Image: Steven Depolo
Botox injections are among the most common options of people who have visible signs of skin aging. These injections are derived from different forms of botulinum toxin. This toxin is produced by a bacteria that cause food poisoning. When injected on the skin, it has a desirable effect, at least for those who would want to delay skin aging as it paralyzes muscle activity.
About the Botulinum Toxin
In high concentrations, the toxin can be dangerous. It can lead to life-threatening conditions like botulism. When left unmanaged, this can lead to respiratory failure and death.
However, in smaller concentrations, the botulinum toxin can be beneficial to humans when injected into the skin. It works by preventing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. When this neurotransmitter attaches to its receptor, it causes muscle contraction. By preventing the release of this neurotransmitter, there will be no muscle contraction on the area.
The paralyzing effect of the toxin makes it useful for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and other visible signs of skin aging.
What Happens During the Procedure
Botox injection is a minor cosmetic procedure. It starts by diluting the substance in saline solution. It is directly injected into the neuromuscular using a fine needle. It usually takes between 24 to 72 hours for the toxin to take effect but in some cases, it may take more than 3 days for the toxin to take full effect.
The procedure would only take about a few minutes. Although there is mild discomfort, there is no need for anesthesia.
Botox injections are generally considered a safe procedure to get rid of the fine lines and wrinkles. Pregnant and lactating women are not advised to undergo in this cosmetic procedure.
Alcohol and certain drugs like anti-inflammatory medications should be avoided a week or two before getting these injections.
Risks and Side Effects of Botox Injections
Like many cosmetic procedures, Botox injections also come with certain risks. It can cause harmful reaction to those who are allergic to the toxin. There are also people who develop antibodies to the toxin that make future treatments with Botox injections ineffective.
In some cases, Botox injections cause mild pain, edema, headache, mild nausea, weakness, upper lid drooping, neck weakness, double vision, bleeding, blurring of vision, fatigue, dry mouth, wheezing, rashes, and swelling.
Alternative to Botox Injections
While Botox injections can be effective in reducing the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles, they can lead to unpleasant effects like breathing problems and allergic reaction. Plus, they can be costly in the long run as these injections can cost between $200 to $500 per session.
Women who would want to stay young can still achieve their goal without spending too much or exposing themselves to unnecessary risks with the following alternatives to Botox injections:
Many anti-aging creams have retinol in them. Retinol is one of the favorite anti-aging ingredients of dermatologists as it really works by pushing the skin cells up, promoting collagen production, and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Over-the-counter retinol comes in different forms. When buying more aggressive formulations of it, make sure that it also comes with a substance that eases the redness or the skin drying.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid
Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is another good alternative to Botox injections. AHA pertains to a group of acids that are found naturally in citrus fruits, sugar cane, sour milk, apples, and grapes.
When applied on the skin, these acids help moisturize the skin and get rid of the dead skin cells. They are also used for treating acne, reducing the appearance of acne marks, and help in improving the appearance of photo-aged skin.
Facial exercises lie on a premise that facial muscles are like other muscles of the body. When you do not “work them out” regularly, they can lead to skin sagging and hence, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
There are different types of facial exercises you can try, depending on the facial area you want to improve. There are facial exercises to reduce the appearance of fine lines around your eyes, brow lines, and for the lines around your lips.
The good thing with facial exercises is that you can do them anytime, anywhere without spending more compared to Botox injections.
Botox injections may have worked well for many but don’t feel bad if it didn’t or you think it won’t work for you. Know that there are alternatives to these injections. Some of these alternatives may even be better than these toxin injections.