Botox: It’s the injectable treatment that celebrities notoriously love to hate but what if we told you that everything you thought you knew about Botox is probably wrong? If you’re interested in banishing your wrinkles (and who isn’t?), it may comfort you to dispel the following myths about Botox:

6 Myths About Botox Debunked

Myth #1: Botox can freeze your face.

Botox doesn’t actually have the power to permanently alter your face after a single injection session (though many of its adherents wish it could). Instead, Botox is a 100% temporary treatment that will wear off within three months, meaning that it cannot freeze your face. The only reason Botox is associated with a “frozen” look is because many celebrities—understandably nervous owing to constantly being in the public eye—get Botox injected too extensively and too frequently. If you follow your cosmetic surgeon’s advice and get injections administered only in “problem areas” once every few months, your face won’t look significantly different, other than showing far fewer wrinkles.

There is, however, a bit of good news for those who turn out to be fans of this injectable compound: Even though Botox can’t permanently freeze muscle tissue, research suggests it can gradually “train” treated facial muscles to relax. As such, many people find that they only need to have “top up” injections every six months after they’ve had a few rounds of Botox.

Myth #2: Adverse reactions to Botox are common.

Because Botox is derived from a substance that is toxic in its unaltered form, many people erroneously believe that adverse reactions to Botox must happen frequently. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While adverse reactions are possible when injecting (or ingesting) practically any substance that is foreign to the body, Botox seldom ever causes serious side-effects. In fact, you’re more likely to experience an allergic reaction to nuts or artificial food coloring than Botox. Moreover, most allergic reactions to Botox simply render the substance ineffective (they produce a non-response to the active ingredient in Botox). They don’t typically create any dangerous symptoms.

The only side effect you’re likely to experience after having Botox is a bit of mild redness and pain around the injection sites. Just as you would have after getting a routine vaccination or any other medical injection. These symptoms usually resolve on their own after a few hours, but you may speed the process along by carefully applying a cool compress to your face.

Myth #3: Botox should only be used after wrinkles appear.

Emerging evidence suggests that using Botox before visible wrinkles are present in the skin may actually have a preventative effect. Having Botox administered as soon as the body starts to produce less collagen (this usually happens between the ages of 25-35, depending on your individual genetics and lifestyle factors) can reduce stress placed on the skin. The less your skin has to “bounce back” after muscle contractions as you get older, the fewer lines will eventually end up imprinted into it.

Myth #4: Botox can get rid of all of a person’s wrinkles.

We wish this were true, but alas, it’s often not the case. Botox is extremely effective for treating “dynamic” wrinkles—wrinkles that are caused by the expansion and contraction of the facial muscles—but it can’t replace lost collagen. This means that some patients (particularly older patients) may still have some fine lines left over after Botox treatment. Fortunately, there’s a nonsurgical treatment available for these “static” wrinkles, too: Dermal fillers. Dermal fillers (like Juvederm and Restylane) both replace lost skin volume and boost the production of collagen.

Myth #5: Botox will interfere with your ability to smile, laugh, frown, etc.

This myth will only be true if you don’t choose your cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist carefully. Injecting too much Botox, or injecting Botox into the wrong places, can sometimes impede facial expressiveness. However, a skilled practitioner will avoid doing the aforementioned. He or she will only inject Botox in small amounts where wrinkles are present while leaving the muscles that allow you to make facial expressions free to operate.

Myth #6: You will become addicted to Botox.

This simply isn’t possible; Botox isn’t a narcotic and therefore lacks any addictive properties. Some people can become psychologically reliant on the confidence boost provided by cosmetic procedures, but this isn’t the same thing as being physically addicted to a substance. If you decide at any point that you want to discontinue Botox use, you can easily do so without experiencing any negative side effects.

So, if all of these myths aren’t true, why does Botox have something of a questionable reputation? The simple answer is that it’s often been misused and abused—not to mention the fact that some people just don’t like the way it looks (and that’s perfectly okay; no procedure is right for everyone). But for those who understand the importance of choosing an excellent cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist, Botox can provide a safe, easy, and very effective way of minimizing wrinkles and fine lines.

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