Botox is in fact the registered trademark for Botulinum Toxin that is owned by Allergan Inc, but it has become the way that most people know Botulinum Toxin by, a bit like we "hoover" carpet rather than vacuum it.

What is Botulinum Toxin and how does it work?

It is produced by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum and it works by blocking the transmission of the nerve impulses so that the muscle cannot contract.

Is it safe?

In the microscopic doses used in aesthetic medicine it is extremely safe, and there is an enormous difference between the therapeutic dose given and the amount to cause harm. It has been used officially in cosmetic medicine for over 10 years and for other medical procedures for over 20 years.

How will I look after the injections?

The immediate site of the injection will look slightly red for a short time. In most people this has disappeared within an hour though occasionally it may take a couple of days to settle.

What are the side effects?

Most people feel nothing adverse at all. Occasionally, some may feel slight flu-like symptoms but this is uncommon. Allergy is a theoretical risk but extremely rare. Occasionally the Botulinum may migrate away from the site of injection on the forehead to cause drooping of the upper eyelid. As with any other injection there is a theoretical danger of infection at the site of infection.

Who cannot have Botulinum?

  • Those who are pregnant or breast-feeding. There is no evidence that Botulinum is dangerous to a foetus, but the advice is to avoid it in these circumstances.
  • Those who have neuro-muscular disorders, such as Eaton-Lambert Disease and Myaesthenia Gravis.
  • People who have these diseases will know they suffer from them.
  • Those on blood thinning tablets (Warfarin or Aspirin). Anybody on these should check with their doctor that it is OK not to take these tablets for 48 hrs before Botox is administered.

What should I do before the treatment?

For general infection control, all makeup will be removed at the site of the injections, so it is easier not to wear make-up on the day of the treatment.
You should not consume alcohol on the day of treatment and only moderately the day before.

What should I do after the treatment?

The main concern is that the Botulinum will migrate from the area of injection to affect other muscles

  • Do not massage the area or reapply makeup for 6 hours and do not have a massage in that area for 24 hrs
  • Do not fly long-haul for 72 hours (this is almost certainly theoretical and based on one case that was almost certainly nothing to do with the flying!)
  • Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours. Alcohol can cause increased blood flow to the skin causing potential migration of the Botulinum away from the site of infection.
  • Do not bend, kneel or stoop excessively for 24 hours

How long does Botulinum last?

Slowly the nerves overcome the effects of the Botulinum and the muscle tone increases again after 3-4 months