Heard about Botox and wondering what it is and how it works? Trying to decide if you should give it a try?

We looked into what Botox is and what the Food and Drug Administration has to say about it. So, here’ a quick primer.

We know: Botox: 1 Minute Lesson

What is Botox?

The Botox Cosmetic you’ve heard about is Botulinum Toxin Type A. It’s a protein complex produced by a bacterium which contains the same toxin that causes food poisoning.

How does Botox work?

When injected in a safe, medical setting, small doses of Botox block the release of a chemical that usually signals muscles to contract. So Botox interferes with the muscles’ ability to contract and that, in turn, smooths out frown lines. In most cases, they’re nearly invisible in a week.

How popular is Botox?

In 2001, 1.6 million people received injections.

Is Botox approved by the federal government?

Botox was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a cosmetic treatment in 2002 for use in reducing the severity of frown lines between the eyebrows.

According to the FDA, "Consumers should be aware that other cosmetic uses have not been independently reviewed by the agency, and the safety and effectiveness of Botox injections into other regions of the face and neck, alone or in combination with the frown-lines region, have not been clinically evaluated."

How long does a Botox treatment last?

About 4-6 months. The FDA recommends you get treatments no more frequently than every three months.

Does Botox need to be administered by a doctor?

It's a prescription drug that should be administered by a qualified physician.

What’s a Botox Party?

Botox parties are marketing strategies used by some practitioners. They buy the toxin in bulk and then arrange get-togethers for people who want to receive the treatments. It can make the treatment cheaper.

Does Botox have side effects?

Droopy eyelids, headache, respiratory infection, flu syndrome and nausea. All side effects are generally temporary.

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