How Effective is Botox&Reg; for Wrinkles?

Amanda Lacasse

Botox® is the trade name for a commercially purified preparation made from the botulinum toxin, which causes a serious form of food poisoning known as botulism. When using Botox® for wrinkles, it is administered via injection directly into the areas of the face where wrinkles are prominent, and it works by blocking the nerve impulses that cause facial muscles to contract. The most common sites for Botox® injections are the forehead, including the area between the eyes, and the outer portion of the eyes. Botox® treatments effectively prevent furrows and crow's feet from recurring for a period of three to six months, after which the injections must be repeated to maintain a smooth, wrinkle-free countenance.

Botox is temporarily effective for crow's feet.
Botox is temporarily effective for crow's feet.

Many patients favor using Botox® for wrinkles because it is a fairly non-invasive cosmetic procedure that yields quick results with minimal recovery time. Some patients experience some degree of bruising and swelling at the injection site; it generally subsides after several hours, though a minority may find their symptoms take up to two days to abate. Other side effects of Botox® injections may include pain, nausea and headache, as well bleeding or infection at the site of injection.

Botox® treatments are usually effective for three to six months.
Botox® treatments are usually effective for three to six months.

For those who receive Botox® injections near the eyes, temporary eyelid drooping and decreased blinking, which may cause dryness of the cornea, may also occur. In rare cases, anaphylactic shock, sometimes resulting in death, can occur. While using Botox® for wrinkles is safe for most healthy people, patients should check with their doctor before undergoing Botox® treatment. Botox® injections may interact with certain supplements and medications, particularly those that may thin the blood, and pregnant or nursing women are generally advised against the treatment. Those with neuromuscular diseases or active infections are also not good candidates for Botox® treatments.

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People commonly get Botox® injections around their eyes.
People commonly get Botox® injections around their eyes.

In addition to its role in reducing facial wrinkles, Botox® has also been used to relieve muscles spasms of the eyelid and neck, as well as excessive perspiration. It has also played a role in the treatment of migraine headaches, and a 2003 study by the American Headache Society found that 80 percent of study participants reported noticeable relief after Botox® treatment. Although Botox® injections have not been approved for this use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it may be prescribed as an off-label remedy.

A vial and syringe for a Botox® injection.
A vial and syringe for a Botox® injection.

The price of injections of Botox® for wrinkles is considerable, running several hundred U.S. Dollars (USD) per injection. The cost of treatment purely for cosmetic reasons is seldom covered by health insurance and may vary according to where you live and who provides the treatment. Patients should be aware that multiple injections are the norm.

The forehead is one of the most common sites for people to try Botox injections.
The forehead is one of the most common sites for people to try Botox injections.

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