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Botox injection myth busters

Botox is the most common non-surgical cosmetic procedure performed in the United States. In 2017, over 7.2 million people had a cosmetic Botox injection. Despite its popularity, misconceptions and misunderstanding still persist. Questions around what Botox does, who should inject it and who are the best candidates for use are often misunderstood. 

Myth #1: Botox and dermal fillers are the same

Nerves signal muscles to contract. Botox is a purified protein that blocks the nerve signal, reducing muscle contraction and relaxing muscles of facial expression that cause wrinkles. The result is diminished unwanted facial wrinkles. 

Dermal fillers add volume to facial tissues giving a more youthful and plump appearance. If you are looking for fuller lips, fuller cheeks or for softer smile lines, a dermal filler (fat, collagen, hyaluronic acid) would be the procedure of choice. 

Myth #2: Botox injections are always obvious

The quality of your results depends on the skill of your doctor. Great Botox is customized to your individual face, taking into account factors such as which facial muscles you use the most, your facial muscle balance from side to side (we all have asymmetries), your job, your social life and the look you desire. With 43 facial muscles, rejuvenating your look while preserving natural facial expressions, requires experience and an understanding of anatomy. If injected by an inexperienced provider it may result in problems like asymmetry, droopy eyelids or brows. 

Botox injection should be performed by a plastic surgeon, cosmetic dermatologist or a nurse practitioner or physician assistant who are part of a practice where they are directly supervised by a plastic surgeon or cosmetic dermatologist.

In some states, nurses, nurse practitioners or physician assistants can perform Botox injections. In other states, only doctors can inject Botox. Before you receive a Botox injection, ask your provider if s/he has adequate training and supervision to inject Botox. After all, anyone with a medical license can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon.

Myth #3: Botox is addictive

It's not possible to become physically addicted to Botox. Botox will improve your appearance and give you a boost in self-confidence. For these reasons, you may want to continue receiving Botox injections.

Myth #4: Botox is toxic

Botox is a purified protein derived from bacteria. In the right hands, and in the proper dose, Botox is very safe for injection. There are over 20 medical conditions treated with Botox. The FDA approves drugs and/or medical devices after they have undergone rigorous testing to prove their safety and efficacy. There are three Food and Drug Administration approved indications for cosmetic Botox. These are the injections of crow's feet, frown lines and transverse forehead lines. 

All prescribed medications have potential side effects. Potential side effects of a cosmetic Botox injection may include: bruising, pain at injection sites, headache and redness, and in rare circumstances, temporary facial weakness or drooping. Botox is safest in the hands of a qualified doctor and at the manufacturer recommended doses. 

Myth #5: Botox is something only women get

Over 500,000 men had Botox or dermal filler injections in 2013. The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reported a 43 percent increase in the number of men undergoing cosmetic surgery in recent years.

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