Thinking About Getting Botox For The First Time? An Expert Answers All Your Burning Questions
When it comes to injectables like botox, we're all curious about it. It feels like you hit a certain age and everyone around you is either starting to consider it or straight up getting it. But before you decide to dabble in injectables, there are so many things to consider: How does it actually work? When should you get them? Are there different types? Are there any side effects? to name a few . . . And unless you've got friends who have had the treatments themselves or you've booked in for a consult (which you should always do btw) it's relatively hard to find out everything you need to know.
Cue: Dr Jeremy of Ageless Clinics in Bondi, who has over 25 years experience in injectables and is the go-to doctor behind many a famous face in Sydney. POPSUGAR Australia sat down with Dr Jeremy who answered all our burning questions about botox.
Before you read on, it's important to note that getting botox or any kind of injectables is a very personal choice and should always be considered under the advisement of a professional.
POPSUGAR Australia: Can you please explain what Botox actually is?
Dr. Jeremy: Botox is the trade name of a compound called Botulinum Toxin type A. It is a protein molecule (peptide) that has the unique ability to block nerves where it enters the muscle. It thereby prevents those nerves from firing — this, in turn, prevents the injected muscles from contracting. Botox is used for many purposes including medical, from smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles in the face to preventing headaches and even treating children with muscle spasticity (as a result of brain injury such as occurs in cerebral palsy). Botox (or Botulinum Toxin A) has been safely used in millions of people for over 50 years.
PS: Are there different types of Botox?
Dr. Jeremy: There are over 150 types of Botulinum Toxins — some have been registered as biochemical weapons! Less than 10 are currently being used commercially in facial cosmetics worldwide. The most recognisable and popular is Botulinum Toxin A or Botox.
PS: Who can administer Botox?
Dr. Jeremy: Botox can be administered by suitably trained medical practitioners and nurses.
PS: Can anyone get Botox?
Dr. Jeremy: There are no age restrictions on Botox. As previously mentioned, children with cerebral palsy can be treated and are able to achieve magnificent results in reducing muscle spasticity. Women and men of all ages find they can reduce the severity of their wrinkles to achieve a more refreshed appearance. The average age of women in my practice who start using Botox to reduce the appearance of lines is approximately 27.
PS: Can you walk us through the process?
Dr. Jeremy: First, a consult is done to assess which areas require treatment and the amount of units to use. A treatment plan is discussed with the patient prior to commencing treatment. Consent forms are discussed and signed, to ensure patients are aware of risks involved. The treatment itself is very straightforward and takes no longer than about ten minutes. The face is cleansed with alcohol wipes, then the muscles to be treated are marked out based on the patient's facial movement. The injections are made using super-fine hypodermic needles (the same ones used for diabetics) that are virtually pain-free.
PS: Does it hurt? What's the pain scale 1-10 (1 being chill, 10 being ouch!)?
Dr. Jeremy: Most clients say it's a non-event in terms of pain, but as with everything it's individual. The use of fine syringes reduces the amount of pain, making the ouch-factor 'way chill'.
PS: Is there anything we should avoid pre-injections?
Dr. Jeremy: Don't do drugs. Kidding. Do drugs. Kidding again. Seriously, I'd advise you steer clear of blood thinners such as aspirin or ibuprofen as these can increase bruising from the injections. The most important thing clients need to do prior to treatment is to be sure they choose their Botox "partner" carefully. Spend time discussing your expectations and concerns and seek out a medical practitioner or nurse who uses the least amount necessary for the result you're hoping to achieve.
PS: How long does it last? How often do you need to top it up?
Dr. Jeremy: Botox lasts between 10—16 weeks depending on how much the person exercises and/or the speed of their metabolism. Top-ups are usually administered every 3—6 months, but this is quite personal.
PS: Are there any side effects people should be aware of?
Dr. Jeremy: Looking amazing. Expect compliments on your complexion. The most common side effects include the potential for bruising (pinprick in most cases). As with all treatments that involve injections there is a small risk of infection. If you are over treated, you could experience excess muscle relaxation that can lead to facial droop or asymmetry. Most of these side effects can be avoided with careful planning and appropriate placement of the least amount of Botox required.
PS: Is there any bruising or swelling post-injection? If so, how long will it take to go down?
Dr. Jeremy: No swelling but bruising can occur. It is minimal and will generally fade in 3—5 days. In some cases, you may notice small bumps at the injection sites but this resolves within an hour.
PS: What age should you typically start considering Botox as a preventative measure?
Dr. Jeremy: This is a very personal question as it depends on the person and how the appearance of their lines is affecting their self-esteem. Genetics and sun exposure also comes into play.
PS: Would you recommend we dip our toe in with 'Baby Botox' first?
Dr. Jeremy: In short, yes. I always advocate using the least amount of Botox possible. I ask my patients to return for check-in after ten days at which point we can administer more Botox if necessary. It's always better to under treat in my experience — Botox can't be reversed so if you're over treated there is nothing to do but wait for it to wear off.
PS: How much does Botox cost?
Dr. Jeremy: It varies depending on the type of botulinum toxin being used but Botulinum Toxin type A (aka Botox) costs around $15 per unit by the time you factor in the product itself, needles, saline and the doctor's time. Most people would require between 15—40 units depending on what they are being treated for.