Wrinkle erasing botox injections have come home to roost in the living rooms of average Americans from Arkansas to Arizona. Once thought to be accessible only by the wealthy and well-known, Botox, a drug derived from a poison called Botulinum toxin, has been used for years in doctors’ offices to help treat and prevent mild to severe facial wrinkles.
Botox treatments boast diluted samples of nerve blocking toxins, which prevent muscles from contracting during normal facial expressions and help to soften and relax facial wrinkling. For a culture bent on preternaturally youthful looks, this sounds like a miracle cure. Botox is fast, painless, relatively affordable, and it’s becoming a way for estheticians, dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons to grow their patient lists.
At a cost of about $350 per injection and a life span of approximately three months, for those of us with furrowed brows, laugh lines and crow’s feet and a large measure of vanity, Botox injections may seem like the discount fountain of youth- and with Botox parties growing in popularity, you can get it in the Jones’ living room along with hors d’oeuvres and a glass of Chardonnay.
The danger in these parties and with Botox injections in general, is that on occasion, Botox can migrate from the injection area. An injection into a frown line could send the nerve blocking agent to other areas of the face and cause a “sleepy eye” or a frozen appearance. While Botox is not a permanent wrinkle treatment, any amount of time spent with an unmoving expression could cause some distress.
Many doctors strongly disagree with making Botox house calls, saying it invites criticism of their profession, detracts from professionalism and raises the chances for poor results. Although Botox is used mainly to smooth out the wrinkles of an age-obsessed beauty conscious society, the Botox drug itself can also be used to treat excessive sweating in palms and underarms, cerebral palsy in children, and herniated discs. “Botox should not be underestimated as a real drug meant for medical use,” says one doctor.
Doctors and surgeons urge their patients to consider botox and any form of cosmetic improvement with some due deliberation. Reflect on the time, place and the person administering the treatment before going under the syringe, and above all, be aware that there are risks associated with botox treatments.