What is Botox?

Botox is the brand name for a purified neurotoxin, or neuromodulator, known as botulinum toxin type A. Botulinum toxin is naturally produced and secreted by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum—an organism found in nature. Infection from Clostridium botulinum is very and can deadly due to the release of large amounts of botulinum toxin into the blood stream.  However, don’t let that intimidate you. When used in the medical setting by licensed professionals, this toxin is perfectly safe to use for a wide range of cosmetic and therapeutic applications, as it used in incredibly small concentrations.

Neurotoxins like botulinum toxin type A work by targeting the nervous system in the body. When your muscles contract, your nerves release a chemical known as acetylcholine, which then binds itself to the muscle cells and causes the contractions. When botulinum toxin type A is injected into the muscles, it attaches to the nerve endings and blocks the release of acetylcholine, thus preventing the targeted muscle from contracting. So while your brain may be sending signals to your muscles to move and contract, botulinum toxin disrupts these signals before reaching the muscles, rendering them temporarily inactive.

How Does Botox Eliminate Wrinkles?

To understand how Botox works, it is essential first to understand the two types of facial wrinkles that contribute to an aged appearance: static wrinkles and dynamic wrinkles. As the name suggests, static wrinkles are lines and wrinkles that are always visible and are primarily caused by unavoidable factors such as gravity and the natural aging process. Dynamic wrinkles, also referred to as active wrinkles, are lines that are only visible when your face is in motion, such as when facial muscles contract to form your everyday expressions.

When you are young, you don’t have to worry about dynamic wrinkles since your skin has enough elasticity to bounce back from the standard facial expressions you make. As you get older, however, your skin becomes less flexible, and your dynamic wrinkles will eventually start to become static wrinkles over time. This is especially true for fine lines around the eyes, forehead furrows and the vertical lines around the mouth (“smoker’s lines”).

Botox works by directly targeting the facial muscles that contribute to the formation of dynamic wrinkles. By blocking the signals that cause these muscles to contract, the skin is prevented from being pulled or stretched over said muscle, resulting in a beautifully smooth and wrinkle-free complexion. Botox can even be used as a preventative treatment, as you can inactivate a specific muscle before it has the chance to form creases or deepen their appearance.

What Concerns Can Botox Treat?

Botox is the only FDA-approved treatment of its kind that can improve the appearance of moderate to severe expression lines that occur on the forehead, between the brows and around the eyes in adults. Botox is most commonly used to treat:

  • Crow’s feet: fine lines that fan out from the corners of the eyes due to frequent smiling or squinting.
  • Glabellar lines: wrinkles and folds that form in between the brows when you frown or squint in concentration. These lines are sometimes referred to as “elevens.”
  • Forehead lines: horizontal lines that occur on the forehead when you raise your eyebrows.
  • Radial lip lines: Fine lines that occur around the mouth, often referred to as “smoker’s lines” from the repeated muscle contractions that occur when smoking.

Botox injections also have a variety of other “off-label” aesthetic applications that go beyond relaxing your wrinkles — our experienced cosmetic nurse injectors at U Laser Med Spa also utilize Botox to slim the jawline, reduce the appearance of chin dimples and even correct “gummy” smiles.

Therapeutic Uses for Botox

While Botox injections are primarily noted for their ability to reduce the appearance of dynamic wrinkles, botulinum toxin is currently FDA-cleared to treat over 20 different medical conditions— with even more applications undergoing clinical research and studies. As botulinum toxin has the ability to paralyze muscles from contracting temporarily, Botox injections have a history of being used therapeutically to treat a wide range of muscular conditions with great success and efficacy. Outside of your aesthetic concerns, Botox may be able to help you find immense relief from the following medical conditions:

  • Chronic migraines: While the causes of migraines can vary, it is believed that in some cases, migraines are caused by facial muscles pressing or pinching on sensitive nerves that contribute to headaches. By targeting and paralyzing the muscles that press on these nerves, Botox can lessen the pain that accompanies chronic migraines and may even reduce how frequently they occur.
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating): Excessive sweating can be a humiliating condition, and frequently occurs in the armpits, hands, feet or face. When injected into one of these areas, Botox works to block the nerve signals to the eccrine glands, in turn preventing the glands from producing excessive sweat for up to a full year.
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders: The TMJ is located at each side of the head where the jaw meets the skull, and is used for chewing, swallowing, and talking. If the joint becomes overworked or the patient grinds their teeth, it can result in jaw pain or tension headaches. Botox injections can relieve jaw pain and TMJ by immobilizing the afflicted facial muscles.

Botox Vs. Dermal Fillers

While both Botox and dermal fillers are nonsurgical cosmetic injectables that lessen the appearance of lines and wrinkles, the concerns that they address, their ingredients and the longevity of their results are vastly different. Botox is uniquely formulated to treat dynamic wrinkles by stopping the muscle contractions that contribute to their appearance. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, are uniquely formulated to address concerns with static wrinkles or age-related volume loss in the face by filling in and plumping up your soft tissues.

Because Botox and dermal fillers have different mechanisms and address different concerns due to aging, many patients will choose to combine them within a single appointment for a more comprehensive facial rejuvenation. During your initial consultation, your nurse injector will help you to determine whether Botox, fillers or a combination of the two will help you to achieve your aesthetic goals.

Am I A Candidate For Botox?

For nearly two decades, Botox injections have held the title of the number one nonsurgical cosmetic procedure year after year thanks to its safety, effectiveness and natural-looking results. With million injections of injections performed each year, Botox is an appropriate solution for patients of all ages, genders and skin types who are troubled by the development of wrinkles on their skin caused by their recurrent facial expressions.

As with any cosmetic procedure, it is crucial that you be in good health and have realistic goals for the outcome of your injections. Botox can help you to dramatically reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles on your face, or even prevent future ones from forming, but it isn’t right for everyone. Women who are currently pregnant or breastfeeding, along with patients with known allergies to botulinum toxin should not undergo this procedure.

What to Expect From Your Botox Treatment

Your Botox injections will take place in-office at our La Jolla Med Spa in the privacy of one of our comfortable treatment rooms. As a quick and convenient procedure, your appointment may be over in as little as 10 minutes, depending on the extent of correction you require.

Backed by the full confidence of board-certified plastic surgeons William Umansky, MD and Jeffrey Umansky, MD, our qualified nurse injectors will perform your Botox treatment. Having successfully treated thousands of patients, our cosmetic nurse injectors are well-versed not just in the science of facial anatomy and the latest technical skills for proper delivery, but also in the art of using this injectable to help patients shape the results they want. During your in-person consultation, your nurse injector will carefully assess your bone structure and facial expressions to precisely pinpoint which underlying muscles are contributing to the lines and creases on your face.

Once the specific muscles areas have been identified, your nurse injector will use a small, thin needle to inject tiny doses of Botox directly into the targeted muscles under your skin. The number of injections you require will depend on several factors, such as the severity of your concerns. Your injector will inform you how many injections you need during your initial consultation for the procedure.

Most patients are able to tolerate Botox injections with ease, likening the feeling to a quick pinch. If you are concerned about any pain or discomfort from the injections, your treatment areas may be numbed with ice or topical anesthesia to make the procedure more comfortable for you.

What to Expect From Your Recovery

As soon as your appointment is finished, you are free to leave the Med Spa and resume your normal activities immediately. There is no downtime required for this minimally-invasive procedure, though patients may experience mild bruising, swelling or redness at the site of their injections. These symptoms will typically subside within the first few hours or days of your Botox treatment.

Patients should take care not to rub or massage their treatment areas for the first few hours after their procedure, as this may cause the Botox to migrate further from the injection site and have an adverse effect on the appearance of your results. While the effects of Botox will remain localized and will move into the body, the substance can spread up to three centimeters from its targeted region if you do not adhere to these instructions.

How Long Does Botox Last?

While the results of Botox are not instantly apparent, you should start to notice the injections taking effect within 3 to 7 days after your procedure. The full results of your injections should be evident in as little as 7 to 10 days from your appointment. With the help of our expert injectors, Botox injections can dramatically enhance your natural beauty by softening expression lines and wrinkles or erasing them entirely.

While the longevity of results will vary from patient to patient, crow’s feet, forehead furrows and lines between the brows will be visibly smoother for up to three to four months before a repeat treatment is required to maintain your relaxed and refreshed complexion. At U Laser Med Spa, we pride ourselves on providing you with consistently beautiful and natural-looking results at each appointment so that only you will know the secret to your improved and younger-looking skin.

Schedule a Botox Consultation at Our La Jolla Center

William Umansky, MD and Jeffrey Umansky, MD are both highly regarded board-certified plastic surgeons serving the San Diego and La Jolla areas. Under their direction, U Laser Med Spa offers a myriad of nonsurgical injectable treatments for patients hoping to eliminate various symptoms of aging without the need for invasive cosmetic procedures or downtime. When administered by qualified medical professionals like those at U Laser Med Spa, Botox and other cosmetic injectables are quick, convenient and produce both predictable and natural-looking results.

If you are ready to significantly reduce the appearance of your expression lines or even prevent new lines from forming, Botox has remained the top nonsurgical cosmetic procedure for its distinct ability to eliminate the appearance of wrinkles from your complexion without discomfort or downtime. To learn more about Botox and what it can do for your aging concerns, contact the U Laser Med Spa today at (858)-281-4560 to book your consultation.