In a world where you’d be hard pressed to not at least know someone who has Botox, I wonder how many of us understand what Botox is, how, when, and for how long you will see its results, what the risks are, and who should be giving it? I also wonder why it’s important to care about the answers to these questions?…..


What actually is Botox?!

Botox is a purified form of the Botulinum Toxin which is renowned for its ability to paralyze muscle activity. Botox was initially used in medicine to treat muscle spasms, migraines, and excessive sweating, but its popularity skyrocketed when practitioners recognised just how good it was as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.




And how does it work?!…..

Botox essentially blocks nerve signals which prevents muscles from contracting. By reducing muscle contraction, the treatment reduces the formation or worsening of wrinkles.  The muscles remain in this ‘resting’ state until the ‘messengers’ recover which generally takes about 8-12 weeks.


How does muscle contraction cause wrinkles?

The image below perfectly demonstrates how wrinkles form by likening muscle contraction to roman shades. When the shade is raised it creases and folds over itself. The same thing happens with skin.  

Now while none of us want our faces to be compared to a roman blind, you see the point? If we reduce the contraction, the skin stops folding and the lines will inevitably reduce.

How long will the results last?

This tends to vary but results generally last for 8-12 weeks. A reduction in movement can usually be felt and seen after a few days but Botox won’t reach its potential until the 2 week mark.  For this reason, any review should take place as near to this point as possible and additional product should not be given before.  

As you can see in the graph, movement will start to recover after about 8 weeks.


Will having regular treatments improve results?


While this is open to debate it makes sense that if a long gap between treatments can be avoided, lines are less able to establish and static lines (the ones that don’t go away even when the muscles are at rest) will be reduced or significantly improved.  There is also talk of muscle memory and weakening with regular Botox treatments. Both of which will prolong the period of ‘smoothness’.  

Clearly overuse is not advised and there should always be a gap of at least 12 weeks between treatments.

What are the risks?

As with any medical treatment, Botox is not risk free. Not only is facial anatomy incredibly complex, every face is different. Please see my blog which discusses the importance of the initial consultation. The administration of Botox involves injections, any one of which can lead to bruising and swelling. While this is usually minimal, try to allow some time between your treatment and any events where you don’t want to explain bruising!

Asymmetry is another risk. As is either a perceived feeling or appearance of heaviness. Eyelid ptosis is a rare but recognised risk of Botox and is generally caused by product spreading/being administered beyond the intended area. This causes eyelid drooping. Heaviness and a true ptosis are not the same.

Can anyone have Botox?

Injectable aesthetic treatments should not be given to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.  Ever.

Botox is also unsuitable for people with certain neurological conditions or those on certain medications.

Save Face provides further information on suitability for treatment.

Your practitioner will advise on whether Botox is indicated or contraindicated.

Who can administer Botox?

In the UK, Botox is a prescription only medicine, which means that it must be prescribed and given to a patient by a qualified prescriber. If you are not having the treatment done by a qualified prescriber, they should still refer you to a medical professional (the person who prescribes the Botox for them) to check that you are fit for the treatment. By law, the person prescribing the Botox should be a doctor, nurse, dentist or prescribing pharmacist. Guidelines from the General Medical Council (GMC) state that they should meet you face to face and must be present at the client consultation. When the prescriber is happy, you can then be treated.

The prescriber also has responsibility for the outcome of the treatment. Many doctors and nurses are unlikely to want to take responsibility for a non-medical person’s injecting work, so be sure to check that you are happy with the person you have chosen for your Botox treatments.

Please see my blog re finding the right aesthetics practitioner 

Botox is a prescribed drug and as discussed must, by law be prescribed by a qualified prescriber. An experienced injector and prescriber will always ensure that a thorough consultation is performed and should be happy to answer any questions you may have. Consider asking the following;

  • What is your level of experience and qualifications?
  • What is the name or brand of product you are using?
  • Are there any risks or side effects I could experience?
  • What will happen if anything goes wrong?
  • What insurance cover do you have for treatments?

FYI, at Radiant Medical Aesthetics I am the Lead Practitioner. I have almost 30 years of nursing experience and over 12 years in aesthetics. I have performed thousands of treatments and have clinics in Ringmer and Heathfield. We use only Botox from a reputable pharmacy which ensures the safe storage and transport of product.