Written by Avery Samuels, Reviewed by Dr. Justin Harper, MD
1. Are Botox injections dangerous?
The short answer here is no! In such small doses, the substance from which Botox is derived is harmless, and the product has been FDA approved for years. Botox works by preventing the release of a neurotransmitter called Acetylcholine, which instructs muscles cells to contract and form facial expressions that might cause wrinkles. When the neurotransmitter is blocked, the face can relax and let the wrinkles smooth out. The motor neurons that release these chemical signals, however, remain completely intact.
The saline-based Botox that you receive in a medical office is actually a heavily diluted version of a powdered Botox concentrate. Because the concentration is so low for cosmetic treatments, Botox can safely be used to achieve site-specific muscle paralysis without posing a threat to any other part of the body.
Although Botox has minor and typically transient side effects for 1 in 3,333 cases (usually due to allergic reactions), you should still consult an experienced physician prior to receiving Botox treatments, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition that affects motor function.
2. Will Botox cause my face to sag?
The answer here is also no. Your face has hundreds of interconnected muscles, only some of which make the facial expressions that cause the skin to wrinkle. Although Botox will never cause the treated muscle to lose function indefinitely, repeated injections will weaken the muscles that cause expression-related wrinkles.
When injected by an experienced practitioner, Botox-related muscle weakening will have no negative effects on facial appearance and will decrease that amount of Botox required for subsequent treatment.
3. If you get Botox too frequently will you become immune to it?
The chance of this happening is almost non-existent. In fact, only about 1% of the population receiving Botox injections develops antibodies that render subsequent injections ineffective. However, the majority of those who become immune are receiving Botox injections for medical purposes, which require a much higher dosage.
Scientists have also recently engineered a newer form of Botox with a smaller “protein load” that decreases the potential for the production of neutralizing antibodies.
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