The use of Botox is a hotly debated topic in the beauty industry with many celebs, including Kim Kardashian, admitting to going under the needle. As with any cosmetic procedure, the more educated you are on the topic the safer you will be, so we turned to Sydney's Dr. Naomi McCullum — a highly sought-after cosmetic physician — to find out the basics. Want to know if getting Botox hurts or how much it costs? Keep reading.
What is the difference between Botox and a filler?
"Botox, when injected, relaxes the muscles. It is typically used in the upper face — the crows feet, frown lines and horizontal forehead lines. It is also used to slim the face (by injecting into the masseter muscles in the jawline) and for excessive sweating in the underarms and hands and feet.
"Dermal fillers are gel-like substances that are injected under the skin. They are used for wrinkles and folds, or for lips. They can also be used for face reshaping like cheek enhancement, nose bridge lifting and chin enhancement. Some examples of dermal fillers include collagen-stimulating fillers like Radiesse, and hyaluronic acid fillers like Restylane or Juvederm, or permanent dermal fillers like Aquamid."
What's the worst that can go wrong with both procedures?
"The worst thing that can go wrong with Botox injections is an eyelid or an eyebrow droop. This doesn't happen very often — thank goodness — and are temporary. The worst thing that can go wrong with dermal fillers is infection, which would require antibiotics, or the filler can block a blood vessel to the skin, causing a scab and possible scarring."
How young is too young to get Botox?
"In my practice, I will only treat adults [over 18 years old] with Botox. Usually, the young patients in their early 20s who request Botox are wanting it for a very specific reason, for example, they might have a really strong frown line that they've inherited from their mother or father that they can see forming already and they want to prevent it. I find that about 27 years old is quite a common age for patients to present for Botox for anti-aging in general."
How long does it last?
"After injecting the Botox, it can take anywhere from two to eight days to start working. I will review the patient at two or three weeks to check the results. At eight weeks, the movement will start coming back, and at 12 weeks, the movement should be about 50 percent back to normal. At 16 weeks, the movement will be about 80 percent. It is good to re-treat sometime between three and four months."
What is the downtime and how will a patient look straight after the procedure?
"No real social downtime. You can't wear makeup for about three hours after Botox injections and you may be left with little red spots in the area of injection immediately afterwards. Some people have no marks at all when leaving the clinic. There are many patients who come and literally have the treatment in their lunch break."
Any common side effects?
"Bruising is common, and a 24-hour headache happens in about 10 percent of new patients."
What does getting Botox feel like?
"Some patients say it feels like acupuncture, some say the [preparation] ice hurts more than the needles. Botox in the crows feet (eye wrinkles) hardly hurts at all. Botox in the frown lines is a little bit more painful. Topical anaesthetic can be used to numb the skin before hand, but most people don't bother with it."
How much does it cost per session?
"Typical cost for Botox is $360-$770 depending on how many areas are injected."
To find out more or to book an appointment with Dr. Naomi, call 02 9331 5005.