Five Side Effects of Botox


It’s quick, painless and accessible. Not to mention it’s less expensive than going under the knife for a surgical facelift. Botox is widely used as an anti-aging treatment that decreases the appearance of wrinkles and lines to give users a fresh, young look. Whether you are unfamiliar with the concept or a seasoned Botox user, it’s worth checking out all this drug has to offer while also considering any potential drawbacks. After all, the treatment continues to grow in popularity and doesn’t look to be going anywhere anytime soon.

  1. Youthful Look

Want to give your skin a smooth and youthful appearance without the constant application of creams and serums or the pain of going under the knife? When used cosmetically, Botox is a convenient go-to option for those looking for fast, proven results, minus the surgery.

The treatment reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by relaxing muscle contractions and blocking nerve impulses. Injections are meant to create a more youthful look by targeting crow’s feet around patients’ eyes, frown lines between the eyebrows and laugh lines around the mouth.

The effects can last several weeks to months, with repeat treatments required for continual results.

While the treatment does correct wrinkles and lines, its effect on facial muscles also impacts facial expressions and animation, giving some heavy users a smoothed-over, plastic look.

For the best beauty outcome, consult your healthcare provider to determine a treatment plan that corresponds with the end result you are hoping to achieve.

  1. Cost considerations

Some patients looking for a facelift are choosing Botox over cosmetic surgery due to the significant price difference. While surgery can cost thousands of dollars, Botox treatments generally range from $300 to $1,000, making it much more affordable and accessible to the average Canadian.

Treatments are usually charged by each unit of the drug that is administered, and unit prices can vary from $10 to $17, depending on the provider. Each target area requires a different number of units. For example, crow’s feet around one’s eyes may need around 25 to 30 units.

Although Botox doesn’t require patients to go under the knife, it is still a procedure that could leave a big hole in your wallet. Whereas cosmetic surgery enhancement can last years, the results of Botox are far more temporary. For continued results, patients usually return after three to six months.

  1. Snowball Effect

For many people, Botox seems like the perfect anti-aging solution. It’s accessible, relatively painless and doesn’t require anesthesia. It’s also quick, with treatments generally only taking a few minutes.

And, for some who may have low self-confidence or body image issues, Botox may be a much-needed jumpstart into a more positive mindset. Often all it takes is to feel good about ones’ self to start making other lifestyle changes, such as eating well-balanced meals and getting regular exercise. Feeling young and healthy may be all the motivation one needs to get the ball rolling in other areas of his or her life.

On the other hand, Botox could have the opposite effect for some users. Seeing as treatments address physical appearance instead of overall physical health, there is a risk of users relying solely on the treatments to feel young and ignoring other steps they could be taking to achieve similar results.

While Botox can kick start positive lifestyle changes, it should not be used to replace the other necessary ingredients for health, such as diet and physical activity.

  1. Medical effects

While Botox is better known for its cosmetic benefits, it has some medical uses as well. In Canada, the drug has been approved to treat chronic migraines, spasticity in muscles and muscle stiffness, and to decrease muscular responsiveness. In the U.S., it has also been approved to treat severe underarm sweating, blepharospasm (eyelid spasm) and strabismus (misalignment of the eyes).

And while the treatment can greatly improve some patients’ conditions, Botox – as with any drug – also comes with some warnings. One of the concerns with Botox is that botulinum toxin-A may spread beyond the original injection site and cause symptoms similar to that of botulism, including swallowing and breathing difficulties.

In 2009, Health Canada announced new labelling information for the drug, which required it to indicate the toxin in Botox products may spread to distant parts of the body. The U.S. Food and Drug Agency has also addressed the concern, and notified manufacturers of the need to strengthen warnings and product labelling regarding toxin spread.

To ensure you are not exposed to high levels of the toxin, see a trained professional so the treatment is administered correctly and safely. Research clinics, check references and ask questions before settling on a provider.

  1. All good things

There’s no doubt cosmetic procedures are widely used, with 642,828 of them conducted between April 2005 and 2006, according to Medicard Finance Inc. and Cosmetic Surgery Statistics Canada. Botox is the most popular procedure, with more than 142,374 Canadians opting for the treatment in 2005, according to a survey reported by the Canadian Broadcast Company.

But as with anything – whether it be food, exercise or work – too much of a good thing can have negative consequences.

While Botox can lead to positive lifestyle changes without subjecting patients to the cost and recovery of surgery, patients may also want to consider moderation – especially because its promise of quick and painless results could potentially be addictive in nature to certain users.

Enjoy the benefits of Botox while also being mindful of potential drawbacks, and always talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have with treatments.

Whether you’re interested in Botox for its cosmetic or medical uses, the treatment can have a positive impact in more ways than one. And, as it continues to grow in demand, it becomes more accessible to the general population rather than being a coveted secret only available to the rich and famous. Before choosing this option, however, ensure it is the right fit for you by also taking into account potential disadvantages of the injections. And, as with any medical treatment, consult your healthcare provider about additional information or questions.

Kristyl Clark