Using Botox to help people appear younger, more relaxed, and more confident, is a technique that has been around for many years. It is such a popular treatment that Botox has become part of our modern language. Unfortunately this is a medicine that is greatly misunderstood. In situation comedies and feature films, Botox is shown as a drug that turns people’s faces into rigid, numb masks. Let me take a moment to show you that Botox, when used by properly trained practitioners, is a safe and elegant way to take years off your face.
Botox works by interfering with the way nerves talk to muscles. Why would that make a face look younger? There are a number of things that cause our faces to appear older. One of these, particularly in fair-skinned, blue-eyed people, is habitual movement. It turns out that blue and green eyes allow more light into the eye than brown eyes. As a result, blue and green eyed people learn very early to squint in bright light. In fact they learn it so well, that they squint even in subdued light; when they speak, smile, or just think. The problem is that as the years go on, the skin will thin wherever it is being repeatedly flexed by the muscle. This is what a wrinkle is: a line of thin skin caused by habitual movement.
The other thing that happens with this habitual movement is that the muscles doing the squinting get heavier, and more powerful (just like any other muscle that gets a lot of exercise). Over time, this causes the eyebrows to sit lower over the eyes. As this happens, the skin just under the eyebrow rolls down over the eyelid, causing it to hood over. To make matters worse, your brain will feel this skin resting on the eyelids, and want to lift the brow up to stop this. Now the person develops the habit of lifting their brow. This causes the wrinkles on the forehead.
So what started out as a funny little habit of squinting in childhood has become a collection of frown lines, crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles, and hooded eyelids! The face starts to look like a map, and that map is really a diagram of a lifelong tug-of-war between your facial muscles.
This is where Botox becomes a miracle treatment. We use Botox to selectively weaken certain muscles so that the tug of war stops. If we weaken the muscles that squint the eyebrows down, over time the eyebrows will rise to their younger position, the hooding will improve, and the forehead muscles will calm down. After a while the wrinkles soften, the eyes look rested and more open, and the face looks happy and confident. When properly done, Botox does not paralyze the face at all. Instead it simply takes away the habits of movement, while retaining the ability to move. Not a mask, but a younger more confident face.
For most people, Botox is a two to three times per year visit to the Plastic Surgeon. The visit usually takes about fifteen minutes, and you can return to your busy life immediately, without anyone noticing that you have done anything.
Botox is safe and effective, but the person applying it should be very familiar with the anatomy of the face. Check your doctor’s credentials, and find out who in the office is doing the actual injecting. You should also compare price. Ask what they charge per unit. Most treatments use between 25 and 50 units of Botox, and the price in most parts of the country is between $11 and $13 per unit.
Do your homework, and if you decide to try this treatment, be ready to be pleasantly surprised by the results! *
*Remember that individual results of surgery and other procedures like Botox will vary.
Here is a link to the official Botox website, where you can see photos of many different faces before and after Botox.