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Botalk: The Definitive Guide to the Many Uses of Botox®

From science journals to tabloids to chats around the water cooler, there is always a lot of talk about Botox. It goes without saying that a lot of that talk is rubbish. We’re here to set the record straight.

What is Botox and how does it work?

First thing you should know is that Botox is a brand name, like Kleenex® or Xerox®, for a product created by Allergan Pharmaceuticals. Botox is what’s called a neuromodulator, which means that it selectively blocks some nerve signals in your muscles – specifically the ones designed to contract or clench – so that they relax.

How does that affect wrinkles?

Repeated expressions, such as when you frown, squint, raise your eyebrows, or furrow your brows, eventually lead to the formation of facial lines. By relaxing the muscles involved in those expressions, Botox eases the existing lines and prevents the formation of new ones.

Is that all Botox is good for?

The short answer is no! In fact, easing of wrinkles is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the uses of this amazing drug. The FDA has even approved Botox for many therapeutic (non-cosmetic) uses:

  • Chronic migraines
  • Muscle spasms in the arms and legs
  • Overactive bladder
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Cervical dystonia (uncontrollable neck muscle contractions)
  • Eyelid spasms or twitches
  • Strabismus (improper eye alignment)
  • Hyperhidrosis (overactive sweat glands)

Non-FDA-approved therapeutic uses include the treatment of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and bruxism, which is the grinding of teeth. The point of all this is that Botox has been studied greatly, is widely used with FDA oversight, and is safe.

So… talk to me about the good stuff: How would EláMar use Botox to help me?

First a little history: The cosmetic use of Botox grew out of the strabismus treatment trials when they noticed that Botox injections softened the fine lines around the eyes as well as helping with eye alignment. Further study of the cosmetic uses resulted in FDA approval in 2002. The earliest (and continuing) Botox cosmetic use was in treating:

  • Glabellar Lines – a.k.a frown lines or angry 11s
  • Crows Feet – those smile lines that form a the outside corners of our eyes
  • Forehead Lines

Since those early days, Botox has found a number of other cosmetic uses. Let’s have a look.

Botox Brow Lift

With a Botox brow lift, we strategically inject into the muscles that drag the brows down so that the upward-pulling muscle of the forehead can do its job unhindered. The forehead is then able to lift the brows, which makes you look more awake and causes your brows to be better defined.

Result: a subtle but significant awakening of your expression.

Botox Lip Flip

With the lip flip, we inject tiny amounts of the drug at the corners of the mouth and near the Cupid’s Bow (the notch or double curved portion at the center of the upper lip). The result is an unfurling of the lips causing the vermilion border to flip outward a little bit which gives you a very subtle improvement in the amount of upper lip that shows.

Result: lips that appear larger and fuller.

Gummy Smile Treatment

A gummy smile refers to a smile where there’s an excessive amount of upper gum showing. A lot of things can cause gummy smile, but chief among them is a hyperactive muscle that lifts your upper lip too much when you smile. In this instance, Botox is injected into the muscles on each side of the upper lip which hinders its ability to lift so much.

Result: less gummy in the smile!

Facial/Jawline Slimming

There are a number of situations that can cause your face to appear square and bulky. Some of them are genetic, while others are behavioral (teeth-grinding, jaw-clenching). The culprit causing your jaw to appear so square is hypertrophic (enlarged) masseter muscles. To address this situation, we inject Botox into the masseter muscles, which, after a few weeks, relaxes them and causes them to reduce in size.

Result: a slimmer more svelte face.

Neck Slimming

Similar to slimming your jawline, we can inject Botox into hypertrophic neck bands. In a few weeks those large neck muscles reduce in size.

Result: a slimmer more graceful neck

Botox Facials

A Botox facial is a newer technique that delivers Botox in tiny amounts via a stamping device. The stamper creates micro dots in the skin via tiny tiny needles, allowing Botox to be absorbed. It’s perfect for a last minute touch up before a big event or just to add a little extra glow!

What can Botox NOT do?

You probably picked up on a pattern: When muscles contract, they appear bulkier. When they relax, they appear slimmer and more graceful. So, it should come as no surprise that Botox cannot add volume.

Many people confuse Botox with dermal filler (which we’ll discuss in a later article). The main thing to know is that dermal filler adds volume and we use it to shape and sculpt, while Botox is used to slim and relax muscles. Often the two are used together. Enhancements to your chin, cheek, and jaw, for example, involve dermal filler. It’s important to note that, while a lip flip DOES result in some apparent volume enhancement, it only can do so much. Often, to achieve a much fuller lip appearance, we will introduce dermal filler to the equation. Botox is also ineffective for covering dark circles under the eyes.

So, now you know all you need to know about Botox. Botox in combination with dermal filler is a powerful tool for subtly enhancing your appearance and preventing the signs of aging.

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