Botox (Botulinum toxin type A) is a type of drug that’s injected directly into the skin to effect muscle weakness that can relax the surrounding skin. The goal is to relax muscles in the area to smooth out wrinkles such as crow’s feet, forehead lines, and frown lines.
The primary uses for Botox include:
- Blepharospasm: This is twitching eyelids
- Dynamic wrinkles: these are wrinkles that appear when you make facial expressions, such as smile lines around the eyes
- Cervical dystonia: This is a neurological disorder that causes twitching of neck
- Excessive sweating
- Strabismus or crossed eyes
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How Botox works
Botox works by relaxing muscles in your face, as an anti-aging procedure. These muscles contract when you smile, talk, or laugh, which can lead to wrinkles and other skin changes over time. Botox reduces these effects, making your skin smooth.
What to expect from Botox treatment
All Botox injections should be administered in a doctor’s office. They may be administered by a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or a physician or doctor specially trained in Botox injections.
Your doctor may first apply an anesthetic to the injection site to ease any pain or discomfort. They’ll then inject a small amount of Botox.
One of the greatest benefits of Botox is that you can get back to your normal activities immediately after treatment.
How soon you’ll see results
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), you’ll start seeing the effects from Botox injections within a week. Your facial muscles may start relaxing after three days.
However, these effects aren’t permanent. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, you can expect your Botox treatment to last between four and six months. After this time, you’ll need to go back to your doctor for more shots if you want to maintain the results of previous injections.
Cost of Botox
The costs related to Botox can vary considerably. This is because you typically pay for each unit/injection, rather than for just the procedure itself, unlike for surgery or dermatological treatments. Some doctors may charge you based on the area being treated instead.
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Costs for Botox can range between $200 and $800 per session, sometimes more. These costs aren’t covered by insurance. Unlike for surgery or dermatological treatments
Is Botox effective for the under-eye area?
Generally, Botox is considered an effective treatment for certain types of wrinkles. Botox cosmetic has been used for wrinkles since the late 1980s. Still, not enough research has been done to rule Botox effective for wrinkles and bags directly under the eyes.
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Your doctor might first determine whether the wrinkles under your eyes are dynamic wrinkles or fine lines. According to the AAO, Botox is useless for fine lines. These shots work better on deeper, dynamic wrinkles.
Side effects of Botox
While Botox may help get rid of wrinkles under your eyes, the injections aren’t without risks. Temporary effects such as droopy eyelids and fat bulges near the injection site may appear. Other possible side effects of Botox injections include:
- swelling and pain (usually right around the injection site)
- temporary muscle weakness
- tears or hollowness under the eyes
There’s also the possibility of more serious side effects from Botox such as:
- difficulties in breathing
- changes in your voice, such as hoarseness
- difficulties swallowing
- blurry/double vision
- facial asymmetry
- loss of muscle use in the face
If you experience any of these symptoms after a Botox injection, call your doctor immediately. A severe reaction to the injections could cause allergy or asthma-like symptoms, such as hives and wheezing.
Alternatives to Botox
If you’re concerned about the safety or effectiveness of Botox for under-eye wrinkles or bags, you might consider talking to your doctor about other options. There are many ways to reduce bags under the eyes. Alternatives to Botox include:
- OTC wrinkle creams
- allergy medications (for bags)
- wrinkle fillers, such as Juvederm
- chemical peels
- cool compress treatments
- eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) for bags
- laser treatments
- skin resurfacing
Botox is not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing, though it’s vague how the injections may affect your baby.