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There’s a lot more to the botulinum toxin than you think. Here’s what to know before you schedule an appointment.
1. You’ll Feel Happy
Research shows Botox can boost your mood by essentially blocking dour expressions (if you can’t frown, you hopefully can’t feel down), according to Dana Berkowitz, author of Botox Nation: Changing the Face of America and an associate professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies at Louisiana State University. Or, maybe not. “To put it bluntly, Botox recipients may report feeling better simply because they think they look better, and thus feel a boost of self-confidence and self-esteem.”
2. Your Skin May Sag
Say what? University of Calgary researchers found that repeated Botox injections induce muscle weakness, atrophy and loss of contractile tissue—even in tissue away from the site. The result? Droopy skin with reduced volume and tone.
3. It’s Potentially Jaw-Dropping
If you suffer from TMJ or jaw tension, you know how hard it is to get relief. According to the American Academy of Facial Esthetics, off-label Botox effectively eases aches caused by incessant clenching and teeth grinding.
4. It Puts the Kibosh on Headaches
For chronic migraine sufferers, Botox can be magic. “It’s really changed a lot of lives,” says New Jersey Headache Institute’s Sima Solaimanzadeh, MD, who says a series of about 30 injections in the forehead, temple areas, neck and back of the head can cut down on headaches.
How significant? Seventy percent of patients will get headaches about 30 percent less often, says James A. Charles, MD, clinical associate professor of neurology-NJMS and director of Holy Name Medical Center’s Headache Treatment Program, adding that it jumps to 50 percent fewer headaches after a year of treatment. And because it’s been shown to be safe and effective, many patients toss their meds. “People feel better being on Botox alone,” he adds.
5. It Helps You Hold it
Tinkling every time you sneeze, cough, run, jump or belly laugh? A 2014 study found that botulinum toxin eases overactive bladders and urinary incontinence by preventing unintentional contractions (and embarrassing accidents). The downside? Chilled out nerves can relax the bladder so well that patients can’t always go when they gotta.
6. You Can Look Smooth, Not Scary
Afraid of looking frozen? “You can soften movement without completely stopping it,” says Marlton-based dermatologist Naomi Lawrence, MD. When injected into eyebrows, Botox eases the droopy hooding that forehead muscles work so hard to lift, preventing active creasing and allowing natural expression. Wish someone would tell that to Hollywood.
7. It Suppresses Excess Sweating
Do you schvitz like a Saharan jogger for no reason? You may be suffering from an unpleasant medical condition that causes excessive sweating. Fortunately for the wet set, Botox can turn off the spigot. “It works incredibly well for hyperhidrosis under the arms, and is also used off label for other body parts such as [the] hands, feet and scalp,” says Paramus-based dermatologist Rebecca Baxt, MD.
8. You’ll Need to Steer Clear of Unqualified Injectors
“Anyone with a medical or dental license can purchase it, even podiatrists,” says Baxt. “People take weekend courses and start injecting. It’s crazy.” So make sure your provider is board-certified and experienced, otherwise “it will not look good or work.” Or worse.