Did you know that Botox is more than a cosmetic procedure to make the skin of the rich and famous more youthful? Before it was a popular skin procedure, Botox became available in Canada as a treatment for crossed eyes (strabismus) and uncontrolled blinking (blepharospasm). Eye specialists or ophthalmologists have come to rely on Botox to help patients improve their vision and quality of life, both cosmetically and functionally.
In this article, we explore the uses of Botox for cosmetic and esthetic purposes, especially related to the area around our eyes (oculofacial area).
WHAT IS BOTOX?
Botox is a purified, naturally-derived chemical that comes from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum (or C.botulinum). It is the bacteria that produces Botox, or botulinum toxin, which cause botulism, an illness where the muscles of the body are paralyzed. There are different types or strains of C. botulinum, but only two are medically used.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BOTOX?
In terms of esthetics, Botox is great for temporarily reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also an easy and relatively inexpensive way to improve your appearance without having plastic surgery, such as a facelift.
HOW DOES COSMETIC BOTOX WORK?
The botulinum toxin targets the ends of the nerves and prevents the nerves from communicating with the muscles, which then reduces muscle activity. The toxin also interferes with body chemicals that normally contribute to pain and inflammation, which means it’s useful to treat other medical problems, such as migraines.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER DRUGS SIMILAR TO BOTOX?
Botox, manufactured by the drug company Allergan, falls under a class of drugs called neuromodulators, or drugs that change how the nerves work. Some medical professionals offer other types of neuromodulators that work similarly to Botox, like Xeomin and Dysport. These drugs will last about 3-6 months when injected for cosmetic and esthetic reasons.
At Fraser Valley Cataract and Laser, our doctors only use Botox.
WHAT DOES BOTOX CORRECT?
Since Botox works by limiting how the nerves talk with muscles, only wrinkles caused by muscle movement can be temporarily affected by Botox. Botox is effective for people who want to correct for expression lines, which are usually in the upper face, such as the between the brows, horizontal forehead lines, and crow’s feet around the eyes. Basically, any lines that show up when you smile, laugh, frown, or squint.
Static wrinkles caused by sagging or loss of plumpness in the face will not be affected by Botox. Most of these static wrinkles will appear in the cheeks, necks, and jowls.
HOW LONG DO THE EFFECTS OF BOTOX LAST?
The effects of Botox are not permanent but usually last from 3-6 months. After this time, the effects of Botox wear off and wrinkles will reappear. You can choose to have more Botox re-injected into your face, which will last another 3-6 months.
WHAT AREAS OF THE FACE CAN BOTOX BE INJECTED?
Botox can be injected throughout the face, but more often injected into the eye area, forehead, and glabella area (between the eyebrows). These are the parts of the face are where wrinkles are caused by muscle movement.
HOW MUCH BOTOX IS NEEDED?
The amount of Botox needed depends on the injection area. It’s also different for each person because everyone reacts differently to the drug. At Fraser Valley Cataract and Laser, we charge patients by unit so you only pay for the number of units you need to achieve the cosmetic effect you want.
HOW SAFE IS BOTOX?
Generally speaking, Botox is very safe. It has been safely used in ophthalmology, esthetics, and other medical treatments for almost 19 years. Since its introduction in 2002 as a cosmetic alternative, Botox has been used by over 11 million Americans.
Of course, as with any drug, Botox can cause side-effects. These often include:
- Drooping of the eyelid or brow if the Botox is injected near the eye
- Weakness or paralysis of surrounding muscles
- Allergic reactions
- Muscle weakness and stiffness
- Blurred vision
- Pain, bleeding, bruising, swelling, numbness, or redness near the injection area
Always consult with a medical professional like our ophthalmologists about the side effects of Botox or any other drug prior to using it.
WHY CHOOSE AN EYE DOCTOR FOR COSMETIC BOTOX?
As Botox and other neuromodulators have grown in popularity, so has the number of medical professionals that offer Botox injections. In BC, only physicians, dental surgeons, some nurses, and naturopaths with additional certification in esthetic procedures, are allowed to inject Botox and other neuromodulators.
If you’re looking to get Botox in and around your eye or brow area, we highly recommend consulting with a doctor, such as an eye doctor or ophthalmologist, who’s familiar with this area of the face. The face is a sensitive part of the body with a vast network of muscle, nerves, and blood vessels so it’s important that whoever is injecting Botox in this area, knows your facial anatomy so that you reduce the risk of complications. Even though Botox is a commonly used drug, it’s important to make sure it’s used properly.
At Fraser Valley Cataract and Laser, we have two eye specialists who have completed additional training on injecting Botox for cosmetic purposes, specifically around the eyes, brows, and forehead areas. Contact us to book an appointment with Dr. Ekhlassi or Dr. Moosbrugger if you’re thinking about adding Botox to your cosmetic routine.