Can I wash my face after Botox? Is Botox healthy? What are signs that I need Botox? by Lorraine Jones
Nothing prepares you for that first gray hair or the first signs of cracks and creases in your skin. With life and wisdom comes wear and tear on your skin—your skin can reveal your age in the lines and furrows but it doesn’t have to. One way that many people cope with visible signs of aging on the skin is Botox. Botox is a cosmetic drug doctors use to treat facial wrinkles.
“Botox is one of the brand names for the chemical compound ‘onabotulinum toxin A’. In short, it is an injectable muscle relaxer. It works by preventing the release of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction,” said Sinehan Bayrak MD, a facial plastic surgeon in private practice. Wrinkles are caused by muscle contractions, thus, using Botox to relax them helps to combat those cracks in your skin.
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A great way to check to see if you would benefit from Botox is by looking in the mirror and inspecting what you're working with. Smile at yourself and see if your eyes crinkle back at you. Play with different facial expressions, frown, squint, or raise your brows and see if your skin creases in response.
SIGNS THAT YOU COULD BENEFIT FROM BOTOX ACCORDING TO BAYRAK:
Static or dynamic wrinkles of the forehead
Static or dynamic wrinkles between your brows ("the 11s")
Static or dynamic wrinkles around your eyes ("crows feet")
Lower eyebrows and want a higher arch to your brow (commonly referred to as a "chemical brow lift")
Wider jaw due to masseter muscle hypertrophy
“gummy smile" (when you smile and your upper gums show)
Downturned corners of the mouth
If you notice furrows when you make certain faces, Botox can help soften those lines. The most common first signs of furrows are across the forehead and at the outer corner of the eyes. The average person starts looking into Botox around their mid-30s. But Bayrak says, “The patients seeking neuromodulator treatments are getting younger and younger.” Nikol Collins, beauty and lifestyle blogger for lovingbeautyandlife.com, has been getting injections since her 31st birthday two years ago. “I got Botox because I was looking for something that would help prevent deep wrinkles and lines on my forehead and around my eyes since I was already starting to see them. Botox is more a want than a need in my opinion and the first sign that I wanted to test it out was my noticeable crow's feet. It takes about two weeks to fully settle but I saw results in a few days and was happy! I get what they call baby Botox and it looks extremely natural,” said Collins.
After the procedure, there is very minimal post-Botox care. “What I typically tell patients for the first day is no exercise, no yoga, and no getting a massage. You can wash your face normally and do your normal skincare routine at night. I encourage them to avoid baseball hats, visors, or headbands if we've treated their forehead. Otherwise, the next day they can get back to their normal activities of daily living,” said Bayrak.
After the initial injections, some patients experience mild discomfort, minor redness or swelling that dissipates within five minutes, possible bruising, or a light headache. When faced with bruising, treat it with ice packs and Arnica which can be found at almost all drug stores.
If it’s your first time with this treatment, you may experience a slight heaviness in your forehead. Experts advise you to avoid laying flat, sleeping on your face, or bending forward for four hours.
After your Botox appointment, the downtime is quite minimal, allowing you to return to normal life almost effortlessly. You can wear makeup, wash your face, resume usual skincare, shower, etc. If used properly these injections should not hurt the skin. “Neuromodulators like Botox have been shown to decrease the oil production of the skin. Aesthetically, they give a smooth appearance by inhibiting muscle contraction. Over time, this prevents long-term wrinkles,” said Bayrak.
No one necessarily needs Botox but if you’d be happier about your appearance by removing unwanted furrows go for it! Often referred to as ‘happy juice’, Botox is known to increase happiness among patients. “Studies are showing that those that got Botox had more positive and happy thoughts when evaluating a storyboard than those that did not. It is thought that frowning is a social cue—to tell those around us that we are not happy. There is a positive feedback loop that happens in the brain when we can not frown, and we seem happier,” said Purvisha Patel MD.
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Despite all the myths and rumors, most patients nowadays are looking to Botox because they seek a more natural and softening way to diminish these age lines without having to give up all movement in the face. These minor injections have an almost nonexistent recovery time and may just be what you need to feel like your younger self.
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