What Is Botox and Is It Safe?

How to Stop Sweating, Fix Lines and Wrinkles, and End Migraines for Good

Botox injection
Caiaimage for Getty Images

If you've worried about the wrinkles that are etching their way into your skin, then you've probably considered Botox, which is the number 1 cosmetic procedure in the United States today.

The benefits are obvious: Studies show women who get Botox starting in their late 20s develop fewer wrinkles than women who age naturally. You can treat smile lines (also known as "crow's feet"), frown lines, necklines, and even stop yourself from sweating under your arms and on your palms with Botox treatments.

There are even medical uses for Botox including treating migraines.

Along with interest in Botox, come the questions. You're likely wondering if it works (it did on me, more on that below), how much it costs (about $400 a treatment), how it works (a doctor makes several small injections), does it hurt (the pain is minimal), and how long it lasts (4 to 6 months).

What Is Botox Anyway?

Botox is basically a purified form of botulinum toxin. Botox works to "freeze" the muscles where wrinkles tend to form so they don't get deeper. When injected, it smooths fine lines by blocking nerve impulses that trigger wrinkle-causing muscle contractions. It is the king of non-invasive cosmetic procedures. It’s super popular these days, as more and more doctors provide it in their offices to make a quick buck. You can get Groupon coupons for discount Botox, you can attend or host Botox parties. Tens of thousands of procedures are done a year and no deaths have been reported from cosmetic use.

It’s also approved by the FDA for a variety of cosmetic and medical procedures.

Is It Safe to Inject Botulism Into One's Body?

Yes, it is. My doctor, Dr. David Colbert of New York Dermatology Group, assured me aspirin is much more dangerous than Botox because aspirin in high doses can actually kill a person.

I’ve done a vast amount of research and talked to the best doctors in the industry, who assure me that Botox is safe when done by a competent, licensed doctor or medical practitioner. Safer even than aspirin. The most danger you are in when getting the typical injections are uneven eyebrows and a bit of bruising at the injection site. There is the potential that Botox can paralyze the muscles that allow one to swallow if done on parts of the neck and face that no one gets done. You really don’t want to go to someone who doesn’t know what they are doing and I go to the best doctors in NYC.

For many people, Botox seems ridiculous. It may seem scary. It may seem an outrageous risk. And for those people, don’t do it! Always go with what’s best for you. If you are bothered by the cosmetic industry and the efforts people go to in order to retain their youth, then Botox is not for you. Aging is a very personal matter. We all choose to age in different ways and should be allowed to do so without judgment. For me, Botox has been worth it.

But What About the Dangers of Botox? What You Should Know Before You Go

It's best not to treat near the mouth because it can paralyze the muscles needed for eating and talking.

Yikes, I know. Fillers work better at filling in lines near the mouth.

Minor, temporary bruising may occur after Botox is injected. You should avoid aspirin and ibuprofen prior to Botox treatments. I did not know this and took Advil an hour before my appointment thinking it would cut down on the pain and I had minor bruising. The time before I didn't take anything and I had no bruising at all, so there's some validity to this. Tried and tested!

Amazing Uses for Botox

In all of my research, I've found that there are five amazing uses for Botox, many of which I've tried myself and which I outline in detail here. You can treat crow's feet, frown lines, necklines, and even stop yourself from sweating under your arms and on your palms with Botox treatments. There are even medical uses for Botox including treating migraines.