Written By: Dr Joyce Lai
Botox is regularly endorsed by celebrities and aesthetic clinics for its anti-wrinkle properties. However, Botox is a brand of Botulinum Toxin which is only one of the many toxins used to help retain a youthful appearance.
What is Botox?
Botox is a brand of neurotoxin that can inhibit muscle contraction or glandular secretion. It is divided into 7 serotypes from A to G.
In 1954, Dr Vernon Brookes published a report about Botulinum Toxin, outlining its ability to reduce muscle activity. It was then found that Botulinum Toxin Type A and Type B could also be safely injected into the human body to relax muscles and remove wrinkles.
In 1991, Allergan Pharmaceuticals acquired a company that made Botulinum Toxin and branded it as a product called Botox. Since then, Botox has become almost synonymous with Botulinum Toxin.
How is Botulinum Toxin used?
Botulinum can be used for multiple purposes, the most common purpose is injection to the face for anti-aging effects, the armpits for anti-perspirant properties and the masseters (muscles on the sides of the face) to reduce teeth grinding and tension headaches.
- Treat wrinkles and assist in full facelifts
- Causing muscle hypertrophy to achieve effects of a face slimming
- Reduce excessive sweating in any general areas, most commonly in armpits, palms and forehead by blocking the sweat glands
- Reduce body odour by reducing overall sweating
- Reduce facial spasms
- Relax shoulder and neck muscles to reduce chronic neck pain
- Improve chronic migraines
- Reduce teeth grinding
- Treating an overreactive bladder
What are the other brands of Botulinum Toxin?
In addition to Botox, there are many other brands of Botulinum Toxin, such as Xeomin and Dysport.
In Hong Kong, there are 5 brands that are approved and registered with Hong Kong’s Department of Health. All Botulinum Toxin products require a doctor’s prescription. These are the 5 brands approved in Hong Kong:
- Botox (US)
- Dysport (UK)
- Siax (South Korea)
- Xeomin (Germany)
- BTXA (China)
What is the injection process? Is it painful?
Injecting Botox and the other Botulinum Toxins is very similar to a regular injection. The doctor will first disinfect the skin of the target area and then use a fine needle to inject a diluted Botulinum Toxin solution into the muscles.
How many doses will I need? How long does the effect last?
Botulinum Toxins are often used in very small doses and the required dosages are influenced by the following factors:
- What brand is used
- Where is it used
- What is the physiology of the patient
- What is the intended effect the patient wants to achieve
In order to figure out how many doses of Botulinum Toxins you’ll need, we recommend consulting with a doctor about it.
Botulinum Toxin usually lasts for approximately 3 – 4 months.
When can I expect to start seeing results from my Botulinum Toxin injections?
The time required for Botulinum Toxin to reach its maximum effect depends on the treatment and the area being treated:
- For facial wrinkles: Wrinkles will gradually start to fade in about 3 – 7 days with the effects peaking in about 2 weeks.
- For excessing sweating and body odour: Sweating will start to reduce in about 2 weeks after the treatment and the effects peak in about a month’s time
- For facelift and facial slimming: The effect will start showing in about 3 - 4 weeks and with it being the most obvious in about 2 months.
Will there be a severe rebound if I stop using Botulinum Toxin?
After 4 – 6 months, Botulinum Toxin should exit from the body without any severe issues. As the main effect of Botulinum Toxin is to paralyze and reduce muscle movement, the muscle will gradually recover back to its normal size if treatment is stopped.
What should I be aware of after taking Botulinum Toxin?
Once Botulinum Toxin has been administered, you are able to resume your normal routine without any issues. However, it is highly discouraged to massage the area or engage with any activities that involve exposing the area in high temperature such as taking a hot bath or sauna. For any concerns about activities, please make sure to ask your doctor beforehand.
Under what circumstances should I not have Botulinum Toxin?
Botulinum Toxin is not recommended for women that are pregnant, currently breastfeeding, people with swollen feet, people that are allergic to the substance and people with weakened immune systems.
If in doubt about using Botulinum Toxin, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor to ask if you are suitable for the product.
Help at OT&P
Our clinic has a team of experienced practitioners that can help you choose the right treatment for any concern you may have with your appearance. If you have any questions about Botox or any other procedures, you will be able to have them answered during a consultation. Book your consultation here.
1. Herskovits, B. (n.d.). From the beginning: The history and applications of Botox. Healio.com. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://www.healio.com/news/ophthalmology/20120331/from-the-beginning-the-history-and-applications-of-botox
2. Ottomley, I. (2019, September 5). Comparing neurotoxins: Botox, Dysport, Jeuveau, and Xeomin. Aedit.com | Aesthetic Edit; AEDIT. https://aedit.com/aedition/comparing-neurotoxin-botulinum-type-a-injections-botox-dysport-jeuveau-xeomin
3. Hong Kong Department of Health. (n.d.). Botulinum Toxin Injection - dh.gov.hk. Botulinum Toxin Injection. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://www.dh.gov.hk/english/useful/useful_medical_beauty/files/2_Botulinum_Toxin%20Injection_Eng_2018.pdf