Wrinkles are like hiccups—annoying and kind of inevitable. But unlike hiccups, which The Bestie and I discovered could be cured with a teaspoon of sugar (yes it works even when it’s a tequilla hiccup!), wrinkles don’t just go away by themselves. Or with a teaspoon of sugar. Or more tequilla.
So when I first propositioned The Bestie about the idea of us getting a bit of Botox for the furrowed brow and crinkly laugh lines I’ve earned from a decade of colourful living, she was adamantly against it. And frankly, I was a bit scared too. I mean, isn’t Botox poison? As an idealistic 21 year old, it was easy to say that I’d never put that stuff in my body, that “poison.” Now, although I am a vegan, green juice, charcoal quaffing health freak, I am still a 39 year old vegan, green juice, charcoal quaffing health freak. AND I HATE THESE WRINKLES!
Being the YouTube Certified Specialist in Health and Science that I am, I figured a little self-serving research could do us both good—and perhaps put an end to the argument of whether to go under the needle or not. And at least make a more educated decision about whether to put Botox in my body or not.
Here is what I found…
“Botox is like Tinder, everyone does it but nobody talks about it…”
From everyone who has done it,
Since the beginning of time…
Botox is a really widely used treatment used by men and women to help with preventing and minimizing facial lines, changing facial contour and giving a fresh look to faces that are stressed, tried or just in need of a pep-up.
Minimal chance of side effects and near-instant results at a low cost make it the number one antiaging treatment for all ages.
Having Botox in Bali is known to be a less expensive skincare solution as the cost per unit is often less than in Western countries like Australia and Europe. Doctors in Indonesia and excellent and if you find the right fit, you will happily make a twice yearly trip to The Island for your regular top ups. Remember to look for a clean, comfortable space and don’t be afraid to ask any questions you have about the treatment.
What actually is Botox?
Botox is a neurotoxin, which sounds scary, but is perfectly safe—as long as it’s made and administered by a licensed professional. Botox is a drug made from a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum called botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin has proven to be a successful and valuable therapeutic protein when dosage, frequency of treatment and variety of treated clinical conditions are considered. Basically: when it’s done right. When it’s done wrong—like, really, really wrong—it can cause “botulism-like symptoms which may include muscle weakness, trouble breathing, speaking or swallowing, bladder control issues, and vision problems. In my research I did not come across this sort of reaction in any of my research. This is VERY UNLIKELY but a more than convincing enough reason not to go bargain hunting for Botox, to pick a well reputed organization and feel comfortable with what is happening.
It comes in powder form, and the doctor dilutes it with saline to make it an injectable. By using saline, they’re also “watering it down,” effectively taking out any noxious capabilities. So you’re good.
The chemical kicks into action, blocking nerve transmission in nearby muscles, effectively freezing the area.
After the injection moves from the dermis and into the desired muscle, the nerves there are blocked—rather, their synapses, are blocked—by the Botox. So even though your brain my fire and signal for your body to move a particular muscle, Botox effectively blocks that firing and keeps the muscle from moving. The injected muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften, and also helps prevent new ones from forming.
The effect remains localized, though.
Botox stays only where injected, it does not roam through the body. If you have it injected into your forehead, it will not show up in your toe. It does not have a systemic effect. However, it may migrate up to 3 cm from where it was injected. But even if some molecules were to go into the bloodstream and travel to distant sites in the body, the cosmetic doses (typically less than 100 units) used are significantly lower than the toxic dose that would be harmful systemically (2,500-3,000 units).
It won’t make the area go numb. The body has two types of nerves – one makes motion, the other gives you feeling. Botox blocks only the motion blocker. Good on you Botox!
The injection site could swell like a mosquito bite for an hour afterwards and there is a small risk of bruising if you are prone, but the Doctor we went to at Eden Life Centres, Dr Dude (yes, Dr Dude!) was so gentle and careful on The Bestie that she had none of these reactions aside from tiny swelling for an hour afterwards. The swelling comes from the saline that the Botox is diluted with, and no issue.
What you do after the injection can also make a difference: Take care not to rub or massage the treated areas, as this can cause the toxin to migrate. Also they will tell you to not lie horizontal for 5 hours after the injection to keep the Botox in the right place. Keep hydrated and don’t panic if you have a mild, dull headache that evening. It will pass.
In a few days (think anywhere from three to seven), you’ll have noticeably smoother skin. After 10 days the full effect will take place and this can be expected to last from 2-4 months. Note, if you exercise a lot or live in a hot environment (Hello Bali!) the Botox will have a shorter life and you may start looking for a top up after 3 months. Heat breaks it down faster. This still does not inspire me to move to a colder climate but explains why my Bali friends have said they have it more frequently than my Melbourne friends.
Botox can also help future wrinkles from forming.
It has a prophylactic effect – if you can inactivate a muscle before it pulls the skin it will prevent lines from getting worse.
Once the protein stops functioning at the neuromuscular junction, it is broken down into its harmless components (amino acids) and either recycled for use in other proteins or excreted by the kidneys. The bigger the muscle, the quicker you’ll see motion return. Likewise, the smaller the muscle, the longer the effect of botox lasts.
It doesn’t have a tolerance effect, either—your body never gets used to Botox or builds up tolerance levels to it. Handy.
It’s not just about wrinkles and frown lines: Botox is used to treat a variety of conditions.
The biological blocking powers of Botox are used to treat migranes, muscular disorders, and some and bowel disorders. It can treat muscle stiffness, muscle spasms, overactive bladder, or loss of bladder control, too. It's also used to stop excessive sweating.
Interesting. Botox blocks sweat glands the same way it blocks nerves in muscles. However, don’t expect to stop sweating entirely because you have got to sweat some where. What’s more, Botox will last far longer in these sweaty situations since the glands are far smaller than the muscles treated. I know a few people from the gym that might benefit from this.
The Bestie (my blog guinea pig) was all over it and looks remarkably fresher than before she tried it. She still looks like herself, but a ‘fresher herself’. It took her 5 days to get these results and aside from the little mosquito bite bumps straight afterwards she had no negative response. I am eagerly signing up for next Tuesday at Eden to try my first Botox treatment…. If you have any feedback or questions, please comment here and I will try to help!