Botox® is one of the most well-known and sought-after cosmetic procedures in the United States. According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, in 2013, ASDS dermatologists performed nearly 1.8 million neuromodulator injection procedures, up from 1.5 million in 2012. But despite its popularity, many questions still exist regarding this injectable treatment. Here’s what you should know about Botox®.

What Is It?

Onabotulinum toxin A is the generic name for Botox®. It is a purified protein derived from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Because it is a piece of protein, and not the bacteria itself, it can’t generate more toxin in your body and make you sick. Botulinum toxin is a well-known injectable agent for treatment of frown lines and wrinkles. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons are able to smooth skin by injecting the toxin into eyebrows, foreheads, outer corners of the eyes, the upper lip, corners of the mouth, and neck to reduce frown lines, crow’s feet, and other common wrinkles.

Botox before and after photos

How Does Botox® Work?

Botox® works by temporarily weakening facial muscles that frequently contract during smiling or frowning by attaching itself to the junction between nerve and muscle. It modifies the transmission of nerve impulses (neuromodulation). By blocking muscle activation, creases are not able to form on your face, which allows existing lines to slowly fade or disappear completely. Its inhibitory activity will last for several months before another treatment is needed.

How Botox Works

Will It Cause Bruising?

Botox® is injected with very small diameter needles, and the amount of fluid injected, determined by your physician, can affect how the fluid spreads in your facial tissue. This could also affect how much swelling or lumpiness you experience, which will resolve itself as the diluent saline is absorbed. Bruising occurs if a small blood vessel is poked during the treatment, and will disappear within a few days. Always choose a skilled dermatologist to get the best possible results.