How we feel shows on our face like nowhere else. Joy, excitement, exhaustion, worry—each results from of a symphony of minute contractions that arrange the facial skin to show the right emotion.
When we’re young and the skin is resilient, this system works fine. As we age, however, the skin becomes less elastic, even as certain expressions and tics become habitual. Even after the muscles relax from a frown or expression of concern, the creases and folds begin to fade more slowly than before. Smile lines remain even when the happiness has passed. When lines become permanent we call them wrinkles, and the person in the mirror may start feeling hard to recognize.
Botox is the most popular non-surgical treatment for the creasing, wrinkles and crows’ feet that begin to affect our faces as age. It is quick, convenient, painless and remarkably effective at restoring a clear, smooth and unlined expression.
The botulinum protein occurs naturally in the organism clostridium botulinum. Injected in minuscule amounts at key sites in the affected areas, it causes paralysis in the microscopic muscles whose contractions are responsible for creased skin. As the muscles relax, the skin is able to return to its smooth, resting state. Gradually a lustrous, youthful appearance begins to return.
Botox is used for a number of therapies in which muscle relaxation is required. Since it affects only muscle tissue and not the nervous system, it produces no loss of sensation, and in the tiny quantities used for cosmetic therapy it is harmless even over the course of several treatments. Once it has fully taken effect it can last up to seven months, and as facial muscles are released from habitual stress responses, the effect can be prolonged even more.
Unlike surgical treatments for aging appearance, Botox is minimally invasive, requiring only a brief office visit for each treatment and allowing you to resume your activities immediately. The hairline needles used can produce occasional, slight bruising around injection sites, and this is easily covered with a small amount of makeup.
If you’ve become concerned about your appearance and think Botox might be right for you, consult your doctor. Medical evaluation is necessary before treatment can begin, since everyone is different, and it’s always important to make sure a given treatment will be safe and effective in your unique case.