Botox Myths

Despite the fact that Botox has been around for over a decade now and that I have written extensively in this blog about this phenomenal product, I still hear myths about Botox from my own patients and in the media.  I would like to dispel some of the most common myths I have heard recently.

Myth #1: Botox can be used anywhere on the body.

crows-feetBotox is FDA-approved specifically for use between the eyes (scowl lines) and around the eyes (crow’s feet).  The FDA has not yet approved the use of Botox in other areas of the body.

However, as a doctor, I have found ways to use Botox safely to address wrinkles on the forehead and around the mouth as well as to lift the eyebrows.  I have also used Botox under the arms to decrease excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis.

Having said that, there are many places where Botox either would not be effective or would be dangerous.  Also, there are certain conditions where other aesthetic treatments such as lasers or fillers would be more appropriate and effective than Botox.  So, despite being a great medication with lots of uses, Botox is not a panacea or a one-size-fits-all-problems treatment.

Myth #2: Botox works right away.

Botox affects muscle movement by affecting the nerve endings that control a muscle’s movement.  In general, it takes 3 to 5 days to see the first effects of a Botox treatment with full effect occurring in 1-2 weeks.

Myth #3: You can never become immune to Botox.

botox-injections-jawAlthough it is relatively rare, it is possible to develop a resistance to Botox.  This phenomenon is thought to be due to the formation of antibodies to Botox.

The best way to avoid this as a possibility is for specialists like me to use the minimum dose that gives the individual the best desired effect and to retreat only when the Botox effect is wearing off.  So in the rare instance that someone asks for more Botox, this is the reason that I would advise against it.

Myth #4: If you have a facelift or other facial plastic surgery, you will never need Botox.

In previous blog posts, I’ve emphasized how dangerous plastic surgery and other invasive surgery can be, but that is not quite the point of this myth clarification.  Facelifts and most facial plastic surgeries involve dealing with loose skin by tightening and removing excess and/or drooping skin.

Despite these treatments, wrinkles and other lines can still form due to muscles used for expression.  Many people will still need to continue use of Botox even after other facial procedures.

Myth #5: Anyone with medical training can inject Botox.

botox_injection_older_womanThis myth is emphatically wrong.  Just because someone is a doctor does not mean you should let them inject you with Botox.

Medical training helps, but not all doctors are created equal, or are necessarily trained in, or experienced with, injecting Botox.  It’s almost like saying that any doctor can perform brain surgery.

You should only trust your face and appearance to someone with extensive knowledge and experience in the use of Botox and other injectables.  Like a lot of medical procedures, the more a doctor performs Botox injections, the better he or she gets in terms of results and patient satisfaction.

I have injected Botox in thousands of patients over the past decade and feel completely confident that I can assess an individual in consultation and then formulate the best plan for their face.  I prefer to assess a person’s face with digital photography and then have them move their face through various expressions to decide where and how much to inject Botox for each individual.

If you have any questions about these myths or Botox in general, and whether you could be helped by this safe and effective treatment, call Emily or Denise for a free consultation at (207) 873-2158.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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