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The 10 (and only) Botox questions you need to ask

Information to help squash any Botox qualms.
Information to help squash any Botox qualms.
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Botox injections are THE most popular cosmetic treatment in the United States, and yet despite it’s prevalence ~ it continues to conjure anxiety and fear in newbies.

Is Botox right for you? Well. That depends on your aesthetic, wallet, and tolerance for needles.

Read on, and we shall explain all…

1. DOES BOTOX REALLY WORK?
Absolutely. Botox (and competitors like Dysport) are highly purified neuro-toxins that can temporarily erase/reduce forehead lines, vertical frown lines, and crow's-feet. "The injections slow muscles that contract hundreds of times a day, eventually etching lines in the skin," says New York City plastic surgeon Michael Kane, author of The Botox Book (St. Martin's Press). Botox can also lift the corners of the mouth that sag with age, smooth out the "pin cushion" look in some chins, soften smoker's lines around the mouth, and soften vertical neck cords.

2. HOW MUCH DOES BOTOX COST?
Usually the very first question people ask in regards to Botox injections, but the answer varies, as the price of Botox is greatly dictated by location and demand. The average cost is $400 per treatment, however keep in mind that experienced doctors tend to charge more.

3. WHAT CAN I EXPECT THE DAY AFTER MY BOTOX APPOINTMENT?Not much. Results begin to show in a couple of days and develop gradually over the course of two weeks. "I tell anyone preparing for a big event to have shots two weeks ahead of time," says Kane. Some observers believe Dysport sets in faster than Botox, but that has not been proven in a study. Patients taking medications that contain aspirin or NSAIDs can develop pinpoint blue bruising. (If any bruising occurs, patients can apply makeup immediately.)

4. WILL MY FRIENDS / SIGNIFICANT OTHER BE ABLE TO TELL THAT I HAD BOTOX?
Yes and no. Good results will leave you looking fresher, more cheerful, and perhaps younger – in a natural way. Telltale signs (that we generally try to avoid) of bad Botox are an unnaturally smooth and shiny forehead, or a forehead / crow's-feet that don't move when you laugh or cry.

5. WHAT'S THE IDEAL AGE TO START USING BOTOX?
If you don't have wrinkles, you don't need Botox. Other than that, a patient can have Botox safely at whatever age they begin to get bothered by their lines and wrinkles. There is no issue with long term use: "I've had patients who have used it repeatedly for over 20 years without bad effects," says Kane.

6. HOW LONG DOES BOTOX LAST?
Every patient metabolizes it at a different rate, but good results usually last three and a half to four months.

7. HOW CAN I FIND A REPUTABLE INJECTOR??You can visit manufacturers' websites—botoxcosmetic.com (dysportusa.com) —to find providers in your area. And ask friends—the ones who admit to using it.

8. DOES BOTOX HURT?
Like most injections, Botox can be slightly painful, especially between the eyebrows. The treatment is exceedingly quick though, and although you might experience a pinching sensation from the injection, any discomfort passes immediately.

9. WILL BOTOX MAKE ME FEEL NUMB AND LOOK FROZEN?No, Botox will not affect the nerves that cause sensation, or make you feel numb. When it is used correctly, it can lift the brow to give an appealing and sincere look. "But if too much is injected in the danger zone—the horizontal lines in the forehead—you can look Spocked, as in Spock from Star Trek," says Jean Carruthers, a Vancouver eye surgeon who, with her husband, Alastair, coauthored the first paper on the cosmetic benefits of Botox in 1989. That's why it's important to be treated by an experienced injector who can judge the size/strength of your muscles and appropriately determine how much Botox you will need.

10. DOES BOTOX HAVE SIDE EFFECTS?
Every drug has side effects, and Botox is no exception. Luckily, they tend to be minor and short-lived, according to Kane. In very rare instances (we’re talking one to five percent of cases), there can be mild droopiness of the eyelid or eyebrow. Any “drooping” usually goes away within two weeks, and additionally, with any kind of injection – there is always the risk of bruising. (Neither of these possible side-effects are permanent however.)