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Top 5 Myths About Botulinum Toxin

By Lauren Niehaus, MSN, CNP

1. Botox will make me look unnatural or “frozen”.

This is a common concern when treating first time patients with botulinum toxin. Over the years a stigma towards botulinum toxin has developed that everyone who gets treated will look overdone. This is definitely not the case. In fact, if a patient is truly “frozen” with little muscle activity, it is the result of overdosing the muscle. With proper technique, as well as knowledge of how the product works and proper dosing, botulinum toxin can result in a very natural and refreshing appearance. Just wait, after several treatments, you will see patients increase the number of areas they want treated because they love the results so much!

2. If you stop getting Botox, your wrinkles will get worse.

This is definitely false information and does get asked quite often during a consultation appointment. Botulinum toxin is gradually metabolized in your system. What this means is it is slowly eliminated from the body, and you will slowly start to realize that you have more muscle activity as you approach three months post treatment. Getting botulinum toxin is essentially putting the muscles that cause the wrinkles to sleep for three months. This allows the skin time to heal, which results in a decreased appearance of wrinkles. If you were to stop getting treated, those muscles would slowly increase in strength and activity with repetitive movements, causing the skin to wrinkle again, but not at an increased intensity.
3. Once you start getting Botox, you can’t stop.
There are no physiological properties in botulinum toxin that make it addictive. The only thing that makes botulinum toxin addictive is that patients love their results. Patient’s state that they feel much more confident with their skin, and in turn, that is what makes them feel good.
4. Botox is only used to treat wrinkles.
This is surprisingly not true! Botulinum has many other treatment indications aside from just cosmetic purposes. One of the biggest uses for botulinum toxin is for therapeutic treatment of orofacial pain. It can be used in patients who clench and/or grind their teeth, to weaken the chewing muscles and help maintain the integrity of their teeth. It can also be used in patients with migraines, whose muscles are overactive. It can also be used to treat excessive sweating in the armpits (hyperhidrosis), which can be a significant cause for a lack of self-confidence for patients.
5. Botox is toxic and harmful to the body.
Although it is true that botulinum toxin is produced from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, that in its natural form can cause harm within the body. However, botulinum toxin A, that is used for the purposes of aesthetics, is a well purified protein. It cannot replicate in the body as the bacteria can to cause infection and is therefore perfectly safe to use in adults, who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. It is injected into the muscle and works at the muscular level to block the transmission of signals from the muscle to the brain causing the contraction of the muscle. It causes temporary relaxation of the muscle for approximately 3 months, and is safely metabolized from the muscle with no systemic effects on the body. Botulinum toxin has been used to treat patients since the 1980’s, so there have been many patient studies done to determine its safety.


Start your facial esthetics journey by registering for the Botulinum Toxins & Dermal Fillers Level I Course! Register here today:

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