Your Essential Guide to Botox

Smoother brows and a perpetually serene appearance are an attractive option, but what does it take to get there? Here is your guide to the What, How and When of Botox – and why after so many years, it is still so popular.

What is Botox?
“Botox is a form of neurotoxin called Botulinum Toxin Type A,” explains Lisa Sullivan-Smith, Registered Nurse, Founder and Co-Director of  celebrity and beauty industry favourite, The Clinic. “It works by preventing signals from nerve cells reaching the muscle so the muscle being treated cannot contract so therefore will not form a wrinkle.”

When did Botox become popular?
In 1987 after years of medical use, the cosmetic mettle of Botox was stumbled upon by two ophthalmic surgeons whilst injecting it into the brow of a patient who suffered from uncontrollable blinking. But when Botox hit the mainstream, it wasn’t all smooth sailing (pun intended) Lisa tells me. “All the clients wanted to be ‘frozen’ and because of this Botox got a bad name,” she says of the early days. “Now clients prefer a more natural look and this can be often referred to as ‘micro-Botox’” she says, adding that it is up to the discretion of the injector to inform and educate the client as to what will work best for them.

How is Botox administered? And by whom?
This is no willy-nilly needle, cautions Lisa. “The correct formula for administering Botox is a mathematical equation, however each face is different and this must be taken into consideration when injecting.” There are several ways to inject a certain area – such as around the frown line – and each experienced injector has their preferred technique, she tells me. But the most imperative step when considering Botox is who – not how – it’s administered. “A client should research a reputable institution,” she urges, noting that often word of mouth is a good source of referral. “Doctors and Registered Nurses in NSW are allowed to inject Botox, however there are strong protocols for it to be done correctly,” she adds. “A lot of medical persons claim they can inject Botox and often see the Cosmetics industry as an easy way to make a dollar, however Botox injecting is a highly skilled technique and not an exact science.”

Where is Botox most commonly administered?
The most popular areas Botox is requested include the Glabella (frown line), Frontals (horizontal lines on forehead) and crows feet around the eyes. “Other areas where we can inject Botox are the underarms for excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), the jawline for definition of pre jowls (Nefertiti), and the masseters for teeth grinding,” adds Lisa.

What age is Botox popular from?
Five years ago the average age for first timers was 33 years of age, Lisa tells me. “Now it appears to be around 30,” she adds. But the pre-consultation process remains rigid. “It is always recommended that a client comes in two weeks after their initial Botox treatment,” she says. “In most cases, Botox lasts 3-4 months.”

What is the downtime post-Botox?
“Botox is injected through a fine bore needle so it is a quick short sensation. There is no down time as makeup can be applied straight away,” assures Lisa.

What are the side effects of Botox?
As with all medications, there are side effects with Botox. “Each client should sign a consent form understanding that side effects can occur,” Lisa explains, noting that the most common side effect is bruising, often associated with the client taking fish oil supplements. “Some other side effects can be heaviness in the brow and recruitment of other muscles – all of which are temporary.”

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