Botox is the name for a drug made from botulinum toxin type A. When used to treat facial dynamic lines and wrinkles, it is injected just underneath the skin and prevents your muscles from contracting as they normally would when we smile, laugh, angry and sad.
The most common facial lines are frown lines, forehead lines and crow’s feet near the eyes. Several other larger muscles injections areas have been treated such as thick bands in the neck, thick jaw muscles, lip lines and gummy smiles.
Bacterium clostridium botulinum works on the body by blocking nerve impulses that govern muscle contractions, causing temporary paralysis of the muscles that cause wrinkles and resulting in a smoother skin, younger-looking appearance.
How long does Botox treatments take effect?
As a neuromodulator that relaxes muscles and keeps them from working at their full capacity, thereby reducing the wrinkles they cause, it usually begins to take effect anywhere from 3 to 5 days after treatment, though it can take up to two weeks after treatment for the full results to become apparent.
The reason for this delay is due to the time it takes for the body to start reacting to the Botox after it has been injected. Because of this, the healthcare provider would like to have their patients come back after two weeks to check on their progress.
Why does botox treatment take time to work?
Treatment session takes time to work because it must reach the cellular level of the muscle in order to block the neurotransmitters in the nerve, eventually causing the paralyzation of the strong facial muscles.
There are other factors that this timing varies from patients to patients:
- Area of treatment
- Muscle thickness
- The volume of Botox used
The following science-based article explains more about why it takes Botox to work:
It details the route the toxin must take from needle to the cellular level of muscle, finally causing muscle paralysis.
“After proper dose toxin is injected properly into the treated area, it resides in the extracellular space and must be taken up into the nerve terminals. More toxin will be taken up if near the endplate. Toxin is distributed mainly by convection and there is likely little diffusion. Toxin that is not taken up will go into the general circulation where it may have a slight systemic effect.
The uptake is activity and temperature dependent. Encouraging the unwanted muscle contractions after injection should be helpful. Cooling will decrease the uptake. The times for washout from the extracellular space and uptake of the toxin are not well established, but are likely measured in minutes. Toxin in the general circulation has a long half time.
The time from injection to weakness is determined by how long does it take to get sufficient damage of the SNARE proteins to interfere with synaptic release.”
How does it feel when it starts working?
In most cases, Botox injections treatment’s effects begins to work fully within the first week after treatment, so by day four you should be able to see a slightly noticeable difference in the appearance of the treated areas that were treated.
You might be wondering “why this delay?”, “how long does it take for botox to work?”. This is because it takes time for maximum results. Botox binds to your muscle receptors and takes time to have its full effect and maximum results.
If this is your first treatment, you may experience a “heavy” sensation in the treatment areas. This because botox work by relaxing your muscles. It typically takes a few weeks for it to subside. You may also experience slightly tight sensation, a difference in your range of expressions, and slight changes in how your face responds when you do some face movements.
2 weeks after the treatment, you’re likely to see noticeable results. The area treated will appear smoother (finer the lines) and look more refreshed.
The maximum effect of botox injections is on the second month.
After 3-5 months, you will start to see the effects of botox will gradual return to original.
Do’s and Don’ts After Botox Injections
- Frown repeatedly for about one hour immediately following the treatment. This will help the treatment to be more effective by increasing the uptake by the targeted muscle groups, then after this time try to avoid extreme facial expressions for the next 12 hours.
- Keep upright for the first 4 hours.
- You can gently apply light make-up after treatment but use a light dabbing motion instead of a rubbing or spreading motion.
- Do not massage, rub or apply pressure to the injection site for 24 hours after injection.
- Avoid sleeping on your face the first night.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption for the next 24 hours.
- Avoid taking blood thinners or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for several days prior to botulinum toxin injection to reduce the risk of swelling or bruising.
- Avoid vigorous exercise for 24 hours after treatment to decrease the risk of bruising.
- Do not have any beauty treatments on your face, even mildly invasive, such as microdermabrasions, microneedling, chemical peels, facial massage for 2 weeks. This may cause the injected solution to spread to nearby muscles.
- Avoid exposure to strong sunlight, very cold temperatures and saunas for the next 2 weeks.
How can you tell if Botox starts to wear off?
Botox is not a permanent treatment for wrinkles. The botulinum toxin in Botox temporarily prevents facial muscles from moving for no more than a few months. Once Botox wears off, wrinkles begin to reappear and do not become worse after the treatment. However, since the patient has become used to smoother skin and a youthful appearance, it might come as a shock when the Botox wears off. For example, you might start to see your wrinkles again when your crow’s feet neurotoxin treatment wears out.
How does botox work? Botox paralyzes the point where the nerves are attached to the muscle making the muscle enter a relaxed state for an extended period of time. After a few months, new nerve endings develop that are not affected by Botox. When these attach to the muscle, the muscle contracts, causing the wrinkles and lines start to reappear.
Botox involves needles and injecting into your face, a lot of people have anxieties surrounding what botox injections feels like, how it works, when it works and whether it can cause any damage.
When experienced medical professionals or board certified dermatologist perform the botox treatment, Botox is minimally invasive solutions and safe for cosmetic reasons. Botox does not result in any adverse side effects from clinical trials and peer reviewed studies. Side effects are mainly minor and rarely occur in most clients, such as mild swelling, mild pinkish of the skin and pink prick needle mark on the skin.
Botox injections is a very straightforward procedure that is performed as an outpatient procedure but it is important to ensure that the clinic you are looking into has a board certified physician to administer botox, inform possible risks ahead, prescribing information regarding the clients’ overall skin aspects and professional with in-depth anatomical knowledge is an even safer choice.
We prefer to start conservatively with lower dosage. The most common areas of treatment include crow’s feet, frown lines and forehead lines.
Dr Justin Boey is a certified physician trainer for Dysport, which is one of the approved brands of neurotoxins in Singapore.