By Dr Alan J. Parks

There are few better compliments you can give a person than telling them they look young. As we age, there are many changes that take place within our bodies, and one of the most noticeable is on the skin. To slow this aging process and get rid of unwanted wrinkles, many people have turned to Botox. While you’ve undoubtedly heard of this procedure, you may be curious about what it really entails, so we’re here to give you the lowdown.

Botulinum toxin is a natural, purified protein that is used to treat wrinkles and facial lines by temporarily relaxing the facial muscles that cause these lines and wrinkles in the first place. Botox by Allergan is the original and best-known brand name. Botox has become so popular because of its effectiveness, its affordability, the low level of risk, and the fact that there is virtually no recovery time.

When Botox is used for a cosmetic procedure it’s used in very small amounts, so it’s not at all harmful. The injection allows the muscles that control facial expression to relax, which enables wrinkles in the skin to smooth out. Botox effectively smooths wrinkles on the face, brows, or neck, and can even slow down the process of deeper lines forming. According to WebMD, “Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle can’t contract. That makes the wrinkles relax and soften.”

Dermatologist Dr Alan Parks of DermWarehouse says, “The injections only take minutes, and they don’t hurt. It will usually take about 3-5 days to see the full effects from the procedure, and these effects will last for about 3 to 4 months in total. Once the muscle action in the areas treated begins to return, so will the lines and wrinkles, though they are often not as severe.”

The only real negative side effects patients tend to experience are minor bruising or swelling. These side effects are rare and mostly from the needle being injected into the skin. This can easily be covered up using makeup. If done properly and professionally, Botox injections should also not cause any patient to look like they have an unnatural or frozen expression on their face.

This treatment can be used on a wide range of patients, and is best suited for those with moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows. It can also be used around the eyes or on the neck. Botox should be avoided for those who suffer from nerve or muscle conditions or complications. You should also not have Botox if you’re pregnant or nursing.

Not only can Botox be used to help eliminate wrinkles, it’s more recently starting to be used for other medical conditions such as excessive sweating, overactive bladder, uncontrollable muscle spasms, and more. Botox does not work on all types of wrinkles, so you should make sure to consult with your doctor first about your particular case.

Dr Alan J. Parks is a board certified in dermatologist and founder of Dr Parks is a recipient of the American Academy of Dermatology Community Service Award for skin cancer screening and the Edmund D. Lowney Teaching Award for teaching dermatology residents.