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Dos And Don’ts: Everything You Need to Know About Botox

Photo: Irving Penn

After 30 years’ experience in the field and approximately 80 million vials manufactured and distributed in that time, BOTOX® is booming. Whilst there are many different reasons as to why someone might want to try Botox – it could be medicinal (to treat chronic migraines or excessive sweating), or it could be more cosmetic (to smooth out the complexion and reduce the appearance of wrinkles) – what remains constant is the need to see a good practitioner and to be armed with the right questions. Here, what to look as well as – just as importantly – what you need to avoid.

Don’t Settle For Anything Less
First and foremost, there are many neurotoxin copycats out there, some of which are cheaper than the real deal. Don’t be afraid to ask your practitioner what injectable they are using and make sure it’s the brand produced by Allergan that has the registered trademark. Like buying a great pair of shoes, or a good holiday, going with the cheapest option isn’t always best where facial procedures are concerned. “Always make sure the clinic you go to will look after you throughout your patient journey”, says Dr Tapan Patel, founder of Phi Clinic. “Don’t be tempted by low prices but judge the value on how professional the consultation was. Botox is a pedigree product and it has the most widely used and largest safety record of all toxins. However, there will be other toxins used that are cheaper so check which is being used by your doctor.”

Do Your Research
Put social media to good use and see if your preferred doctor has an Instagram account showcasing their work. “Although Botox is now more widely available, it’s so important to do your research and ensure you see a qualified, experienced expert”, says Jana Vogt, plastic surgeon at Mallucci London. “Injecting Botox is an expert procedure and should be administered by a qualified and trained practitioner. Review any before-and-after photos to see if they are the look you desire and look for independent reviews online.”

Don’t Self Medicate
“Although you may be tempted to take a painkiller, do not pre-treat with medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen prior to treatment as they can increase the risk of bruising”, says Dr Maryam Zamani, oculoplastic surgeon and aesthetic doctor. “Using topical numbing creams, ice packs, vibrating sticks, and breathing are alternatives to have at your disposable.”

Do Ask (A Lot) Of Questions
Yes, it might seem obvious, but you are entitled to ask as many questions as you want in your consultation. Equally you are entitled to want to go away and process the information you have been given before committing to a procedure. A good practitioner should not charge you for the consultation either.

Do Keep An Open Mind
“The aesthetic toolkit has several options”, says Dr Tapan Patel, founder of Phi Clinic. “Botox is of course one of the best known, but talk through what other treatments can be used, as Botox alone doesn’t treat everything. Listen and discuss with your chosen practitioner and discuss what will work best for you and on which area. When you have identified your priority areas (the areas that concern you) talk through the possible treatment options.”

Do Start Slowly And Conservatively
“Take a conservative approach to the treatment,” advises Dr Zamani. “I treat my patients conservatively and request them to follow up after two weeks to evaluate the effects and possibly top up (with no extra cost) to ensure beautiful, natural-looking results.” She also warns against preventative injectables: “Although the treatment can stop visible expression lines and wrinkles from getting worse, you may end up being committed to Botulinum toxin for multiple decades. In my professional opinion, it is generally best to treat lines and wrinkles with botulinum toxin once they appear. Discuss in depth with your consultant to determine the best treatment protocol for your issues.”

Don’t Exercise Straight After
Whilst having Botox doesn’t involve any down time (save for a few red marks where the needle will have gone in), it’s best to take things easy just after. “Normal daily activity can be resumed straight after treatment, though you should avoid exercising or partaking in any strenuous activity for up to 24 hours”, says Dr Vogt.

Do Be Patient
Results can take up to two weeks to be fully visible (although more often than not it takes around five days to settle in), so don’t rush back to your aesthetician if you don’t see any noticeable results immediately.

Don’t Rush Back
Botox top-ups should be reviewed every three to four months. Don’t be tempted to rush back before then, as your practitioner will have the best chance of seeing what they need to treat once the effects of the previous treatment have worn off.

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