Botox 101

By |June 21st, 2016|BOTOX®|

Curious, but nervous, about Botox (or Dysport or Xeomin)? If you are over 30, and especially if you are living in Miami, you might be surprised at the number of friends you have who have already been getting Botox. I know, because they are in my exam chair!

Botox 101But let’s be honest, you’re probably afraid of looking like one of those Housewives… I get it. (Almost) everyone wants a natural look, which is what we at Skin Associates do well.

What you probably haven’t noticed is the multitude of people who have already experienced non-invasive procedures such as Botox or fillers. Why? Because if done correctly, you are not supposed to notice it! Your brain should just unconsciously think, “Wow, Sally looks great today”. The idea is to have a refreshed, rested look, not dramatically change a person’s face or make them look frozen. Many of my patients’ husbands don’t notice anything drastic, just that their wife looks really good!

Interested in learning more about Botox? Here’s a primer. Forget your preconceived notions, and make your own educated determination if Botox is right for you.

Wrinkles occur for one of two reasons; intrinsic reasons, which are out of your control, such as genetics (look at your mom or grandmother), and extrinsic reasons, such as sun exposure, smoking, and how often you make the same facial expressions (like pursing your lips or squinting, for example).

Botox is a muscle relaxant used to fade those wrinkles that come with repeated facial expressions, such as frowning, squinting, or raising your eyebrows. It has revolutionized aesthetic rejuvenation, thus allowing people to improve their appearance without surgery. It was first discovered in the 1970s as a treatment for eye muscle spasms, and only incidentally noted to lessen wrinkles around the eyes! It has been around for over 20 years, and has had a lengthy safety profile. It is temporary, lasting on average 3-4 months. By inhibiting the signal that makes the muscles contract strongly, the muscle is able to relax, allowing the overlying skin to appear smooth and without wrinkles. Side effects can include bruising, a headache and mild cold-like symptoms.

There are many benefits to starting Botox early. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! I actually encourage my interested patients to start in their 30s or 40s. If they wait another 10 or 20 years, many of those wrinkles will become permanently etched their skin, necessitating more invasive procedures than Botox to get rid of them. Do you have a grandmother or aunt that looks permanently mad or disapproving? She should have started Botox twenty years ago!

Benefits of Botox:

  • It’s an easy way to refresh your look – it takes 5 minutes!  The goal is “rested and refreshed,” not frozen. Your physician can tailor your treatment to your goals.  I often perform “Baby Botox” for those just wanting to test the water.
  • Botox can actually prevent wrinkles before they become permanent.
  • With regular Botox treatments, some etched-in lines can soften.
  • Skin tone and pores also improve with regular use.
  • There is some evidence that Botox can improve skin elasticity!
  • Many patients report fewer migraine headache symptoms with cosmetic uses of botox, as well as a possible decrease in depressive symptoms.
  • Jaw pain from grinding?  Botox can help by weakening the “grinding” muscles!
  • There are many other off-label ways to use Botox – fix a downturned smile, improve neck bands, fix a gummy smile, and change a square masculine jawline into a soft heart-shaped feminine jawline.  Just be sure to see an experienced injector.
  • It’s temporary – if you hate it, wait a few months and it will go away.

When might you have a problem with Botox?

  • If you see a non-core provider, you are putting your face at risk. While many people can perform Botox well, in my opinion it is not worth risking your face to try and find those people. Stick with board-certified dermatologists, plastic surgeons, oculoplastics, facial plastic physicians.
  • Using a Groupon or other coupon.  Why would you ever skimp on your face?   Don’t trust your face to anyone, especially not someone offering discount services.
  • Do NOT allow anyone to give you Botox in a hotel room or at a Botox party! A sure recipe for disaster!

As more and more people embrace Botox, the stigma has seemed to disappear as quickly as the wrinkles. Having Botox can be as routine as getting a manicure or your hair highlighted. While people used to be uncomfortable even discussing it, it has become quite a trendy topic of conversation!


Our practice has been involved in clinical trials for all of three commercially available neuromodulators (Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin), and we are involved research for the newest neuromodulator to be brought to the FDA for approval. We are regarded as one of the most esteemed accounts for these companies.  If you are interested, make an appointment to see one of our highly trained physicians to get the look you want – whether it’s just relaxing those frown lines (also known as 11s), or a full rejuvenation package.  Remember, if you are curious but still somewhat apprehensive, we can tailor your treatment to suit your individual wants and needs, so you can comfortably see just how much you love it!

Dr. Jacquelyn Dosal is a Board-Certified dermatologist at Skin Associates of South Florida in Miami, FL.  She is also a Voluntary Assistant Professor at the University of Miami Department of Dermatology.  

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