Most of us have heard of aesthetic treatments, and would certainly know about the ‘Botox’ treatment. However, despite being an extremely common cosmetic procedure, many people do not know exactly what a Botox injection is, how it works, what it can (and cannot) do for you, as well as the different risks that come with Botox injections.
If you are planning to go for Botox injections, or simply want to find out if this is something that you can benefit from, we have prepared a comprehensive guide to answer your most common questions about this aesthetic procedure.
What are Botox injections?
Before we delve in, it is important to first understand what Botox injections are.
What we commonly know as “Botox” actually refers to botulinum toxin type A – this toxin is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which actually causes botulism, a life-threatening form of food poisoning! The bacterium’s effects vary according to the amount and type of exposure. The “botox” injections that we typically get from the clinics are only injected in small, targeted doses that should not cause such dangerous effects.
Botox is actually a brand of such injectable drug, although it’s used quite interexchangeably with botulinum toxin treatment. This is why, in this article, we will refer to it as “botox” injections to differentiate the general treatment from the drug brand.
If you are still wondering why people would inject a life-threatening bacterium into their faces, the short answer is that “botox” injections block signals from your nerves to your muscles and prevent the targeted muscles from contracting – these actions ease certain muscular conditions and in turn improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
What are the different brands of “botox” injections?
There are eight known types of botuliinum toxins named type A-H. Botulinum toxin type A is most commonly used and is better known under brand names such as Botox Cosmetic, Dysport, and Xeomin.
The main distinction between these three brands lies in their formulation, which influences the dosage used, how much the product spreads, and how quickly a patient might see the results. Which of these is best for you will depend on your unique anatomy, your goals, and your surgeon’s recommendations.
Botox Cosmetic is approved for treating forehead lines and crow’s feet in addition to glabellar lines. You may start seeing results from Botox Cosmetic within a week, but the process can take up to one month. Botox injections also last a few months at a time, with some lasting upwards of six months.
Dysport reduces the appearance of lines that primarily affect the glabella, the area in between your eyebrows. In comparison to Botox, Dysport’s treatment scope is more limited as it is not approved for use on other areas, such as forehead lines.
Dysport can start taking effect after a couple of days, and the results last between three and four months. On average, it is less expensive than Botox, but doctors need to use more units of Dysport and you need to go back for more injections to maintain treatment effects, so the cost usually works out to about the same.
Xeomin is similar to Botox in more ways than one. For starters, it is approved for use on frown lines, crow’s feet, and forehead wrinkles. It is also dosed similarly to Botox, which is not the case when compared to Dysport. In addition, the effects of Xeomin occur within one week with the results lasting from three to six months, hence making it highly comparable to Botox.
The key difference between Xeomin and Botox is the fact that the former has no additives, just botulinum toxin type A – this may mean that there is less risk of developing antibodies against Xeomin than other neutrotoxins, hence allowing the injection to work as desired.
What are the different usages of “botox” injections?
The procedure is predominantly used as a cosmetic treatment o reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and fine lines. Below are some of the common ways that “botox” injections are used:
- Correct gummy smiles
- Diminish the prominence of neck bands
- Eliminate or reduce the appearance of dimpling in the chin
- Lift your smile at the corners of your mouth
- Reduce visibility of crow’s feet, frown lines, lip lines, forehead creases, etc.
- Soften square jawlines
- Lift the appearance of your eyebrows giving your eyes a refreshed look
Of these, the most commonly searched applications of “botox” injections are probably jaw botox (for jaw reduction and face slimming), botox on the forehead to get rid of frown lines, and botox on the crow’s feet and around the eyes for more youthful looking eyes.
Beyond aesthetic applications, Botox is also used to treat over 20 different medical conditions, including botox for teeth grinding, eye squints, migraines, excess sweating, and leaky bladders.
For example, it is commonly used to treat certain eye disorders such as crossed eyes, uncontrolled blinking, muscle stiffness/spasms, and movement disorders. Some medical practitioners also use “botox” injections to treat severe underarm sweating and drooling/excess saliva, as it blocks the chemicals that turn on the sweat and salivary glands.
Are “botox” injections dangerous?
Earlier this year, a news report about a 32-year-old real estate agent who died days after getting botulinum toxin injections brought the danger of “botox” injections into the spotlight. Considering that Botox injections are a common procedure in Singapore, many people had assumed that it should be safe, and hence were shocked to find out that it could cause serious health implications.
Following the news, we spoke to Dr. Tan Ying Zhou, the Founder and Medical Director of Mizu Aesthetic Clinic, to find out if “botox” jabs can really cause death, as well as some other health risks that you may not know of.
In summary, there are certain side effects that come with cosmetic usage of “botox” jabs: temporary soreness and aching at the treated areas. Should the toxin travel beyond the intended treatment areas, it can cause temporary unintended weakness in other areas.
For medical usage, higher dosages are used and these may lead to complications. The side effects are dependent on the location of injection and the dose of toxin injected, and can be more serious than those that arise during a cosmetic procedure. They include paralysis of critical muscle groups, arrhythmia, heart attack, seizures, respiratory arrest, and can even be fatal.
Who can legally administer “botox” injections in Singapore?
In other words, you will have to visit a doctor or plastic surgeon as they are the only ones allowed to administer “botox” injections for you, and any other beauty salon that offers such services are running afoul of the law.
How do you choose a medical practitioner for “botox” injections?
The most important, and also the most difficult step, is to decide which licensed medical practitioner and aesthetic clinic to get your injections at.
As with other cosmetic procedures, “botox” injections are part science, part art – the doctor needs to administer the right amount of the drug in the right area so that you can get natural-looking results that effectively eliminate those fine lines without posing any health risks to you. This not only requires precise technical skills, but also expertise that is earned only from years of experience working with different patients.
We recommend that you do your own research and find out if the clinic you are speaking to can offer what you are looking for, be it in terms of procedures, results, or costs. One tip is to look for clinics and practitioners whose main focus is “botox” injections and other aesthetic procedures: if the clinic also provides derma fillers, this is a strong indication that the clinic specialises in this area of cosmetic services.
You should also speak to family and friends who have had similar procedures as they can share their honest reviews with you about the clinics that they have been to.
If you are still clueless about where to start with, you can take reference from The Clifford Clinic, a well-known aesthetic clinic in Singapore that provides aesthetic treatments and services with minimal downtime. Their aesthetic doctors are not only trained and certified to legally carry out “botox” injections, but also have more than 18 years of experience in aesthetic medicine.
The doctor will first conduct a thorough evaluation of your jaw and carefully study your overall facial structure, so that he or she can administer the proper dosage of the drug for a natural-looking and well-proportioned face – this attention to detail is exactly what you should look out for in any clinic offering “botox” injections, so if you are looking to get “botox” injections with low downtime, be sure to keep this clinic in mind.