Bacteria isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, the human body relies heavily on bacteria to help degrade food, neutralize toxins and maintain balance in the gut microbiome. The pharmaceutical industry uses bacteria to produce the very antibiotics used to fight bacterial infections, as well as vaccines, enzymes and other medicines. Regardless of where bacteria exist, the role they play depends on myriad factors.
Few bacterial medicines and treatments demonstrate bacteria’s versatility as well as botox. Derived from the same bacteria-produced toxin that can cause lethal botulism, botox is a well-researched, effective treatment with medical and cosmetic applications. Millions of botox treatments are performed each year in the U.S., and they are generally safe when administered by a qualified doctor.
However, cosmetic procedures like botox, microneedling and laser skin resurfacing do require a healing period where additional care must be taken to avoid skin damage. Luckily, APT™ CALM Recovery can help. Keep reading to learn about how botox works and the best botox aftercare.
Preparing for botox injections? Start your recovery off on the right foot by ordering Advanced Performance Technology’s CALM Recovery to soothe skin and promote healing.
Botox is a drug made from botulinum toxin (bo-tox), a neurotoxic protein produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. When injected, ingested or inhaled, botulinum toxin can block the release of certain neurotransmitters, preventing muscles from moving or contracting. The toxin causes flaccid paralysis and can result in the disease botulism.
Botox injections contain a chemical called onobotulinumtoxinA, which is derived from the botulinum toxin. When someone is injected with botox, onobotulinumtoxinA blocks certain nerves, which weakens or paralyzes muscles in the affected area. OnobotulinumtoxinA’s primary function is to block signals that tell a muscle to contract.
Most people associate botox injections with tighter skin, fewer wrinkles and a more youthful appearance. However, botox treatments aren’t strictly cosmetic; doctors use botox to treat a number of medical conditions as well.
The majority of people who receive cosmetic botox injections do so to address visible signs of aging on their face. With precise application, botox injections can limit the mobility of specific facial muscles, creating a smoothing effect. Here are common target areas of cosmetic botox:
- Frown lines between eyebrows
- Crow’s feet on the outer corner of eyes
- Horizontal lines on the forehead
- Smoker’s lines around the mouth
In recent years, botox injections have become an increasingly popular preventative treatment for wrinkles. A 2017 report issued by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery revealed an increase in botox procedures among patients in their 20s and 30s.
Although critics of preventative botox may decry an increasingly image-obsessed society, there is evidence to support preventative botox’ efficacy. Numerous scientific studies confirm that botox injections can help prevent age lines and wrinkles, including a long-term study of twins.
Botox’ ability to block certain chemical signals from nerves has significant implications for people suffering from certain medical conditions. Patients commonly undergo botox injections to treat the following:
- Chronic migraines
- Muscle contractures
- Bladder dysfunction
- Eye twitching
- Cervical dystonia
- Lazy eye
Before a patient undergoes a botox procedure, a doctor should do a thorough assessment of their current medications to eliminate potential interactions. Doctors generally ask patients to pause use of blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medications and alcohol in the days leading up to the procedure to prevent bruising.
The botox procedure doesn’t take very long and is usually performed in a doctor’s office. Patients may choose to have their skin numbed beforehand with a topical anesthetic, ice or vibration anesthesia. After the patient is numbed, the doctor uses a thin needle to inject tiny amounts of botox into their skin or muscles. The procedure’s length depends on the areas being treated, but it generally takes less than 15 minutes.
After the botox procedure, patients should not touch or rub the treated area for 24 hours to avoid spreading the toxin to other areas. After 24 hours, most patients can continue their regular activities.
It generally takes between one and three days for botox injections to start working. How long the effects last depends on the condition being treated and the individual. Many botox treatments provide the desired effects for three months or longer. To maintain the effect, patients must undergo regular follow-up injections.
Despite using the same toxin known to cause life-threatening food poisoning, botox is a relatively safe procedure. In fact, only 36 cases of adverse results in cosmetic botox procedures were reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 1989 and 2003. However, that doesn’t mean the procedure is devoid of risk.
In a 2020 review of studies, researchers found that some people who received cosmetic or therapeutic botox experienced the following:
- Drooping eyelid or eyebrow
- Superficial reddening of the skin
- Pain in the injection area
- Skin discoloration
The majority of reported side effects are mild and temporary, and botox injections are generally considered a safe procedure by the medical community. However, patients seeking botox treatment should select a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to decrease their risk of adverse effects.
In rare cases, patients can undergo botulism-like side-effects that require immediate medical attention. If a patient experiences difficulty speaking, swallowing or breathing or experiences vision problems, loss of bladder control or general weakness, they should seek emergency medical care.
In the first hour after botox treatment, patients should try to exercise their facial muscles by practicing frowning, smiling, etc. These movements help work the botox into the muscles. It’s normal to experience a mild headache and some bruising after botox, and Tylenol can be taken for pain relief.
Patients should avoid facials or face massages in the first 24 hours following treatment, as well as lying down or strenuous exercise in the first three hours following treatment. Patients should also avoid saunas, hot tubs and tanning beds in the first four hours after botox injection.
Botox injections are a relatively safe treatment with cosmetic and medical applications. However, they can irritate and inflame facial skin, as well as cause infection when improperly administered and treated. For the best botox outcomes, patients preparing to undergo botox should consider APT™ CALM Recovery.
CALM Recovery isn’t like other topicals. It uses a proprietary, dual-carrier transdermal drug delivery system called Advanced Penetration Technology™ (APT™) to deliver a potent combination of healing botanical extracts. APT™ solves the absorption problem of most topicals and allows topically applied medications to penetrate the epidermis into the dermis and surrounding tissues safely.
APT™ CALM Recovery doesn’t contain alcohol or any biological ingredients. Instead, it harnesses the power of calendula and ledum to soothe irritated, inflamed skin, as well as arnica to reduce pain and swelling and act as an antibiotic.