Botox. It’s a little word with a big reputation – and, as with any medical topic, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about it on the internet. So, we’re here to help: this is where you can get information about cosmetic or medical Botox procedures, and find answers to the most common questions about this long-proven practice. Read on to find out more!
What is Botox?
“Botox”, shortened from “botulinum toxin”, is a brand name for a certain protein that is derived from the bacteria that cause botulism (a type of food poisoning). There are different variations of this compound – Botox was the first to be commercially used, based on a variant called onobotulinumtoxinA.
What is Dysport? Is it different from Botox?
Dysport, Nucieva, Xeomin, and other “Botox-like” products are the brand names of other variants of the botulinum toxin. They are all slightly different in use and dosage and shouldn’t be substituted for one another.
Both Botox and Dysport can be used to treat and prevent wrinkles, fine lines, and deep facial furrows, by reducing the activity of underlying muscles that causes the skin to appear wrinkled.
Is Botox Safe?
Yes! However, it does depend on the person doing the treatment. As with any medical or cosmetic process, you want someone who is trained in proper technique and hygiene.
The History of Botox in Canada
Botox has been around as a treatment since the 1980s, pioneered by a Canadian dermatologist (who is still using it after more than 35 years). It has been approved by Health Canada for over two decades. Analysis of millions of patients over nearly 15 years shows that less than 1/1000 people experience adverse reactions – many of which are due to underlying conditions.
Nowadays, millions of people use Botox each year with no problems at all.
What are the Side Effects of Botox?
Common side effects are generally mild – some swelling, bruising, or redness, perhaps with some discomfort or soreness at the injection site. In extremely rare cases, some patients may experience muscle control issues, leading to trouble with focusing, blinking, or speaking. Ensuring that your Botox technician is certified and experienced is the best way to steer clear of these potential problems.
To go further in-depth regarding safety simply click over to our dedicated blog post titled Is Botox Safe?
How Much Does Botox/Dysport Cost?
These compounds are injected in amounts known as “units”, which vary depending on the procedure and area of the body involved. A general range is about 35-60 units per treatment. Each unit of Botox and Dysport costs anywhere from $8 to $18/unit depending on your providers educations, skills, the clinic you're attending, and your city.
How Botox Works
All variants of the botulinum toxin work by interrupting the transmission of muscle nerve signals. This inhibits their ability to contract, keeping them in a looser, more relaxed state. For a more in-depth breakdown, visit our blog dedicated to how Botox works.
What Does Botox Do?
From a medical perspective, Botox removes the ongoing signals for muscle contraction present in many conditions, like cerebral palsy, cervical dystonia, and others. From a cosmetic standpoint, it smooths out the lines and wrinkles caused by the dynamic contraction of the underlying muscle (though not sun damage or loss of collagen/elastin).
Botox for Skin
Botox is injected to areas like the forehead and glabella, targeting specific muscle groups and helping them relax. This leads to a smoother-looking appearance on the skin around the face, and the effect lasts for months.
Botox for Migraines
Chronic migraine sufferers are some of the biggest users of Botox, as injections help prevent the painful contraction of muscles that cause the headaches. They also block a certain type of nerve inflammation, which has an overall calming effect.
Botox for Hyperhidrosis
For people with excessive sweat disorders, Botox injections block the signals that activate the sweat glands. When done at certain points all along the body (underarms, extremities, chest, back, etc.), this results in less sweating and less discomfort.
Botox for Lip Flips
Botox injections can also be used here in Calgary for lip flips, a cosmetic procedure that enhances the appearance of the upper lip. The treatment involves injecting small amounts of Botox into the muscles around the upper lip, causing it to relax and roll slightly upward. This creates the illusion of a fuller, more defined upper lip without the need for dermal fillers. The effects of a Botox lip flip usually last for several months, and the treatment is a popular choice for those who want a subtle yet noticeable enhancement to their lips.
How Long Does Botox Take to Work?
There is no single answer for this – it depends on the area, the size of the muscles, the frequency and dosage of injections, and how often the patient has had Botox in the past. The best estimates range from a few days to a few weeks, because it’s more important to be slow and safe than to rush the process.
Go further in-depth by visiting our blog post specifically dedicated to how Botox works.
Medical Botox: Uses, Mechanism, and Insurance Coverage
Botox is used for a wide variety of medical conditions. Some of the most common ones are listed here, but you may qualify for others – speak to a certified Botox technician to find out more.
Uses of Medical Botox
- Migraines – Botox is used by sufferers of chronic migraines for reliable, effective relief.
- Teeth Clenching and Grinding (Temporomandibular Disorders) – Botox can help people who grind their teeth, have trouble chewing, or have tension on their temporomandibular joint.
- Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis) – Botox can prevent overactive sweat glands from switching on around the body.
- Neck Spasms (Cervical Dystonia) – Botox can reduce tension in the neck and shoulders, bringing relief to people with this “hunched neck” condition.
- Bladder conditions, poor circulation, seizures, cerebral palsy, etc. – research on the effects of Botox on these conditions is ongoing.
Will My Insurance Cover Medical Botox?
Usually, yes, since medical Botox falls under professional medical treatment. However, there are some requirements, and some conditions are easier than others (e.g., hyperhidrosis treatments are easier to cover than TMD injections). Discuss your options with a medical professional.
The medical Botox insurance process
The process to claim Botox injections is fairly simple. A medical assessment ensures you’re a good candidate for the process, and then we will fill out all the paperwork with you to send to your insurance provider. Within a week or so, the procedure should be approved, and we will call the prescription in to a nearby pharmacy, where you can pick it up before your appointment and bring in to use.
It's also important to note that while the Botox itself is covered, the process of injecting it is not. The first injections, done by a nurse practitioner, are $250, and subsequent appointments are $150.
For more on this, visit our blog titled Medical Botox: Uses, Mechanism, and Insurance Coverage.
Fillers Vs. Botox
If you’re wondering whether to choose fillers or Botox for your face, we’ve got all the information you need to make a decision on one or the other – or even both. If you have any additional questions, we’re always happy to provide the answers.
Pros and Cons of Fillers
Fillers are mainly used to improve lost volume of skin, which occurs naturally as we age. The most common areas are below the eyes, around the cheeks, and the upper lip.
The good stuff? Fillers are non-surgical and quick to use, define your facial structure, and have minimal pain and side effects, all while making you look younger and stimulating collagen growth. However, they’re also not permanent, and there can be additional and unpredictable side effects. The cost will vary, too, depending on factors like area of treatment and which facility you visit. Overall, fillers are safe and a common choice to fill in static lines on the face.
Pros and Cons of Botox
Botox is a quick and relatively painless process with great results that last up to 3 months. Side effects are almost always minimal and disappear rapidly – in a professional clinic, the risks are incredibly low. In addition to the cosmetic side of Botox, it can also be used for medical purposes, too.
However, Botox has downsides, too. It only lasts a few months, so costs add up, and it may take multiple attempts to reach the desired look. Some people can be allergic to the treatment (testing is important!), and like any medical procedure, there are risks of bigger side effects. But with that said, Botox is used around the world every day by millions of people without issue.
Getting Fillers and Botox Together
Yes, you can get both of these together. Sometimes, using the minimum effective dose of one treatment and combining it with another can create a good effect. Talk to a professional medical esthetician to see if this path is right for you.
To go further in-depth simply click over to our dedicated blog post to Fillers versus Botox.
How Long Do Botox Results Last?
Generally, Botox lasts for about 3-4 months before a follow-up treatment is needed. It depends on each person’s specific medical needs, history, and circumstances.
Will I Need Time to Recover from Botox?
Since bruising and redness is a common side effect, we recommend about 2 weeks of recovery time in order to let that heal. So, plan ahead when you’re getting ready for vacation!
How Many Treatments of Botox Will I Need?
You will see results after just one treatment, and we will do a follow-up after two weeks to make sure you’re happy with them. After that, you will need to return every 3-4 months to maintain that appearance.
For more, read our blog about how many treatments of botox are needed.
What Brands of Botox Are There?
Botox is, itself, a brand name, for one particular type of the botulinum protein found in nature. This family of compounds is called neuromodulators. There are other variations of that protein used in medical and cosmetic procedures, which you can find under brand names like Dysport, Xeomin, and Nucieva.
For more on this, visit our blog titled "What Are The Different Brands of Botox?"
Will Botox Lift My Eyebrows?
There is a “Botox brow lift” procedure, which relaxes the muscles beneath your brows and enables your forehead muscles to pull them up higher. This gives your eyes a bigger, brighter appearance. You can find our different Botox facial procedures on our Botox cosmetic page.
This shouldn’t be confused with a brow thread lift, which uses a different process with subdermal threads to move your brows up and lasts for 12-18 months (in comparison to Botox, which lasts about 3-4 months).