Botox may still be a very new cosmetic procedure in this country, but its fast gaining popularity.
A recent study suggests women who get Botox starting in their late 20s develop fewer wrinkles than women who age naturally. The American study used twins in their experiment, and found that the twin who got Botox injections in her mid-20s developed fewer lines than her sister.
What is Botox?
Botox® is a trade name for botulinum toxin A. In this way, Botox® is related to botulism. Botulism is a form of food poisoning that occurs when someone eats something containing a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum toxin A is one of the neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum.
How does it work?
Botox works by blocking the release of neurotransmitter (molecules that transmit signals between nerves and muscles) at the junction between the nerve and muscle. When this process is blocked, the muscle cannot contract in response to a nerve signal, and therefore, the muscle activity is minimized.
So what does this have to do with looking younger?
As the muscle under the skin contracts, the skin folds into a crease. Try it; raise your eyebrows. The lines running across your forehead are forming because you are using your forehead muscle to lift your eyebrows. When we are young, the skin bounces back as if nothing happened.
As we age, the elasticity of the skin diminishes and after years of continuous muscle activity, the lines start to remain present even after you stop contracting the muscle.
Botox plays two basic roles in anti-aging and cosmetic surgery.
If you don’t like the lines between the eyebrows, then Botox will soften them by relaxing the muscle around the area.
Advantages of Botox
Aging of the upper face, forehead, glabella (region between the eyes and eyebrows) and crows feet (laugh lines around the sides of the eyes), is the most difficult to treat with creams, once the wrinkles transition from dynamic to static. This may be the most important benefit of Botox. It’s less invasive than a face lift and the results are immediate. When one receives a facelift, she can expect to have bandages on her face for several days along with bruising, swelling and stitches. It might be a couple of months before she’s able to look in the mirror without seeing the effects of her plastic surgery. With Botox, the swelling goes down within a day or two, and while a prick from the needle is visible immediately after having the Botox administered, most of the evidence is gone within twenty four hours.
Another advantage of botox is that, although it is a poison, there have been no reported significant side-effects from its cosmetic use. The typical adverse effects seen have been largely due to misplacement of the needle by an inexperienced doctor. This results in facial asymmetry, where the face is distorted by a saggier/higher eyebrow or eyelid than the other.
Yet another advantage of Botox treatment is that it typically lasts up to 4 months! Asking for a smaller dose initially may however be wise, in case you don’t get a good result!
How much does it cost?
The cost of a Botox treatment may not be a safeguard against its being improperly administered. In Kenya the price is high because there is so far very little demand for the treatments. They range between KES 20,000 – 30,000.
As a general consideration, the more Botox is injected, the more ‘frozen’ the muscles are, and the longer the effects last. Many patients don’t like the ‘frozen’ look. In some practices facial surgeons inject a minimal amount to get the desired effect. Remember, if you are charged by the unit, you will get what you pay for. If you get flooded with Botox, not only will you not know what is the least amount it takes to get the desired effect, but you will also end up paying more than you should. The definition of the ideal amount is one that will allow slight movement, so that the ‘frozen area’ looks natural. Look, then, for an experienced doctor, for to find this balance in a client takes art as well as experience.
Do NOT have Botox treatment if…
– you are allergic to any of the ingredients
– you have an infection where botox will be injected
– you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant
– you have a neurological disorder
For more information, visit Dr Pancholi at First Laser Skin Center, 3rd Floor Yaya Centre. Tel nos: 3862661 / 0727734300 / 0733600248