Botox has become a treatment as ubiquitous as a haircut or manicure. Once solely the preserve of trained, elusive medical professionals, Botox is now a treatment offered in every salon, med spa, hotel lobby, and even in the comfort of your own home. Often touted as a ‘wonder solution,’ it is in the arsenal of many women (and men) in the ongoing fight against aging.

So just what do you need to know about this treatment? If you are a Botox-virgin, we have the need-to-knows to prepare you for your first session with confidence.

What Is Botox?

Botox is a neurotoxin which works to block the communication between nerves and muscles. When small amounts are injected into the muscle, it is no longer able to receive a signal from the nerve, telling it to contract. This process results in paralysis of the muscle and lasts around three months. 

It is only useful if the wrinkles which occur as the result of motion, known as dynamic rhytids. For those which occur when you are not moving your face –static wrinkles –you may need fillers or laser resurfacing. 

The toxin is produced by a species of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, the same bacterium which causes botulism. This means that when the bacteria are ingested, the toxin affects every muscle in your body, and can be fatal. However, Botox, as we know it, has been common for many years, and the minimal amount required means that this is a safe and effective procedure.

What You Need to Know?

Botox Is Not Permanent

The effects created by the neurotoxin wear off after around three months, so Botox is not a permanent solution to your wrinkle woes. Once the muscles start to contract again, your motion wrinkles will return. This temporary impact has both positives and negatives. If you decide you are unhappy with the result, you are not stuck with indefinitely. Conversely, if you love the look Botox gives you, you will need to repeat the treatment regularly to keep the results. 

It Has Minimal Downtime

One key advantage to Botox over other treatments is that you can pretty much resume regular activity following the procedure. Your provider may recommend you avoid applying makeup or washing your face, as well as strenuous physical activity as this has the risk of spreading the Botox to other areas of the face or weakening the effects of the injection. You should also avoid touching or messing with the injection site as much as possible. 

Some Preparation Is Required

Botox is a fast, easy treatment with minimal downtime, but there are a few things you will be asked to avoid before the injections. Alcohol, ibuprofen, aspirin, and vitamin supplements such as Vitamin E, ginseng, and fish oil should all be avoided immediately following the procedure. All of these things thin the blood, and this can lead to more extensive bruising after the treatment.

As you can see, Botox has both advantages and downsides, deciding if it’s right for you will take careful consideration.