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We all know someone who’s gone under the needle and come back looking like they just spent a month in a spa drinking collagen. At a glance, Botox seems like an incredible and immediate solution to loads of cosmetic and medical issues, and yet, despite being tried and tested for over 20 years, there remains a ton of myths and misinformation about Botox, the procedures, and the risks. We’re here to put the rumors – and your unease – to bed.

What is Botox?

It sounds way worse than it is, but Botox comes from a neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum – a bacterium that causes food poisoning. A product of this nasty, natural forming bacterium is the Botulinum toxin, which is used in small doses to make things like forehead wrinkles disappear. Yep, super glamorous. Although it comes from rather gruesome origins, Botox (when handled by a trained professional) can alleviate a load of cosmetic and medical issues.

How Botox works:

In the cosmetics world, Botox is used to treat and prevent wrinkles and resupply your face with youthful tautness. In a diluted form, the Botulinum toxin relaxes the muscles that cause wrinkles and lines. Key areas for injection are your forehead, crow’s feet, between the eyebrows, and around the mouth. By blocking local nerve impulses to specific muscles within your face, albeit temporarily, Botox prevents you from having full control of your facial expressions in a bid to prevent the wrinkles that come with it. In a similar fashion, when it comes to preventing excessive sweating, Botox blocks the neurotransmitter that stimulates the sweat glands.

How much Botox should you have?

Of course, this would vary with every person, but the common industry average would be around 20 units for forehead wrinkles, and between two to ten units for crows feet. You really need to be careful that you see a professional and that too much Botox isn’t used  if it isn’t administered properly it can affect other nerves and it may even lead to drooping in other areas. Botox is usually charged per unit, which averages around $10 to $20, so you could be looking at anywhere between $300 to $500 to have your forehead wrinkles done.

What Botox is used for:

The Botulinum toxin is predominantly used as a treatment to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and fine lines. However, it has been used extensively to treat over 20 different medical conditions including eye squints, jaw tension, excessive sweating, dystonia (various involuntary muscle contractions or spasms), migraines, and even overactive bladders.

What to believe… and what not to believe!

Myth 1)  Botox use will result in the loss of facial expression: When administered by a trained professional, there should be no damage to your facial muscles. Even though certain nerves are “paralyzed” when Botox is injected, you will still smile, frown, and have expressions. Botox doesn’t last forever either, so after a few months (4-6 depending on your tolerance and ability to metabolize the neurotoxin) your nerves will return to normal. If it goes wrong, there’s no fix, you need to wait it out. And yes, you can have too much botox.

Myth 2) Botox is a filler: Fillers and Botox are different things. Fillers work to “fill” in lines and restore volume loss. Botox, on the other hand, works to relax the muscles that cause those lines.

Myth 3) You need to be older to have Botox: There is no set age for when’s a good time to use Botox for aesthetical reasons. However, more and more people are using it as a preventative measure in their early years to reduce the production of wrinkles and lines before they take hold.

Myth 4) Botox trains muscles: This is true! Because the muscles that cause wrinkles are relaxed, over time they lose their ‘strength’ and their ability to cause wrinkle-producing expressions.

Don’t like the idea of needles? We’ve got a DIY!

As wonderful as Botox is, as a preventative measure it isn’t always cost-effective or wholly necessary, particularly if you’re still young and your skin is supple. There are other less invasive ways of combatting fine lines like our own DIY Yoghurt and Banana Botox Mask! This homemade recipe is natural, easy to make, cheap, and works wonders on tired skin that needs a little boost. Now we’re not saying your wrinkles will disappear, but over time, it can help to improve their appearance. One of the cornerstones of this beauty mask is the lactic acid found in yogurt. AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid) like lactic, citric of glycolic acid, have natural acidic properties that help exfoliate and strip away dead skin while boosting skin turnover and rejuvenation as it’s absorbed by your epidermis. Not to be outdone, bananas are powerhouses of nutrients and vitamins that are essential for vibrant, healthy skin. Potassium, which hydrates and moisturizes dehydrated skin, B-vitamins, which defend against free radicals, and vitamin A, which also exfoliates and smoothes out tired skin. Together, these two ingredients have the power to reverse aging by stocking your skin with all the nutrients it needs to heal and rejuvenate itself.

DIY Yoghurt and Banana Botox Mask:

Mix together:
1/4 cup Yogurt
1/4 mashed ripe banana
1 teaspoon of honey (not essential).

Leave the mix in the fridge to chill – the cool temperature will help tighten your skin when it’s applied. Spread all over your face (paying special attention to your problem areas) and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water. Top off with your favorite moisturizer and you’re good to go!