When it was first introduced in the late 1980s, it was thought that Botox would be something of a cosmetic fad -- one that would be a short-lived hit with the idle rich and then disappear in favor of something else. In reality, it's turned out to be a phenomenon with incredible appeal and staying power.
Last year, more than 6 million people in the US alone underwent Botox injections mostly to address wrinkles on the face. And when you consider that it’s not unusual for a Botox treatment to cost $1,000, that makes it a multi-billion dollar industry.
Not bad for a bacteria. But what exactly is Botox? And is there a way of extending the time between Botox injections?
What are Botox Injections?
Botox injections are clinical procedures where a medical professional injects the botulinum toxin into an area of the face to smooth out wrinkles. Botox is actually a registered trademark of the Irish pharmaceutical company Allergan.
In the late 1980s, it was discovered that the clostridium botulinum bacteria could potentially help those suffering from several different eye conditions. The FDA then approved the drug Botox for use in such cases. Along the way, dermatologists realized that Botox could be used to smooth out forehead creases, crow’s feet, and other types of facial wrinkles and an industry was born.
Pros and Cons of Botox Injections
While many are sold on the virtues of Botox, the fact is like all cosmetic treatments, it has its upside and its downside.
- No permanent effects - If you don’t like the result, just wait a few months and it will go away unlike plastic surgery results that are usually permanent.
- The results are real - One reason Botox has become so popular is because it works.
- No surgery required - Unlike other cosmetic procedures, there’s no surgery required.
- It’s fast - You can be in and out of the clinic or doctor’s office in less than half an hour.
- Few, if any, side effects - Botox treatments are considered generally safe for just about everyone—with the possible exception of pregnant women and those taking antibiotics.
- It’s temporary - One of its big advantages is the fact that it’s temporary and is also one of its big disadvantages.
- It paralyzes areas of the face - Botox paralyzes the nerves, causing the muscles to relax. However, this localized paralysis may prevent you from making certain expressions.
- It’s expensive - While $1,000 or so may not seem like a lot compared to your standard cosmetic surgery procedure. The fact that you have to go back for regular treatments means the cost adds up over time.
How Long does a Botox Injection Last?
A Botox injection normally lasts anywhere from 4 to 6 months although the exact length of time will often vary from person to person. If it’s your first treatment, the effect may wear off a bit faster.
"Botox inactivates the muscle and therefore the muscle doesn't fire and pull on skin, thus reducing animation." - Norman Rowe MD
Top Tips on How to Extend Your Botox Injections
While there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to make your Botox injections last longer, there are steps you can take to increase the odds of extending time between botox injections. Here are some of them:
Wear your sunscreen - It’s a little known fact that UV rays can undermine the effectiveness of Botox. Therefore, after your Botox treatment, make sure you always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen when going outdoors.
While this by itself won't extend how long the Botox treatment will be effective, it can help prevent the sun from shortening that time from 6 months to 3 months.
- Take care of your skin - If you get Botox injections and then let your skin go, you can expect the effects of Botox to break down in pretty short order. Make sure you drink lots of water, continue to exfoliate, and that you moisturize your skin on a daily basis. Allowing your skin to dry out will only undermine the effectiveness of the injections.
- Relax - Stress has a negative effect on almost every aspect of our physiology including our skin. High stress levels release hormones that do a number on our skin and promote the aging process. Stress also manifests itself in our facial expressions, causing us to scrunch up our face in a way that causes the development or reappearance of lines and wrinkles.
Don’t wait until it wears off - Finally, there’s no need to wait until the effects of your previous treatment have completely worn off to get another. In fact, once the lines have reasserted themselves, it will take more Botox and more time to smooth them out again.
Instead, go back for top-up treatments after 4 or 5 months. This will ensure your face always looks great.
Top 3 Clinical Alternatives to Botox Injections
Not everyone is thrilled with the idea (or the expense) of Botox treatments. But you almost never hear of viable alternatives. Are there any? Actually, there are several. But keep in mind that Botox receives the lion's share of the press for one simple reason: it works. That said, here are three clinical alternatives to Botox.
- The brow lift - If you have deep-seated forehead wrinkles, Botox may not be the best solution. Simply because you would have to use so much of it that it may paralyze your entire forehead and run into many thousands of dollars a year just to maintain the look. In which case, a surgical brow lift may be a better solution. It won't be cheap, but it's likely to produce a more or less smooth brow for up to 10 years.
- CO2 laser resurfacing - With this treatment, the dermatologist focuses a laser on the affected skin and the laser penetrates the skin without causing damage. This stimulates collagen production and as a result, the skin slowly begins to plump back up, smoothing out the wrinkles, and crow’s feet.
- Dysport - Like Botox, Dysport is a neurotoxin that essentially paralyzes muscles in a particular area, preventing them from contracting and creating lines. While Dysport can be used on different parts of the face, it’s most effective in the glabella—the area between your eyebrows where vertical lines typically form. It’s also recommended that Dysport be reserved for more serious, deep-seated lines so it’s not as widely applicable as Botox.
Another alternative that just recently entered the market is called Jeuveau. While it’s another neurotoxin like Botox and Dysport, it was developed strictly for cosmetic purposes. Early results suggest it may last a bit longer than either Botox or Dysport. Only time will tell, however, if it actually turns out to be a safe and useful Botox alternative.
Top 5 Product Alternatives to Botox
Clarasome Radiance Restoring Moisturizer has been put under the microscope by product testing giant BioScreen who concluded it produced a significant reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.
Clarasome uses hyaluronic acid to remove dead skin cells and pave the way for new, healthier skin. At the same time, it nurtures the development of that new skin with a formulation rich in vitamins and other nutrients. It’s far and away our top non-clinical Botox alternative.
- Clinically proven to restore youthful appearance
- Contains glycerin and coconut oil to improve surface condition
- Does an outstanding job restoring moisture levels
- You’ll still need sunscreen when you go out
La Prairie Cellular Power Charge Night $530
Obviously, at this price, La Prairie Cellular Power Charge Night is not for everyone. But if you can make the purchase, you're likely to enjoy reduced wrinkling and a softening up of fine lines. We’d have a hard time justifying the cost since Clarasome does a better job for 1/10th of the price.
But if you decide to take the Charge Night plunge, you’re likely to enjoy some benefits such as:
- Does a good job on fine lines
- Your skin will feel more moist and supple
- You could buy 11 jars of clarasome for the same price
RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream $16
First off, RoC Retinol Correxion cream feels great when you apply it. It's soft and luxurious and you can almost feel your skin soaking it up. We also appreciate the squeeze tube as it’s typically more hygienic than jars. Beyond that, RoC does a good job on tiny wrinkles and making more deep-seated wrinkles appear less severe.
- You may want to use it just for how good it feels going on
- It does a good job on less severe wrinkles
- The scent isn’t going to win over lots of fans
- It treats your skin but doesn’t really repair it.
L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Cream $64
L'Occitane reaches deep into the trendy ingredient well to deliver a product that contains holly extract and ruscus (a type of Asian shrub). Does it work? Well, if it didn't work to some degree, we wouldn't include it here. It actually does a good job making skin feel smoother and more supple. And some women are likely to notice a reduction in fine lines.
- Definitely makes your skin feel better
- Can reduce the appearance of fine lines
- May want to pass if you have sensitive skin
Natura Bisse Essential Shock Intense Cream $115
Natura Bisse Essential Shock is another pricey face cream that does a good job making your skin feel younger. It’s probably second best after Clarasome at restoring tone to your skin and it does a better job on larger expression lines than some of the competition.
- Skin feels soft and supple
- Improves tone
- Softens up some larger lines
“Thank God for Botox.” - Bonnie Tyler
Bottom Line: Should You Try Botox Injections?
Extending time between Botox injections will take diligence on your part. But there is no doubt that Botox itself produces results. And, in spite of the fact that there are a number of competitors seeking to steal its crown, it continues to grow in popularity.
That's because it's also low impact, has proven itself safe, and treatments only take a few minutes.
At the same time, however, there will be plenty of people averse to the notion of injecting a toxin into their face in order to smooth out wrinkles. And we certainly understand that and for that purpose, we recommend clarafuse Silicone Patches for Face by Dermaclara Beauty.