have the longer the lasting effects seem to be.
Botox is used in extremely small amounts and does not spread throughout the body. An allergic reaction is not very common. However there is the possibility that you may have a problem with a droopy brow or eyelid. It is not a problem that will not correct itself over time. Botox can be used by almost anyone. However you should not use it if you're are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a neurological disease.
Dangers of Backstreet Botox
Bonnie Kaplan, 53, had a few wrinkles and she believed Botox was the answer.
Celebrities were endorsing it; many people were using it, and her friends were into it. What could possibly go wrong, she thought.
Without any hesitation, she visited a private clinic in Florida for some shots. Her dream was to be wrinkle-free. Little did she know her short visit would turn into a nightmare.
"The consequences were horrific. Thirty-six hours after the injections, Bonnie started to have problems breathing and was so weak she couldn't walk," reported Claire Coleman in the Daily Mail. "She was rushed to the hospital and, as botulism set in, her nerves were damaged. Within hours, her whole body was paralyzed," she continued.
Later, Kaplan would learn that the doctor she visited wasn't a dermatologist but an osteopath. To make matters worse, he had injected her with a different form of the botulinum toxin - one that was intended for lab research rather than for use in humans.
"Doctors think she may have received up to 2,500 times the amount of toxin believed to be lethal if injected into the bloodstream," Coleman wrote. "After spending months in hospital, breathing with the help of a ventilator and unable to speak, Bonnie was eventually able to move around in a wheelchair, but doctors warned that the possibility of a full recovery was slim and could take years," she added.
Kaplan wasn't the only person to take the deadly injections. Her husband Eric, 52, also received the shots. So did the doctor himself Bach McComb, 47, and his girlfriend Alma Hall, 34. All three were hospitalized.
Authorities are worried that what happened to Kaplan and the three others could also be happening to other people this very minute. As the popularity of Botox grows and treatments become more accessible, who is to stop any Tom, Dick or Harry from giving you a shot?
"It is not adequate to blindly stick a needle in someone's face with scant knowledge of the potential risks that can include facial necrosis or disfigurement," according to John Curran, chair of the British Association of Cosmetics Doctors (BACD).
But doctors said that is exactly what's happening today due to lax regulations that can easily be bypassed by enterprising individuals out to make a fast buck at the expense of others. Coleman pointed out that while Botox is a prescription drug that can only be obtained by a doctor, anyone can inject it under the guidance of a doctor.
"If I decided to set up a salon offering Botox and filler shots to the public at $150 a time, all I need to do is find a doctor prepared to give or sell me Botox and show me how to inject it. Then, despite the fact I have absolutely no medical training, I would be acting within the law. But even if I couldn't find an accommodating doctor, the widespread availability of Botox and other injectable products on the internet means that I could get my hands on pretty much anything I needed," Coleman explained.
Until more stringent laws are passed and the industry learns to regulate itself, your best bet is to get Botox injections from a qualified doctor. Don't be ashamed to check your doctor's credentials since your face is on the line and things could get ugly if you're not careful.
Another alternative is to use a product that works like Botox minus the side effects. One popular brand is the Rejuvinol AM/PM Botox Alternative Age-Defying System. This anti-aging system has two powerful components: the Rejuvinol morning moisturizer that creates firmer, healthier, and younger-looking skin; and the Rejuvox night cream that reduces fine lines and wrinkles.