While the treatment isn’t for everyone, more people are openly talking about Botox as both a medical procedure and a way of keeping a fresher face. Our founder Maria recently spoke to cosmetic nurse practitioner Karen Keogh about it on the Casper Podcast, but if you want the written rundown, read on.
For the uninitiated, Botox is actually just the best-known brand of injections made from a protein called botulinum toxin. In Australia, there are three brands of botulinum toxin injections – Botox, Dysport, and Xeomen – which use different binding agents to make the protein work as an injection. Many professionals work with all three brands, choosing whichever is best for each client based on desired outcomes and allergies.
When the botulinum toxin is injected, it blocks receptors in the surrounding muscles so that instructions to contract, sent from the brain, don’t get through. This allows the muscle to completely relax. Although the product is called a ‘toxin’, the protein is completely safe for the human body when injected in small doses by a professional. It only impacts the muscle contraction, stays within a few centimetres of the injection site, and flushes away completely after three to five months, which is why you need to keep up with the procedures if you want to maintain the effects.
While most people think of Botox as a cosmetic procedure, its ability to relax contracting muscles means it is most often used as a medical treatment. Cervical dystonia, or wry neck, is a painful condition where neck muscles pull the head into an uncomfortable position, but with Botox injections, the muscles can relax and let the head rest more naturally. Botox can similarly help alleviate migraines, back and shoulder pain, and bladder problems, as well as helping to improve stroke recovery. Doctors are even giving Botox injections to children with cerebral palsy to help with their mobility.
But let’s be honest, most of you are interested in Botox as a cosmetic procedure. Botox isn’t for creating puffier lips or plumper cheeks: those are done with fillers. Cosmetic Botox is much more about helping your face stay smooth and look fresh in its natural shape. By stopping certain facial muscles from contracting, existing wrinkles are able to relax and soften, while the lack of tension helps prevent new wrinkles from forming. Relaxing different parts of each side of the face can also help align your facial symmetry, which some people consider more attractive.
Now, it’s certainly not the case that everyone should get Botox. Many people see wrinkles as a sign of distinction and life experience, while others embrace their natural skin despite traditional beauty standards that encourage people to look young. But for some people, a smoother face can help them feel more confident. Not worrying about changes to your face (or about other people thinking you’re more tired or cranky than you actually are) can take some pressure off, letting people feel less self-conscious when they go out. This is particularly true for people who might have developed wrinkles earlier than they expected, like those affected by sun damage or a loss of collagens through breastfeeding. Ultimately, Botox might just be a little boost to get you feeling more like yourself, which is a circular process: if Botox helps you feel better, then your confidence will reflect more in your face and keep you looking even happier.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to Botox, though, is that it doesn’t work miracles on its own. There are lots of factors that impact how your skin looks, from good hydration and nutrition (especially getting enough Vitamin C!), to stress levels and using other cosmetic procedures like light devices. Botox is there to give you a bit of help, but if you really want to lessen your wrinkles, injections need to be just one part of your overall wellness regime.
Botox is much more than just a cosmetic fix: it does wonders in the medical world, helps people feel confident, and is part of an overall approach to wellness through skincare. But it’s just one method that people might choose to help themselves feel better, so let yourself think about whether the injections are what will work for you.
For more about busting the myths on Botox, remember you can check the Casper Podcast episode Talking Everything you Need to Know about Botox with Casper EIC Maria and cosmetic nurse practitioner Karen Keogh.
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