Dermatology Associates of the Bay Area

Botox® Cosmetic


BOTOX® Cosmetic is a treatment to temporarily improve the appearance of both moderate to severe frown lines between the brows and crow’s feet lines in adults

BOTOX®  may also be recommended by your doctor for the treatment of other medical conditions.

Before & After Treatment with BOTOX®

Botox before and after treatment
Botox before and after treatment

How does BOTOX® work?

BOTOX® works by weakening the muscle into which it is injected. When a muscle normally contracts, such as when someone smiles, it causes the skin above it to crease.

After treatment, the skin appears smoother and less prone to wrinkling. The lines that result from frequent muscle contractions gradually fade, and in some cases, disappea

How is BOTOX® used?

BOTOX® may help reduce the appearance of the following facial features:

  • Frown lines between the eyebrows
  • Horizontal forehead creases
  • Crow's feet around the eyes
  • Lines on the upper lip caused by pursing the lips
  • Downturned corners of the mouth
  • Neck wrinkles and bands

Your doctor will determine where to inject Botox® and how much medication to use. Following treatment, you will see start seeing results in about 3-5 days, with peak results in 7-10 days.

Over a period of 3-5 months, the botulinum toxin slowly wears off, and the affected muscles regain their ability to contract fully. BOTOX® injections will be periodically repeated as the muscle function returns.Botox® won't reverse the effects of sun damage to the skin, though topical retinoids can be useful for this purpose.

Before receiving BOTOX®

Before scheduling BOTOX® injections, you will need to meet with your doctor to discuss the factors that determine whether BOTOX® will provide the treatment results you are expecting. This discussion generally includes:

  • Costs. Though relatively inexpensive, BOTOX® injections are not usually covered by insurance. Gain a clear understanding of what the costs might be.
  • Expectations. Your doctor can help established reasonable expectations of treatment results. Results may vary depending on the area being treated, your age, and use of other cosmetic treatments. Your doctor may also describe possible side effects.
  • Other medications. You may need to stop using certain medications before receiving Botox® injections, such as blood-thinning medications, (aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix®), warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin). Talk to your doctor before stopping these medications, as it may be best to continue these medications in people who have had blood clots, stroke, heart attack, angina or transient ischemic attacks. Also, let your doctor know if you've received any other Botox® product before (especially in the last four months), recently received antibiotics by injection, or take muscle relaxants, allergy or cold medicines, or sleep medicine.

The Administration of BOTOX®

Your doctor uses a thin needle to inject tiny amounts of Botox® into the muscles. Specific muscles are selected for treatment of a specific area. The number of injections needed depends on many factors, including the extent of the area being treated. BOTOX® injections take about 10 to 15 minutes. You may experience mild pain with the injections, but most people find the discomfort tolerable.

After Receiving BOTOX®

BOTOX® injections require little downtime, although you may experience bruising or other minor local side effects from the injection. Expect to resume your normal daily activities right after the procedure. Take care, though, not to rub or massage the treated areas. This can cause the toxin to migrate to a different area.

What are the side effects from BOTOX®?

Talk to your doctor about the risks of BOTOX® injections and potential side effects.

Common side effects of BOTOX® injections include minor discomfort, redness, and occasional bruising at the injection site. These usually resolve in a few hours to a few days. Rarely, temporary drooping of an eyebrow may occur. This usually resolves after a few weeks.

Although extremely unlikely, there is a possibility that the botulinum toxin may spread to other parts of the body causing more widespread symptoms. Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these effects hours to days after receiving Botox® injections:

  • Muscle weakness all over the body
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Loss of bladder control

Image courtesy of Allergan Inc. Botox® mark owned by Allergan Industries SAS.