Lately, “Botox” has become a buzzword on social media, but like any buzzword, there’s been some confusion around what it actually is.
What is Botox?
Firstly, Botox is not plastic surgery. Botox is a brand name for botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin is a protein powder to mix with saline solution, and it is also a neuromodulator. Neuromodulators are a group of chemicals that paralyze selected muscle groups due to their effect on muscle nerves. Botulinum toxin is one of the most dangerous substances on the planet, but in very tiny amounts, suspended, and injected properly, it can actually give us some very interesting cosmetic results, but because it is a natural substance, it does wear off over time.
You can get Botox for a gummy smile or a brow lift. When you get Botox within the forehead muscles, the neuromodulator suppresses the movement of muscles and basically paralyzes them. That’s why people get botox to prevent or decrease the severity of wrinkles.
To provide an analogy, your skin is like a piece of paper. You can fold a piece of paper and open it as many times as you want, but even if you try to smooth it out, there are always going to be those creases. Similarly, throughout our lives, we smile, laugh, and make facial expressions that eventually cause creases, but some people want to prevent that. But although people seek the same result, botox can look quite different depending on the way it’s done.
Does Botox Have the Same Effect on Everyone?
Photo Cred: Dr. Tanya Khan
When some people get botox, it may seem like they have a pillow face or fluffy face whereas others don’t. As a result, you may wonder why Botox makes celebrities and influencers looks so perfect and “ageless,” while on the other hand, it makes everyday people look a bit plastic, puffy, or impassive.
Well, this can happen if you’re overfilled with Botox. Botox is sold by the vial, and each vial is priced by the number of units it contains. Botox vials normally have a flat rate upwards of $500. Each vial contains enough units for about 4 or 5 treatments, and the vial must be used within a few hours of opening it. So, if the entire vial is not used, the physician will often have to throw the remnants out. Therefore, the patient is required to purchase the whole vial or all of the units.
The quantity of a Botox injection is one of the main reasons Botox appears so differently on some versus others. Most everyday people want to get the most out of their money and have the entire amount injected. But if you inject the entire amount, a lot more of the neuromodulator or muscle paralyzer is available to your body as opposed to just using a half, quarter, or even an 8th of the vial.
In addition, how often you get botox also impacts the way it looks. Botox wears off because it’s a muscle paralyzer. So, think of someone who has to work really hard. Maybe they’re a busy mom who works a nine to five. Suppose that Botox is expensive because her insurance calls it cosmetic and won’t cover it. So, she comes in every six months. However, if she only comes in once every six months, she’s going to need a little bit more of an injection to make it last, and especially for the first following weeks, this could give her a “plastic” or pillowy look.
The frequency of injection really play a huge difference in aesthetics, and so can the application of other treatments like filler and facelifts.
How do fillers and facelifts compare to Botox?
Photo cred: Carolina Facial Plastics
A lot of people seek to emulate the appearance of celebrities’ through Botox. However, the celebrity may have had plastic surgery, implants, or fillers. Fillers are hyaluronic acid injectables such as Juvederm whereas actual implants shown in the picture above are literally silicone parts put under the skin. There sometimes placed on the chin, the jawline, cheeks, and even the abs. A lot of people don’t realize that abs can be implanted, liposuctioned, or even liposuctioned in the shape of abs.
Photo cred: Belfiore Aesthetics
Thus, even though some people get botox to resemble celebrities, the celebrity may have also had a filler or an implant. Many people are unhappy with botox results because the celebrity had more than botox in the first place. Maybe it was a filler, a thread lift, plastic surgery, or implants. For example, when someone hands a botox injector a picture and says “I want this feature,” they might get botox when that’s not what the celebrity had. They may end up getting the wrong procedure for what they want to achieve. That’s why speaking to a board-certified practitioner or people who work with treatment and injections is extremely important. Even though it’s aesthetics, it’s still medicine.
As mentioned before, many people are unaware of Botox’s purpose, and this lack of knowledge can be detrimental. When we look at celebrities or people on social media, we often compare ourselves unfairly to how they look with Botox. Comparing ourselves to others is a part of human nature. We do it to gauge our surroundings and to evaluate how we fit into society, but when we compare ourselves without knowing what’s truly going on, this can hurt our self-image.
Most importantly, there is nothing wrong with enhancements or plastic surgery, but please remember that celebrities with botox, fillers, or implants are often hired to promote products. Despite what’s portrayed, we should not assume that a product or skincare routine is their only beauty secret because they may have also had Botox, a filler, or a facelift. As consumers, we can focus on what types of outcomes are truly available to us upon trying a product, and we have the right to enjoy and appreciate looking like ourselves.
Cassandra explains more in detail about Botox, celebrities, and self-image here.