Aging is a natural process, but you still may feel conflicted about it. On the one hand, you may believe your wrinkles give your face character and strength. On the other hand, you may feel like you don’t want quite that much “character” at this stage of your life. 

You may have heard about Botox and filler treatments. Can these treatments restore youth to your face without making it look unnatural?

Krishma Patel, certified Physician Assistant at Lake Nona Ophthalmology Med Spa says, “Patients do want a certain look and many of them want a natural result which portrays graceful aging. Our perspective is to engage patients in a gradual process to help them achieve their goals.”

What Does Botox Do? 

FillersBotox actually does quite a few things, with one of the more well known being its ability to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, restoring a more youthful appearance without significant downtime.

Botox is the brand name for a naturally occurring protein called botulinum toxin. Produced by a bacterium called clostridium botulinum, this chemical is found in animals, plants, soil, and water. It’s a natural substance that is also toxic, but scientists have found a way to use this protein safely and effectively to treat medical conditions such as neck spasms (cervical dystonia), excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), lazy eye, or an overactive bladder.

Botox is different from fillers, which contain safe gels and minerals designed to plump up the skin. Dermal fillers are also injected into the skin, and can plump thinning lips or enhance shallow areas of the face. Together, these two treatments can restore the look of healthy, youthful skin in a way that achieves the patient’s individual goals.

Botox entered the public consciousness through the use of the chemical to reduce the appearance of skin wrinkles. This is a perfectly safe application that has dramatic results. Botox and many other facial fillers can restore a youthful appearance to the skin without surgery or downtime.

Are Botox and Fillers Safe?

Small doses of the botulinum toxin are completely safe and have been used to treat medical and cosmetic patients for two decades. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported only 36 cases of adverse effects associated with cosmetic use of Botox between 1989 and 2003. 

These numbers are startling when you consider that in 2016 alone, more than seven million people had Botox treatments. The popularity of Botox has increased by more than 40% over the past decade. 

The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology says: 

“Botox injections have been used safely and effectively to treat ophthalmologic and neurologic disorders for over 20 years. The effects of the injections usually
last four to six months.”

Dermal fillers are also safe when used as a treatment to improve the skin. The FDA says, “In studies of dermal fillers approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, people generally report they are satisfied with their treatment results.”

Fillers are injectable substances that go in select places under the skin. These materials include:

  • Collagen injections, made of purified human or cow collagen
  • Hyaluronic acid gel, a product that is produced naturally in the body
  • Calcium hydroxylapatite, a mineral found in bone
  • Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), a synthetic biodegradable substance

Why Do People Choose Botox and Fillers?

While Botox injections may be associated with human vanity, in fact, researchers at Northwestern University found that the reasons people choose to receive these cosmetic treatments is more complex. Researchers studied more than 500 Botox patients and found nearly 70% said they wanted a way to improve their psychological well-being and happiness. 

Nearly 61% said they received Botox as a way to treat themselves or celebrate a special occasion. Still others (59%) reported they wanted to look good in their professional career. More than 50% received the injection for physical illness such as chronic migraines, bladder dysfunction or eye twitching. 

The research, published in JAMA Dermatology, concluded that the reasons patients choose Botox is for more than cosmetic vanity:

“Common reasons included emotional, psychological, and practical motivations in addition to the desire to enhance physical appearance.”

How Does Botox Work? 

The botulinum toxin works as a muscle paralyzer. That’s why these chemicals are deadly in large doses. In small controlled applications, Botox works well to control tiny nerve contractions. For a muscle to contract, the nerves release acetylcholine, which is a chemical response where the nerves meet the muscle cells. Acetylcholine causes the cells to contract, or shorten. Botox injections prevent the release of this chemical messenger, stopping the muscle cells from contracting.

In contrast, fillers work by achieving a filling effect under the skin which can last up to six months, when the body naturally absorbs them.

Can Botox Look Natural?

what is botoxToday, Botox is most commonly used to reduce facial wrinkles and leave the patient with a natural, youthful look. These treatments can last from three months to one year, depending on the type of treatment. Patients often request Botox treatments to reduce the appearance of:

  • Bracket lines at the corners of the mouth
  • Cobblestone skin on the chin area
  • Crow’s feet, or wrinkles at the corners of the eyes
  • Frown lines between the eyebrows
  • Horizontal worry lines in the forehead

To get the best results, patients typically seek a natural look by spacing out the number of injections they ultimately need to gradually change their look and avoid an overly “plastic” appearance.

The team at the Lake Nona Ophthalmology Med Spa suggests a gradual series of treatments to help patients:

  • Look more natural
  • Be involved in the process
  • Ease some of the financial burden
  • Allow the changes to look less dramatic and more natural
  • Have more self-confidence when going out into public

According to Krishma, “What you see on television or on social media is not necessarily representative of most patients.” She is referring to the plastic, paralyzed look that some celebrities have experienced over the course of their treatments. 

Krishma recounts that the first goal for anyone seeking more natural results should always be to engage patients in a gradual process instead of having a sudden and dramatic result that people notice.  

The first step is finding a trusted, experienced, medically-trained care provider to conduct a thorough examination of your face and have a confidential conversation about your goals for the treatment.

How to Choose the Right Botox Clinic?

 Botox is one of the most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedures in the United States. When combined with fillers, they can have a dramatic and positive effect on how you look and feel.

You have many choices for how to receive these treatments, including by non-licensed or non-clinical providers. However, you should limit your search to only clinically trained and certified providers in approved medical facilities. Look for caregivers who are experts in facial anatomy, with medical credentials—not someone who took a weekend course in Botox injection offering the lowest price in the area. While their price may be less expensive than a clinically approved medical provider, sometimes “cheap” means an inferior service quality—and that’s something you probably shouldn’t consider.

Lake Nona Ophthalmology Med Spa offers Botox and filler treatments at our certified medical spa, a boutique facility staffed by clinical care teams trained in cosmetic aesthetics and skin care. Our team specializes in personalized treatment plans to help you achieve your skin care and beauty goals. Start the conversation with our experience team today by contacting us.

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At Lake Nona Ophthalmology, Dr. Patel and his team provide compassionate, excellent care and treatment for patients throughout Central Florida.

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Chirag J. Patel, MD, FACS, Lake Nona Ophthalmology Founder, and Krishma Patel, PA-C Physician Assistant.