Currently I’m a big proponent of Botox and have Botox injections, but it’s a serious beauty treatment, and there are several things you should know before you get it. More than 30 years ago, Botox was originally used to treat crossed eyes and twitching eyes, and it’s even been used in children with Cerebral Palsy. In 2002 Botox Cosmetic gained FDA approval for use in the forehead to treat wrinkles. Botox works by disabling nerves from telling your muscles to contract, which is what create certain wrinkles – the ones between your eyes, in your forehead, and around your eyes. Here’s what you should know about Botox:
Make sure you are receiving Botox Cosmetic
Currently, Botox Cosmetic is the only Botulinum toxin A that is FDA approved for cosmetic use. Before you receive your treatment, don’t hesitate to ask to see the box and bottle of the Botox, to confirm that it’s the real thing. Of course, an unscrupulous person could always put something other than Botox Cosmetic in the bottle, so you need to make sure you are at a trustworthy practice. If you’ve heard about the deaths or paralysis of people that had Botox injections, they were not injected with Botox Cosmetic. Here in Nevada, a doctor has recently been accused of injecting his patients with something other than Botox Cosmetic, but telling them it was the real thing, and he faces serious jail time if he’s found guilty.
Botox Cosmetic is not cheap
Allergan, the maker of Botox Cosmetic, currently charges all of its buyers $505 per 100 unit vial. That means a Medical Spa or Doctor is paying $5.05 per unit of Botox, plus they need to pay the injector, the rest of the staff, and all the bills that go along with running a medical establishment. So if you see Botox specials at places for $99, or $6 a unit, you probably aren’t going to get a good treatment! At the Medical Spa I worked at, we would charge between $9.50 and $13 a unit, depending on the special we were running. I personally got 35 units, which covered my forehead, between my eyes, and around my eyes. That’s about $350. Most of our clients got between 20 and 80 units, depending on the severity of their wrinkles.
Botox injections require skill and practice
In Nevada, you only need to be a Medical Assistant to inject Botox. In other states, you must be a Nurse or Doctor, however any type of Doctor can take a weekend course in Botox and then be able to inject it. Just because a Doctor is doing your treatment doesn’t mean you will get good results. Botox must be injected very precisely, and skill and practice are necessary for good results. When I got my Botox at the Medical Spa I worked at, my treatments were done by a Medical Assistant, yet she had been doing injections for several years, was trained by Allergan, and she had worked on hundreds and hundreds of happy clients. I saw Doctors that were affiliated with the Spa that didn’t provide the best results to clients, and the clients were happier with the Medical Assistant. Also, at the Medical Spa, one Medical Assistant literally had a week of training before she was injecting clients!!! That freaked me out. Read about my Insider Guide to Medical Spas here. Ask for referrals from your friends, ask a place to see before and after pictures, ask how long the person has been doing injections, and check with the Better Business Bureau before choosing an establishment. The official Botox website also has a list of Doctors with whom they are affiliated.
On a side note, I saw great results with the 35 units the Medical Assistant recommended, however when I asked another doctor and a nurse how many units they thought I needed, they both said 60. I’m not exactly sure what to make of that.
Ask if the results are guaranteed
While every patient is different and won’t get the same exact results, there are several factors that can effect your treatment. Botox needs to be mixed with sterile saline, but some unscrupulous places may dilute the Botox too much, which can make it less effective, or it can wear off faster. Botox also needs to be used within a few days after it’s mixed, so if you aren’t getting fresh Botox, you might not get good results. You also want to get an ample amount of units, so it’s best to pay per unit, rather than per area. Some place may charge $99 an area, but who knows how much Botox they are injecting. You need to tell a skilled injector what results you are hoping to achieve, and you need to let him or her decide how many units you will need to achieve those results. If you only have $100 and want “some” Botox, save your money til you can afford to get the units you need. If you are being treated at a reputable place, you should be really happy with your results. But see if you can get some sort of guarantee in writing, so that you don’t get Botox that fades after two weeks, and you’re out a lot of money.
Continued use of Botox and Side Effects
Since Botox Cosmetic hasn’t been around that long, no one really knows what its long term effects will be. It’s recommended to get Botox every 3-4 months, although with continued use, you should need it less often, and may need less units to achieve the same results. But if you continually get it, who knows how it will effect your looks in 10, 20, 30 years. That scares me a bit! Make sure to tell your Botox provider what medications you are on before the treatment, and don’t drink alcohol before the treatment. Botox parties may be fun (if you get a skilled injector) but you don’t want to be drinking at them! Don’t lie down for 4 hours after the injections, and don’t rub your face. The good thing about Botox is that while you have it, it will prevent your wrinkles from getting worse, so you are sort of stopping the clock. However, if you stop getting it, the wrinkles you had before will come back, and it will be like you never had the treatment.