Thirty-seven years ago, Dr. Alan Scot introduced botulinum toxin-A as a solution to prevent eye spasms. It was extremely effective and was further utilized to correct all manner of facial spasms and even vocal spasms. Botulinum toxin-A, or Botox, as it is known today, has become a household name, and treatment with Botox is now a part of virtually every cosmetic and dermatology clinic in the United States. However, since its inception as a cosmetic procedure, its rise in popularity has been matched by an increase in myths and misconceptions associated with the drug. Here, we are going to dispell the top six common myths and misconceptions about Botox – and maybe some bonus facts you didn’t know!
Myth 1: Botox is dangerous/There is too much risk involved
Botox is, medically, extremely safe. Besides being a very common procedure nowadays, it has been and still is rigorously tested and controlled. While, yes, it is technically a toxin, it is used in minuscule, diluted dosages and is administered only by professional, trained providers. It would actually take a very large amount (an illegal amount) to harm a human. To put it into perspective, Botox injections are typically under 100 units. It would take over 3000 to cause severe damage!
Also to mention, Botox has many medical uses past cosmetic injections. It has historically been used to treat all manner of muscle spasms, as well as migraines, over sweating, and even assisted with patients who have suffered from strokes!
Lastly, something to remember: It’s FDA approved! This is no small note; the FDA doesn’t judge medical procedures lightly.
Myth 2: Botox is addictive/It requires an ongoing commitment
First off, chemical addiction and physical dependence (such as with alcohol or nicotine) are impossible with injectable neuromodulators such as Botox.
Many secondary concerns are based on what happens to your skin should you choose quit receiving Botox. For one, your face is NOT ruined after you stop getting injections. By the same token, wrinkles and lines do not worsen afterward, either. If anything, over time, muscles become retrained to contract less, resulting in fewer wrinkles produced in the long run. Botox can be safely quit at any time, and over any length of time!
The only thing you may become addicted to is how great you look in the mirror…
Myth 3: My face will freeze/It will be too noticeable
You guessed it, also false!
A big concern for first-time users is the idea that, with the injection, expressions will appear stilted and fake. This is simply not true; there is no loss in expressiveness whatsoever. Some skeptics’ association with the idea of unnatural appearances often stem from outlier cases that were either done cheaply and/or not performed under a proper, licensed physician. This is also why it is important to use only trusted and reviewed physicians.
Understanding HOW Botox works is a key to dispelling this myth: It is injected into specific muscles of the face, where it acts as a neuron blocker, blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles. What it doesn’t do is engage muscles, or tighten them. It allows those certain muscles to stay relaxed, resulting in the lessening of wrinkles in the skin, and giving the patient a smoother appearance.
Botox, when administered correctly, will appear natural and go unnoticed by others!
Myth 4: It is permanent
To many, this will be an obviously false claim, but is still a common misconception!
To further delve into how Botox works, the toxin essentially binds itself to the chemical receptors in the muscles. This is where it will block incoming chemical signals to relax or contract the muscles, keeping them from doing so. Receptors in the muscles phase out with new receptors over time, much like most things inside of our body. When this occurs, the toxin bound to them is lost, too. This is generally when follow-on injections occur.
Botox injections typically last approximately 3-4 months. The impermanence of the procedure allows the patient to retain control over how and when they choose cosmetic enhancements.
Lastly, if injections stop, the skin and muscles of the face will ALWAYS return back to the way they were pre-procedure after it fully wears off. Even with years of Botox use, all will return to normal over time!
Myth 5: Botox is only for when you have established lines/wrinkles
Sensing a pattern? Also false!
It’s pretty well known that preventative maintenance is the best kind of maintenance. It’s simply more efficient and cost effective to prevent something from wearing down rather than fixing it after it does. The same works for our skin! Botox, when used at an appropriately early age, can prevent wrinkles from forming where they otherwise would, and make those wrinkles much easier to manage over time. Preventing wrinkles from forming will pay dividends in the long run, allowing patients to keep a youthful appearance for longer, and with less work.
Myth 6: Botox is for WOMEN!
This is possibly the most misunderstood and widely overlooked myth regarding Botox. And yes, we already know the answer: it’s totally false.
The idea that Botox physically works any differently for men than women is absurd, but that’s not usually the issue. For many reasons, there is a stigma for men to receive cosmetic surgeries/enhancements. It was only in recent decades that the stigma has been lifted for men just simply caring about their appearance at all. The perception that having a vested interest in how you look as being “not manly” is going the wayside, however.
Use of Botox alone, for men, has increased over 250% in the last decade. This is directly disproportional to the drop in the mentioned stigma of male cosmetic procedures.
While appearing younger for men has an obvious attractiveness benefit, this doesn’t necessarily apply only to men searching for partners. Studies point out that appearing younger is a psychological advantage in the competitive job market, as younger men and women are perceived to generate more income than their older looking peers.
If you’d like to read more from reputable sources about Botox, here are a few resources:
Botox (American Osteopathic College of Dermatology)
Botox Injections (American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery)
Can Botox Injections Relieve Arthritis Pain?(Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
Fraudulent Versions of Botox Found in the United States (Food and Drug Administration)
ClinicalTrials.gov: Botulinum Toxins (National Institutes of Health)
We hope you enjoyed reading our compilation of myths of America’s favorite anti-aging procedure. Remember to stay informed! If you have any questions regarding Botox, or any of our procedures, or just want information, feel free to contact either of our offices!