Technically, Botox is a toxic chemical. The drug is made from botulinum toxin type A—the same toxin that causes botulism (a serious form of food poisoning). Admittedly, this sounds pretty scary on the surface, and people may be led to believe that cosmetic Botox injections are risky and/or harmful to one’s health. However, the reality is that Botox injections are safe when administered by a competent professional. Let’s dig deeper to fully assess the question: is Botox harmful?
Overview of Cosmetic Botox Injections
Cosmetic Botox and dermal filler injectable treatments involve injecting small amounts of the chemical into specific areas of the patient’s face. The Botox temporarily restricts movement of the targeted facial muscles, which causes wrinkles to soften and diminish. The effects of Botox are not permanent—they typically wear off within 3-6 months. Given the manner of Botox’s function, it’s most applicable to wrinkles such as crow’s feet, frown lines, and forehead lines. While botulinum toxin type A is dangerous in high quantities, the amount used in cosmetic Botox treatments is far below any level that is associated with serious health risks.
FDA Approval and Statistics
Botox injections have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and are safe for both short-term and long-term use. Botox was originally developed to treat strabismus (crossed eyes), and in the mid-90s its wrinkle-reducing effects began to attract attention. The FDA approved Botox for cosmetic use in 2002, and the number of reported adverse effects leading up to that point was very low. Between 1989 and 2003, there were only thirty-six cases of serious adverse effects from cosmetic Botox, and about one-third of those may have been linked to preexisting conditions.
Botox Risks and Side Effects
In general, the risks and side effects associated with cosmetic Botox are minor. While uncommon, side effects can include pain, swelling, bruising, headache, fever, and chills. These reactions are usually short-lived and should resolve within a few days. In some cases, the Botox can cause undesired aesthetic outcomes including drooping eyelids and uneven eyebrows. These issues are also temporary, and typically fade within weeks. In the most extreme cases, patients may experience botulism-like symptoms, including difficulty speaking/swallowing/breathing, general weakness, and vision problems. These cases are very rare and should be reported to your doctor immediately.
Ensuring Your Safety
Although Botox is considered a safe treatment, it should only be administered by qualified professionals. Receiving Botox injections from an untrained individual will increase the risk of complications. If you’re considering Botox, you should only seek treatment from a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
At Visage Cosmetic Clinic, we are fully certified and experienced in Botox injection. You’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your treatment is being handled by the best in the business. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!