More younger people than ever are getting Botox injections these days. The rising trend today is considered an effective measure to ward off wrinkles tomorrow. What do patients need to know?

This is an edited and modified Blog from Stephanie Saltzman of Fashionista.Com on the rising popularity of Preventive Botox for younger patients. Original input from U.S. medical experts has been paraphrased for clarity but maintains the integrity of messaging to share with patients. We commend Stephanie for her work in researching and writing this excellent article that will inform both patients and practitioners.  

“Hello, my name is Fabulous!”

We’ve come a very long way since Samantha Jones first uttered her now-iconic “mani, pedi, Botox,” quip on the popular “Sex and the City” TV program.

Back in the early aughts, the wrinkle-thwarting injectable treatment was relatively new, and while Hollywood jumped on board quickly, it took a little more time for the general public to get comfortable with it.

Fast-forward to the social media age, and not only are injectables like Botox amazingly commonplace —  injectable use has spiked by 40 percent over the past five years in the U.S. — people are also starting to experiment with them at younger ages.

This trend may be taking off because younger generations spend so much time assessing (and adjusting, editing and filtering) photos of themselves for social media. Consumers, especially millennials, are showing much more interest in skin care as a part of their overall health and wellness.

The uptick in younger Botox patients is due to increasing consumer awareness about prevention when it comes to warding off wrinkles. They know using the treatment to inhibit the development of lines — and to train facial muscles to behave differently — is incredibly effective.

That said, confusion about the treatment persists. So, let’s clear a few things up, shall we?

WHAT BOTOX IS

What most people know as Botox is, in fact, the name of a brand (owned by parent company Allergan) for a product made from the toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are other brands that offer alternatives — Dysport, for example — but for the purposes of this story, consider Botox the generic umbrella term for the injectable treatment. Botox is a neuromodulator that directly acts on motor neurons to reduce muscle activity.

The cosmetic benefits were discovered accidentally in the 1980’s by a Vancouver physician who was treating patients suffering from eye spasms. Health Canada approved its use in this country in 2001.

HOW PREVENTATIVE BOTOX WORKS

The mechanism of the injectable is key to understanding how Botox can be used preventatively. Botox works by blocking the signals from the nerves. The injected muscle doesn’t contract, and this makes the wrinkles relax and soften. This makes Botox ideal for crow’s feet, wrinkles between the brows and horizontal lines across the forehead.

By inhibiting the movement of these muscles — and ‘training’ the face to avoid them, even as the product wears off — Botox can be a useful tool for preventing these wrinkles from forming in the future, starting from a young age. Slowing down the use of these muscles early could prevent the deep lines from developing over time.

WHEN TO START PREVENTATIVE BOTOX                         

Most experts are wary of pinpointing a specific age at which patients may want to start getting Botox injections for maximum efficacy, and that’s because it can vary greatly from one person to the next.

For safety’s sake, practitioners should have in-depth training on facial anatomy

We use our muscles of facial expression very differently.  Some people use their forehead constantly and will have etched-in lines in their 20’s. Others rarely use their forehead at all and may have virtually no forehead lines in their 40’s.

Genetics and the overall skin health come into play, too. Sun damage and damage from smoking, for example, will make lines worse.

In general, most people could begin to benefit from Botox by our mid 30’s.

Botox and cosmetic treatments are becoming destigmatized, but that doesn’t mean they are without risk.

As injectables become more widely available, it’s all the more important to seek out professional nurses and doctors with substantial medical aesthetics training. Always go to a professional provider who is experienced in injectables and understands facial anatomy to decrease risk of complication.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR FIRST TREATMENT

Understandably, most people aren’t thrilled by the idea of procedures that involve needles on a voluntary basis. But Botox is usually less painful than people imagine. It’s best described as “tiny pinches” which go away right after the injection.  The entire process is a quick one. The consultation for initial treatments is about 30 minutes, with the actual injections requiring only about five to 10 minutes.

Botox is a neurotoxin that will paralyse injected muscles and prevent wrinkles

It does take time for the Botox to get absorbed and to relax the muscle, so you won’t see results right away. You’ll start noticing a difference within a few days and results will peak by about 10 to 14 days.

The body slowly metabolizes the product, meaning its effects gradually wear off over the course of three to four months. A recommended injection regimen of three times a year will better maintain the results of the treatment and  benefit wrinkle prevention.

It’s also important to keep in mind that it can’t help with all types of wrinkles.

Patients should know that lines from sun damage and gravity won’t improve with Botox.  The upper third of the face – the forehead, in between brows and near crow’s feet — can benefit most from preventative Botox. The treatment can be used around the mouth, but is trickier and riskier. As always, it’s important you go to an experienced and professional injector for these areas.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GET INJECTED

Nowadays, most people are finding their injectors through word-of-mouth and social media.

While Botox and injectables in general have become more commonplace and accessible, it’s still a medical procedure that should be handled as such. Before the needle hits the skin, do your research to find a trusted and trained professional, read the online reviews and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Check out the provider’s bio on their website before you make an appointment to make sure they are professionally trained and have experience in medical aesthetics.

Check with your province’s Colleges of Nurses or Physicians to confirm the practitioner is licenced and in good professional standing.

In person, make sure the practitioner spends time reviewing your specific facial features and educates you on what areas you want treated. At the end of day, you want to build a long-term relationship with this person and you should feel comfortable with them.

Trusted patient-practitioner relations begin with dialogue on assessments and expectations

Communication between the patient and practitioner is key to managing expectations and desired results.  You should discuss what bothers you and what outcome you want. Ask how they will address your concerns and desires. Don’t be shy about asking your practitioner about pricing during the consultation. For younger patients, initial treatments should be in the neighbourhood of $250.  This could vary depending on the quantity and depth of lines, of course.

Buyer beware: exercise caution if prices are substantially lower than professional standards. Botox offered at extremely low prices should raise concerns about the product being possibly diluted with saline.

Non-professional injectors and so-called Botox parties should also be avoided. Remember: Botox injections are medical procedures that should be administered by medical professionals in a medical clinic.

HOW TO HANDLE PRE- AND POST-TREATMENT CARE

It’s normal to experience a bit of bruising at the injection site. In most cases, that disappears within a few days of the treatment. Redness and bumps can also occur in the hours immediately following the procedure, but they are usually minimal and can be covered with makeup.

There are a few ways for patients to minimize potential effects.

Avoid anything that could increase your risk of bruising for a week before your appointment — that includes blood thinners like aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E, St. John’s Wart, fish oil or omega-3s, ginseng and gingko biloba. If you need to take a pain medication, Tylenol is okay.  Patients should avoid drinking alcohol in the few days leading up to treatment.

For post-treatment care, experts suggest avoiding strenuous exercise, hot showers and saunas — anything that may cause circulation to spike.

 

STEPHANIE SALTZMAN – Fashionista.Com – Apr. 18, 2019