Since receiving approval from Therapeutic Goods Administration for medical use in 1999 and cosmetic use in 2002, Botox has become a booming business.
Although Botox and other cosmetic injectables have gained immense popularity and continue to do so, the industry still presents several uncertainties. Therefore, it’s essential to conduct thorough research before deciding to undergo treatment.
If you’re an older woman considering getting Botox or dermal fillers, you may be wondering if they’re safe for use in your age group or if it’s worth the effort.
To address common questions and concerns, Starts at 60 spoke to Dr Ginni Mansberg, co-founder of Evidence Skincare and Dr Vihang Sharma, Cosmetic Doctor and founder of Skin Club, to give us a run down of all things botox.
Botox vs derma filler- what’s the difference?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of Botox, let’s talk about what makes them different from dermal filters.
Botox freezes the muscles whereas derma filler fills areas in the face. They’re two very different procedures so depending on the patient, some professionals may even recommend a combination of the two.
For example, if someone is concerned about deep “eye bags” and crow’s feet, Dr Sharma recommends filler to fill in the tear trough for the eye bags and Botox to eliminate the crow’s feet.
How does it work?
Botox injections essentially block and inhibit the release of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine from nerves that stimulate muscle contraction. This causes the muscles in the injected area to temporarily relax. Botox is absorbed into the body where it is eventually eliminated. When injected into the muscles of the face, they relax, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Uses for Botox
While the most common use of Botox injections is to temporarily relax the facial muscles that cause wrinkles, it has been proven effective in clinical trials to treat a range of other issues such as helping to prevent migraines, through to treating cerebral palsy in children, tremors, neck spasms, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) or even an overactive bladder.
Botox is also used for easing migraines or to reduce neck pain. Since Botox relaxes muscles, it can also help to reduce involuntary muscle movement, so it can be beneficial in issues such as eyelid twitching where it can weaken the eyelid muscles.
Is Botox painful?
According to both Dr Sharma and Dr Mansberg, how painful a facial injection is depends on your individual pain threshold.
“Overall, I’d say to expect some discomfort and maybe a bit of bruising. Rarely do people report itch or a skin rash, and allergic reactions there have been a few cases of an allergic reaction,” Dr Mansberg says.
Agreeing, Dr Sharma adds that “most patients will cite a little bit of pain, but it’s generally considered fairly mild. The pain only happens quickly when the needle injects the Botox and is over before you know it! The procedure is very quick, it can be over within half an hour, which includes the initial consult and injecting.”
Is Botox safe for older women?
When administered by a medical professional, Botox injections should be safe. As with all treatments, there are some side effects associated with its use, but most of these are mild and temporary. Pain, tenderness, and bruising may also be present.
Dr Mansberg does note that older age shouldn’t really impact whether or not someone can get Botox. However, due to the delicate skin of people 60 years and above, some may be more susceptible to bruising from the injections, especially if they’re on a blood thinner. She does add that there is no need to stop blood thinners to have Botox injections.
How long does it take to look the way I want it to?
Dr Sharma says patients can expect to see the full results of Botox in 2 weeks. Any earlier than that and you may only be seeing partial results as it does take some time to take full effect.
“I will say though if someone is older and getting Botox for the first time, they may want to do several visits before you get your desired effect. At first, you may not know how much you really need and the injector may not know either – everyone is different and some people react to Botox really well (as in they don’t need much to freeze the muscles) whereas others might need a few visits,” he says.
“It’s better to start off getting less the first time rather than risk overdoing it.”
What is the cost?
Depending on how much you need, you’d expect to pay a minimum of $250 up to around $1000. Different clinics charge differently but most will charge you per unit (the cost increases depending on how many areas are injected and how many units are needed).
Is Botox right for me?
Prioritising the well-being of our bodies and minds is important regardless of age. Our bodies serve as a medium of self-expression, and we feel most authentic when our external appearance aligns with our inner selves.
Opting for procedures such as botox or fillers doesn’t have to be solely about achieving a model-like appearance. What’s remarkable about being a woman today is having the freedom to choose how we want to live our lives. It’s important to make decisions based on our personal feelings rather than societal expectations.
If you are getting Botox for the first time, professionals recommend starting off small and working your way to your desired result. This will also make it feel more natural to you rather than a stark contrast of wrinkles to no wrinkles.
The great thing about Botox is that it is temporary – so if you’re unsure about it, consider giving it a go and know that if you don’t really like it, it will be gone before you know it!
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.
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