The B Word: Botox

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If you’re a Hollywood A-lister then popping by your surgeon for a shot of Botox is about as normal as getting a flu jab in winter, but outside of Tinsletown women and men alike have been keeping the treatment as their dirty little secret, until now.

Changing attitudes towards Botox has seen an increase in women hoping to retain their youthful looks, with over 2 million procedures being carried out in the U.K. each year. 

Research shows the average age of the Botox patient in the U.K is 35-44 years old with 70 percent of customers claiming they use the non-surgical treatment to look 'a little fresher', while our search for eternal youth has seen the industry boom to more than £1.7 billion. 

For those that don't know, Botox is a drug prepared from botulin, used medically to treat certain muscular conditions and cosmetically to remove wrinkles by temporarily paralysing facial muscles.

However you may be surprised that research shows that 84% of youth seekers don't even know which chemicals are going into their face, or if the injections actually contain the key ingredient Botulinum toxin, with as much as 15% seeking corrective surgery afterwards. 

Despite these risks, experts are finding even more uses for the seemingly magical serum with a few shots now promised as a cure for frizzy hair, excessive sweating and can even be injected into the soles of the feet as a preventive measure for painful stilettos.

So how much are beauty seekers prepared to pay? Well, a session can range anywhere from £199 to £600 with the customer needing to top up at least twice a year.  However the hefty fee isn't always the only price to pay as there are a string of horror stories ranging from botched jobs, allergic reactions the risk of looking like a wax work figure costing far more in the long run. 

So is Botox genuinely a gift from science or a risky procedure for the sake of vanity? Well, the jury is still out on that one, but one thing is for sure, if you’re going to get it done you need to do your research - but don’t worry we’ve got all your questions answered!

We've called on expert Dr.Preema ( a specialist within the cosmetic procedures to give us the Botox dos and don'ts!

What age should you start getting Botox? 

Although this varies which each individual case, ideally it would be anywhere after or around the mid 30s.

What's this biggest common error people make when getting the procedure? 

I believe the biggest common error with Botulinum toxin, is getting it done too early before any of the lines have appeared. Small doses should be administered at the beginning with a follow-up appointment 2 to 3 weeks after treatment to assess results.

How do I get my Botox to look subtle? 

Ideally you want people to not even realise that the procedure has taken place. If you want to make the treatment look subtle, I would recommend small doses for an extremely natural effect. 

Can it cause irreversible damage? 

This is a big fear for most women. The procedure cannot cause damage that cannot be fixed and as far as we know there are no long-term health risks with this treatment.

What other uses are there for Botox?

Believe it or not, Botulinum toxin isn't just used for cosmetic reasons it can actually be used to treat medical conditions too! In addition to cosmetic procedures like the jawline, neck, chin and bunny lines, it can help with migraines, severe muscular neck spasms and irritable bladder muscles. There have also been instances where chemical is used for children with cerebral palsy. 

Why do you think more women are turning towards the treatment? 

There are a number of reasons as to why women are turning to Botulinum toxin. Increasing low self-esteem, influence from the media and competition with younger women and competitors in the work place are just a few of the factors affecting their decisions. 

Are Botox parties safe?

I understand this has become an increasingly popular trend, but Botulinum toxin parties are not safe and the General Medical Council has issued guidelines "frowning" on such activities.

Do cheaper options come with a higher risk? I.e if I was to go to my local salon, or abroad. 

If in the practitioner at your local salon was accredited with being a doctor, a dentists or a nurse prescriber then you'd expect to be safe in their hands, however I would always be very wary of cheaper options or tempting deals and offers, simply because you have to question what makes the prices so cheap! If you're looking to go abroad, you must seriously consider how the follow-up appointments and any corrective treatments would take place. 

Is there anyone who shouldn't have botulinum toxin at all?

Of course! This treatment isn't suitable for everyone and you definitely shouldn't have Botulinum toxin if you're a pregnant or breast feeding mother. 

I would advise anyone too young or someone diagnosed with certain muscular and neurological disorders to steer clear too. Botulinum toxin is contra indicated with a certain group of antibiotics called aminoycosides.

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