Botox is the most frequently performed cosmetic procedure in United States with over 6 million procedures performed each year, according to figures from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Botox is commonly used to treat facial wrinkling – the forehead “frown lines” and the deep creases or “eleven” lines that develop between the eyebrows. Botox is also used to help eliminate the “crow’s feet” and fine wrinkles under the eyes and, in some cases, is used to help lessen the deep creases in the upper lip and those unsightly “bands” or “cords” in the neck. Its popularity continues to increase dramatically because treatment is a quick office procedure, there is literally no “down time” and results typically last four months.
But Botox is not being used just to treat wrinkles anymore. There also some other interesting uses for Botox that you might not be aware of:
- Treating migraine headaches (some studies show that Botox can be effective in up to 64 percent of cases)
- Reducing excessive sweating of the hands and underarm perspiration, which for some people can ruin clothes and be an odor problem
- Helping to reduce the redness, skin irritation, and blocked oil glands that can develop in some adults (Rosacea), according to recent studies
- Controlling pain after certain types of surgical procedures, according to use by some researchers
If you decide to try Botox to treat facial wrinkling, here are some tips that I share with my patients:
- For the first four hours after treatment, frown and squint – move those muscles you want to “turn off.” Research has shown that the medication is absorbed more effectively into muscles that are moving.
- You can reduce your chance of bruising after treatments by being off aspirin or aspirin-containing medications for at least five days before treatment. Also, stop taking herbs and vitamin compounds that start with the letter “g” — garlic, gingko, ginseng — as they can affect how your platelets work or cause additional bruising.
- Beware of “counterfeit Botox” from black market sources. The FDA has published a Consumer Alert to let people know that there can be problems with efficacy and possible contamination when people are treated with these cheaper “imitations.”
- And finally, be sure that the person treating you is properly trained and qualified – just because they have an “M.D.” or “D.O.” behind their name does not mean they have the knowledge or expertise you are looking for.
Bill Beeson, MD