Like most people, I am sure you have had thoughts at one time or another about Botox. But what do you need to know before going under the needle? As it turns out, there’s lots to consider before taking the plunge into this anti-aging treatment. The doctors at Freyja Medical Clinic consider some of the most important issues to think about before having your first treatment.
We have all seen some horrific frozen, shiny and completely over-the-top Botox jobs, but there are also some amazing results with a refreshed, natural look. The key? Getting a practitioner that knows their stuff!
Do select a doctor or nurse who knows what they are doing.
Good Botox depends on the skill and technique of the injector, so do your research and find someone who specializes in facial anatomy and has been successfully administering these treatments for years. It is a scandal that in the UK there is so little regulation on this. Whilst Botox needs to be prescribed (as it is a prescription only medication) there are many unscrupulous practitioners out there that do this remotely without ever seeing the person about to be injected. Both the General Medical Council and Nursing & Midwifery Council advise this practice is unacceptable. There is no regulation in the UK on who can inject the Botox once it is prescribed.
Don’t assume just because your practitioner is a doctor or nurse that they are safe.
So you have found someone that has a great offer on Botox, great! …..Well, maybe not. A large proportion of medical professionals that inject Botox (and fillers) have had only very basic training for this. Most of the training courses in the UK for Botox are only a day or two long and the practitioner may have only injected a plastic model or 1 volunteer. Certainly not enough experience for your face, is it? To put it another way, would you trust your plumber to come and fix your electrics in your house after a 1-day course on wiring? I certainly wouldn’t.
Do insist on a consultation before agreeing to any treatments
A proper consultation before any treatment is decided on is an absolute must. There may be very good reasons for you wanting to have a certain area of wrinkles treated but are there alternatives? Are there any health reasons why it could be unsafe for you? Be honest and upfront with your practitioner at this consult and let them know about any health problems you have or medications you may take. An experienced practitioner will be carefully evaluating you that whole time to see how different areas of your face naturally move, so that they can keep you looking refreshed instead of expressionless when they do a treatment.
Don’t be tempted by super-low prices
Botox is now more widely available than ever before from various outlets (it’s not uncommon to see this in beauty salons!), it’s so important you see a qualified, experienced expert, even if they are more expensive. Yes, there are some clinics that will charge you really low prices, but remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. You don’t want to penny-pinch on your face!
Do know what to expect
The process of getting Botox is quick and simple. The practitioner will make a few injections in your treatment areas with a tiny needle. It is virtually painless and only rarely causes a bruise. Most people are fine to go about their normal business straight after. Afterwards, your practitioner should advise you to avoid exercise and alcohol for 24 hours.
Don’t be worried if it feels a bit odd at first
The effects of the Botox don’t start for at least the first 48–72 hours with the maximum effect being after 2 weeks usually. It’s not unusual when you first have a treatment for the area to feel ‘odd’. If you think about it this is because your brain is used to moving those muscles all the time and now they are relaxed. People interpret this is different ways, some might call it a ‘numb’ feeling and others a ‘tightness’. Either way, this quickly fades and just leaves the area more relaxed and smooth.
Do look after yourself afterwards
To keep results looking their best avoid things such as smoking, excess alcohol and sun exposure- all of which decrease the longevity of Botox. Expect to need a repeat treatment in 3–5 months which may stretch out longer the more treatments you have over time.
The bottom line is that Botox is a very safe treatment in expert hands. The results can be naturally subtle to frozen-in-your face depending on who performs your procedure, so chose your injector smartly, take your time and think things through and above all — stay safe.
Written by Dr James Dean, Dermatology Doctor at Freyja Medical, Wrexham