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In Good Health: Botox for Beginners


We asked a number of women from the UAE what they wish they’d known before embarking on Botox and here are the most common answers they gave us.

We also asked our friend Dr Natalia Spierings, Consultant Dermatologist at Kings College London to explain them all for us, especially for those still on the fence about their first time!

That there are lots of different types that are just as safe and effective as the Botox brand name.

Yes, that is very true – in terms of price, all the brands are pretty much the same. Unless you as a patient have a specific preference for a brand or type of neurotoxin (Botox is a brand name), the most important thing is that your injecting doctor is familiar with the brand he or she is using. I trained with Allergan Botox and that is the brand I use and have always used so I understand and have lots of experience with the dosage. This means that I am fairly good at estimating how much a patient needs and how his or her muscle will respond.

That you should properly research your doctor.

Absolutely. Many doctors (and patients) think that injecting neurotoxin is ‘easy’ but it’s not – it is an art and a skill and involves understanding your patient’s face, how it moves, assessing their muscle bulk, and what he or she wants to achieve with their treatment. It is also about matching the ‘level’ of muscle paralysis to the entire facial aesthetic. For example, an older patient who has more lower face lines would look strange with a totally lineless forehead. Also, patients with excess upper eyelid skin and lots of static forehead lines won’t feel comfortable having a totally ‘frozen’ forehead because they won’t be able to raise their eyebrows enough to apply mascara or eyeshadow. The doctor should always do a full consultation with you and ask you all these types of questions before anything is injected!

That it doesn’t hurt!

Not normally. Most practitioners use very thin 32 gauge needles so pain is absolutely minimized.

That you can buy Emla cream over the counter which numbs your face when used 30 minutes before your treatment.

Correct though generally most patients are just fine (see answer to last question!)

That I should have done it earlier and saved my money on useless face creams

Absolutely 100% agree with this one. The only topical cream that actually improves the appearance of fine lines is topical tretinoin – all other face creams are a variant of Vaseline and just improve hydration temporarily. Neurotoxin does absolutely prevent the formation of static lines when used consistently and appropriately over time. No amount of facials, fancy face creams, lasers or gadgets does the same.

That excessive exercise can make the effects of Botox wear-off more quickly

Yes, so it is believed that some people metabolise neurotoxin faster than others. Whether or not exercise can be to blame, I am not so sure. If you love to exercise I would not suggest reducing your activity level to improve your Botox longevity. We all know physical exercise is the absolute cornerstone of good health and is probably one of the best ways to keep yourself looking young (the other lifestyle things being don’t smoke and stay out of the sun).

That it can go wrong.

It can indeed. One eyelid dropping slightly is the biggest issue (referred to as eyelid ‘ptosis’) but if this happens it is generally short-lived and corrects itself in a matter of weeks. Bruising is the other annoying side effect and bruises can last up to 14 days. It can also be placed incorrectly resulting in too much lateral forehead activity causing a ‘Spok’ brow.

That you should not drink alcohol the night before or day of treatment

This is not true. You do not need to change your activity before or after having neurotoxin injected. You may want to refrain from using NSAIDS (nurofen or ibuprofen) in the days leading up to your treatment as this can make any bruising worse.

That you get to have a follow up and fix bits you aren’t happy with or have a little bit more added!

Absolutely! It takes up to 2 weeks for the effects to kick in. You may need a few more units added in at this point to balance things out or correct some overactivity.

Post botox headaches are a thing!

Yes, indeed but they are generally short-lived.

It can bruise.

Yes and sometimes this cannot be avoided!

That it’s addictive!

Well – it’s not physically addictive but you can become psychologically ‘addicted’ to your line-free or line-reduced face.


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