Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are the long-term effects of Botox treatment?"
I want my 38 year old skin to look awesome. I'm going to have my first Botox session tomorrow. Will there be any long term effects? Thanks!
Botox involves the injection of a small amount of a naturally occurring bacterial toxin into a small area of your body. It works by blocking the ability of muscle to contract, and is a semi-permanent effect, lasting until the nerve ending can regrow new attachments onto the muscle (which is about 3 months, on average). The decreased or absent muscle contraction allows softening of wrinkle lines and helps to make the face appear more youthful, although there can be some decreased ability to perform routine facial expressions depending on how and where it is injected, as you are now doubt aware. The most important side effect to date involves the spread of the toxin into surrounding tissues. As the naturally occurring toxin can be fatal, this obviously implies the danger of such spread. This effect has not been noted when botox is used for cosmetic purposes, however, and has only rarely been noted when the drug is used in larger amounts for treatment of non-cosmetic medical reasons. Long term consequences of routinely blocking muscle contraction are unknown, and none have been reported to date. Please discuss this in detail with your doctor at the time of the botox injection. As for keeping your skin young and healthy, the best things are to avoid tobacco and tobacco smoke exposure, and to avoid UV light exposure. Plenty of sunscreen and no sun-tanning in general are the best bets for long term healthy skin.
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