A few years ago there was an app developed called “Botox Booth”. Similar in concept to the simplistic “Fat Booth” or “Old Booth”, you upload a photograph and the app will warp the face to show what that person would look like with Botox. The thumbnail used to market this app (at left) shows a woman, where the most notable change seems to be her comically plumped-up lips.
Oy. This is apparently what you’ll look like after a Botox treatment, even though it is physically impossible for Botox (or Dysport*) to increase the size of someones lips. I-m-p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e. Completely.
This app speaks to much larger issue though: Even though Botox is the most common-place (non-surgical) beauty treatment occurring in the world today, there remains huge misconceptions and fears surrounding the simple treatment.
Out of curiosity, I searched for “scary botox” on the internet. Google instantly provided the images of these women.
While Nicole Kidman, Joan Rivers and Jocelyn Wildenstein likely have had Botox treatments in the past, it is laughable to think that Botox alone could transform faces like this. (These misshapen-faces are the result of surgery. Bad surgery.)
Even though Botox has been around for over a decade, and tens of millions of people are safely enjoying the benefits of treatment, it is shocking how persistent these Botox fears and misconceptions are. (Truly, our patients ask us about this stuff every day.) When used appropriately, Botox delivers completely natural looking anti-aging benefits, and yet people who do not know any better worry that Botox can drastically alter your face into something grotesque.
If Botox was as scary as the media sometimes like to portray, how come there are not millions of people looking like Joan Rivers- Nicole Kidman-Jocelyn Wildenstein wandering around, repeatedly going back for additional treatments to further freakify themselves?
Please let me hold your hand through the top 9 most common Botox misconceptions, and help to do our part to put these unnecessary Botox fears to rest.
1. Stupid Botox Myth: Botox is harmful and poisonous.
Not true! Yes, Botox is derived from the disease Botulism, but the strains used for Botox (and competitors Dysport and Xeomin) are so diluted and carefully controlled that Botox Cosmetic treatments are excessively safe for use. These products are FDA-approved, and follow strict compliance regulations.
Additionally, your body processes and expels the actual Botulinum within hours after injection. Even though the effects can last for months, the Botulism particles are only in your body for a very short time-period.
2. Stupid Botox Myth: Botox is used only for cosmetic gain.
Nope. Botox is being used to treat a wide variety of health concerns, with more treatment applications discovered all the time. Currently, Botox can be used for the treatment of muscle spasms, eye twitches, bladder control, migraines, and sweating. Rumor has it that in New York City, some women are even getting Botox injections in their feet to help make wearing high-heels all day less painful.
Neurotoxins are not just used for beauty, and it is fascinating to see the constantly expanding ways it is being used to help societys most common ailments.
3. Stupid Botox Myth: Botox treatments are a very serious, complicated procedure.
Although it is important that your injections are administered by a skilled provider, as long as you are in experienced hands, Botox injections are easy-peasy! The entire process can take as little as 5-minutes, and often patients are in and out without any tell-tale sign of treatment. (Depending on the neurotoxin used, it can take up to 14-days for the maximum results to manifest, but after treatment you will still look totally fine and ready to go back out into the world.)
Botox injections do not require any anesthesia, and there is no downtime.
4. Stupid Botox Myth: Botox makes you look plastic.
Although Botox can smooth out wrinkles and prevent skin from creasing, there is no normal situation in which Botox could drastically alter the appearance of the entire face.
There should always be some movement, and even though your skin may not wrinkle and crease, Botox treatments should not ever prevent you from smiling or frowning, or expressing any other facial emotion you want to.
(Those celebrities who do not look like themselves anymore — let alone human — did not get that way from Botox.)
5. Stupid Botox Myth: Botox is a permanent treatment.
This treatment essentially blocks nerve impulses of specific muscles for a period of three to four months. As your body metabolizes the product, the nerves slowly regain their functionality and begin to move normally again. These treatments are NOT permanent.
6. Stupid Botox Myth: Botox is too expensive to be commonly accessible.
Perhaps when it was first introduced, Botox prices made it hard for average, non-celebrity patients to take advantage of. Now however, neurotoxins are available for almost any price range.
Botox is likely offered at numerous offices in every city, with the prices varying greatly depending on the location and experience of the injector. (For example, New York City Botox injections will likely always be more expensive than Botox in Montana.)
7. Stupid Botox Myth: Once you start getting Botox, you can never stop.
False! Botox patients often feel compelled to keep up with their injection schedule because they like the results and want to maintain them. However, if you only get Botox once and never touch the stuff again — nothing bad will happen — your skin will simply resume to its previous condition.
If you do not want the commitment of Botox, you can still benefit from occasional treatments here and there. For the months that your Botox is active, it is almost like pressing “Pause” on the aging of the treatment areas. Once the Botox wears off, your skin will have benefited from the months of no additional wrinkling wear-and-tear.
8. Stupid Botox Myth: Botox has many side-effects.
There are almost no side-effects of (correctly used) Botox. Some patients experience a Botox “headache” that feels almost like brain-freeze, immediately as they are injected. However this feeling often passes within minutes.
Bruising is always a risk, but that is a possibility anytime the skin is being broken and Botox injections are done with fine-tipped needles to help prevent any unnecessary bruising.
9. Stupid Botox Myth: Botox is for old people.
These days people are all about preventative maintenance in the hopes that baby-steps along the way will prevent the need for dramatic, surgical steps in the future. Botox patients fall into a wide range of ages, with the most rapidly growing demographic (at least for our Philadelphia-based practice) being 25-35 years old.
The idea is to achieve a natural looking improvement, so it does not matter what age you technically are. If you are dealing with bothersome lines and wrinkles, whether you are 18 (yes, we have seen college freshmen who were genetically predisposed to predominant wrinkles in their teens) or 68, Botox treatments present an elegant way to get rid of unwanted lines and creases while leaving you looking completely natural.
In conclusion: If you are wary of Botox, no big deal — do not get it!
However, if you are anxious about Botox, make sure you are anxious about real concerns.
Considering how insanely popular and common it is, I do not fully understand the swirl of negativity surrounding Botox (and other neurotoxins such as Dysport) but it is a wonderful treatment that we always feel 100% confident about when recommending to patients. It does exactly what it is supposed to, every time.
If you are scared of Botox, but teetering on the edge of wanting to do it, just know that it is the most scary before your first treatment. As soon as you have it done, and you see your suddenly smooth skin after a 5-minute treatment, you will shake your younger-looking head at how silly it was so be worried.
* Dysport is Botox’s #1 competitor, however because Botox was first to market in the United States, more people are familiar with the brand Botox. Throughout this article, anytime you see Botox, the same info can be applied to Dysport.