Botulinum toxin (botox) is a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and is to treat a wide range of medical conditions including muscle spasms, excessive sweating, eyelid spasms, migraines and teeth grinding.  It can also be used for cosmetically to reduce and prevent facial wrinkles.  The commercial form is marked under brand names such as Botox®Dysport®, and Xeomin®.

While many of you have tried botox and seen first hand how great it can be, a majority of you might be apprehensive about trying it.  I’m here to break down some common misconceptions about botox treatments to give you the truth about botox.

MYTH #1: Getting botox will make me look like [insert name of celebrity with awful plastic surgery]​​

TRUTH: Botox does not drastically alter your appearance!  At best, botox can make you look well rested and may take 5 years off of your natural age.  Those photos of botched celebrity faces are due to a combination of surgery and injections.

MYTH #2: Botox will get rid of all of my wrinkles

TRUTH: Botox can soften the appearance of wrinkles such as those on the forehead, crows feet, and lips; however, a single botox treatment will NOT magically get rid of those pesky wrinkles, especially if they are deeply set.  Fine lines and lines that appear with facial muscle movement (think lines appearing on the forehead when you raise your eyebrows or crows feet showing up when you smile) can definitely improve with botox.  But if you have deep wrinkles, then you’ll likely need a combination of botox and fillers to fully treat them.  In fact, some of my patients want to KEEP their wrinkles but just improve on what they have.   Botox injections can help them do just that – the injections help to prevent wrinkles from getting deeper, but allows someone to maintain their true identity.

MYTH #3: You don’t need botox unless you have wrinkles

TRUTH: Botox can be used to PREVENT wrinkles! Take a look at your parents and examine their facial wrinkles.  Do they have deep set forehead lines?  Do they have crows feet for days?  Then you may be destined for the same fate.  Starting botox treatments before wrinkles appears can keep you looking young.  Don’t wait until you have deep set lines to start getting botox (see Myth #2).

MYTH #4: Once you start, you can’t stop

TRUTH:  Nothing horrible happens if you try botox injections once and then decide you don’t want to do it again.  While the effect of botox only lasts for 3-4 months, once the effect wears off, your muscles gradually regain their pre-botox strength and movement.  However, most people love their post-botox look so much that they choose to continue getting treatments.

MYTH #5: Botox is only for women

TRUTH: Botox can be used for both men and women!  While the botox market consists mostly of women, there is a growing number of men who are getting botox treatments.  While it is customarily thought as distinguished for men to have wrinkles (see: George Clooney), many men are opting to get botox injections to soften those lines. I find it is especially important for those men who are competing with the younger generation for jobs and promotions.  Relaxing the muscles in the glabellar area can allow a person to appear less angry and more approachable, which can help you to gain clients.

MYTH #6: Getting botox is pretentious

TRUTH: Looking and feeling good about yourself is NOT pretentious!  People of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds get botox treatments.  Some want to maintain their skin and prevent wrinkles from forming, others have lost their jobs and are competing in the job market against much younger people, and there are those who reserve botox treatments only for special occasions such as birthdays and weddings.

So now that you know the truth about botox, go out and schedule a consultation with a cosmetic dermatologist to discuss the treatment option that is right for you!