Are you one of those in pursuit of the fountain of youth? Indeed, the search and desire for ageless beauty and immortality are eternal. The tale about the fountain of youth dates us back to the olden times of Herodotus, a Greek historian who lived from 484 to 425 BC. He told the story about the youthfulness and long life of a group of people called Macrobians who lived during the first millennium B.C. in the area which is believed to be modern-day Somalia. According to the legend, a mythical spring or fountain restores the youthful appearance, reverses aging, and cures diseases by drinking the water or by bathing in it, thus, prolonging life.
Other names such as Alexander the Great, King Prester John, and Juan Ponce de Leon are some of those who surfaced in the writings about the search for the fountain of youth. It was believed that Alexander the Great who conquered most of the known world searched for the fountain of youth during the fourth century B.C., and the legendary King Prester John claimed to rule a land with a fountain of youth during the 11th and 12th centuries AD. Another name most closely linked to it is the Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon who allegedly thought it was in Florida.
Similar stories and legends from Japan, Canary Islands, Polynesia, and England talk about the existence of either hot springs or waters with restorative powers. Despite the long history of the pursuit of the fountain of youth, there was no concrete evidence that such existed. However, the search for anti-aging regimens continues up to the present time.
Are Botox and fillers the modern-day answer to the fountain of youth?
The birth of Botox and fillers is an outstanding cosmetic breakthrough that changed the face of humankind. Botox injection to smoothen and erase the wrinkles of the face was accidentally discovered by Dr. Scott, an ophthalmologist when he was looking for a cure for crossed eyes. He finally found it and much to his surprise, the drug has a magical side effect of causing wrinkles to disappear. With the approval of the FDA ten years ago for cosmetic purposes, Botox came around and became the first choice of women especially celebrities in Hollywood to fight the signs of aging and restore their youthful glow. It is now the number one cosmetic medical treatment in the US with nearly six million procedures each year.
What is Botox and how is it done?
Botox is the brand name of Botulinum toxin Type A which is a purified harmless neurotoxin derived from the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum, a certain bacteria that causes paralysis of facial muscles and other parts of the body (neck, arms, torso, legs) including the muscles of breathing. For cosmetic purposes, it is used as an injectable in small doses to temporarily paralyze the facial muscles enabling them to relax, thus eliminating the appearance of wrinkles and fine creases. It produces paralysis by preventing the release of neurotransmitter, Acetylcholine at the Neuromuscular junction causing a Neuromuscular block.
The following are the lines targeted by Botox injections:
- Glabellar wrinkles or frown lines
- Horizontal forehead lines
- Crowe’s feet (lines that radiate outward from the corners of the eye)
- Nasolabial folds
- Marionette lines (vertical lines between mouth and chin)
- Radial lip lines
- Chin lines
- Bunny lines (fine lines on both sides of the nose when you wrinkle it)
Aside from being a fantastic cosmetic treatment, Botox is also presently used in the following medical conditions:
- Chronic migraines
- Excessive sweating
- Eyelid spasms
- Severe spasms of the neck and shoulders
- Crossed eyes
- Overactive bladder
How is Botox injection done?
The procedure is done in a clinic setting and only takes a few minutes. The dermatologist or plastic surgeon may use an ice pack to numb the areas. An alcohol pad is used to wipe the area before injecting Botox using a small needle. The small needle is then injected into the target areas with minimal discomfort. Most dermatologists use between 10-50 units depending on the areas and the patient’s needs. It takes about 7-14 days to see the full results.
Refrain from drinking alcohol one week before the procedure and avoid intake of Aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications 2 weeks before to prevent bruising. Do not rub or massage the areas for 24 hours to prevent the spread of the toxin to different areas. You may resume daily activities right after the procedure. Side effects are very rare provided it is done by a well-trained doctor. Redness, swelling, or bruising may or may not be present around the injection site. The effects of Botox last for 3-4 months. As the muscle action slowly returns to normal, the lines and wrinkles will start to reappear. Pregnant, breastfeeding mothers, those with neurological diseases, and those allergic to cow’s milk protein are not recommended to have Botox injection.
What are fillers and how is it different from Botox?
Dermal fillers like Botox are injectables but it uses gel-like substances called hyaluronic acid to fill in or plump the areas that have lost volume and smoothness. Some of the popular brands are Restylane, Juvederm, Belotero, Sculptra, and Radiesse. Target areas include wrinkles around the mouth, thin lips, and sunken cheeks. It can also be used in forehead wrinkles, scars, and areas that need extra volume. The effects are immediate and long-lasting since it lasts for 6 months or up to 2 years depending on the type to be used while Botox lasts for up to 4 months. Dermal fillers also stimulate the body’s collagen.
The administration is the same as with Botox and minimal side effects like redness, swelling, or bruising may be present. Since dermal fillers and Botox work in different ways, they can be used singly or in combination, since they complement each other nicely to erase the wrinkles, restore the youthful glow and reverse the signs of aging. Your doctor will tell you which is best for you. When Botox and dermal fillers are used in combination, we may expect the following benefits:
- Since they treat different types of wrinkles, multiple issues can be addressed as one. Botox relaxes dynamic wrinkles caused by repeated facial movements while dermal fillers smoothen static wrinkles which are visible even when the face is at rest.
- Produce long-lasting results
- Total facial rejuvenation
- Preventative care
Botox and dermal fillers are short, non-surgical clinic procedures with minimal discomfort and long-lasting effects. When used in combination, these procedures can produce the natural, youthful look and ageless beauty that you’ve been dreaming of. Definitely the modern-day fountain of youth. If you want to have Botox or dermal fillers injection to achieve that radiant glow, call Dr. Christopher J. Joseph, DO, FACS, and schedule an appointment now.