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BOTOX® Cosmetic (Botulinum Toxin)


BOTOX® Cosmetic provides a quick and effective remedy for the facial lines and wrinkles that age, stress, worry, and environmental factors can produce, even on a younger person’s face. A BOTOX® injection skin treatment smoothes frown lines on the forehead, between the eyes, and at the base of the nose. With BOTOX® Cosmetic, derived from botulinum toxin, "crow’s feet" wrinkles at the corners of the eyes fade or disappear for a more youthful and vital facial appearance. Learn more about BOTOX® Cosmetic and find more information about benefits, risks, and costs by exploring the material and links below.

What Is BOTOX® Cosmetic?

BOTOX® Cosmetic is an injectable agent used to temporarily diminish or eliminate lines and wrinkles on the face by relaxing underlying facial muscles. It is derived from botulinum toxin type A, a bacterium-produced neuromuscular toxin that can be deadly in a pure state. BOTOX® Cosmetic contains a highly diluted form of the toxin and has been proven safe. For this reason, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved BOTOX® botulinum toxin treatment for alleviating eye-muscle disorders and smoothing frown lines. This exceptional treatment is often used in conjunction with facial plastic surgery procedures such as a face lift or eyelid lift to maximize its cosmetic benefit.


BOTOX® Cosmetic provides candidates for this increasingly popular procedure with an effective treatment for facial lines and wrinkles. From the treatment of "crow's feet" at the edge of the eyes to glabellar lines (wrinkles between the brows), BOTOX® Cosmetic can smooth a wide range of facial lines and wrinkles with a simple 10-minute treatment. BOTOX® Cosmetic is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people aged 18 to 65.

Treatment Requirements

Because BOTOX® Cosmetic involves only a few small injections during a 10-minute session, a very large number of people seeking the treatment find they are excellent candidates. While BOTOX® Cosmetic is FDA-approved for patients aged 18 to 65, the best way to find out if it is right for you is to speak with a physician who offers the treatment.

Treatment Candidates

BOTOX® Cosmetic has been proven safe for a wide range of candidates. While there are many medical uses for the protein that makes up BOTOX® Cosmetic, the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles is far and away the most common application. Anyone who would like to smooth wrinkles through BOTOX® Cosmetic - whether they be crow's feet around the eyes or wrinkles around the mouth - is potentially a candidate for this effective treatment. The best way to find out if BOTOX® Cosmetic is right for you is to speak with a physician.

Candidates for Alternative BOTOX® Uses

There are many other applications for botulinum toxin - the protein from which BOTOX® Cosmetic is derived. Botulinum toxin was first isolated in 1946, and medical applications for the substance were discovered in the 1950s. Alternative uses of BOTOX® Cosmetic now include the following:

  • Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating) 
  • Migraine Headaches 
  • Dystonia (Muscle Spasms) 
  • Jaw Tension
  • Chronic Pain 

Medical and Health Considerations

As with any medical procedure, there are certain considerations that those seeking BOTOX® Cosmetic must take into account. It is possible that even ideal candidates for this procedure could experience some adverse side effects. The vast majority of side effects are simple and temporary, disappearing in just a few weeks. Rarely, some patients are allergic to BOTOX® Cosmetic. Medical considerations that BOTOX® Cosmetic candidates should keep in mind - and which they are encouraged to speak with their physician about - include temporary paralysis of different muscle groups, allergic reaction, and bruising at the injection site.

Each patient's case is carefully analyzed before BOTOX® Cosmetic is administered. Treatment has proven safe and effective for many thousands of patients and your physician will be happy to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.

Cost and Financing Information

The cost of BOTOX® injectable treatment varies depending on the area of the country in which you are seeking treatment, and can vary slightly from physician to physician. The national average cost for these treatments, however, is around $375. There are options for financing your BOTOX® procedure, as well, and these are best discussed with your doctor.

Risks and Benefits

The benefits of BOTOX® injections have made them a popular cosmetic treatment. BOTOX® treatments can give the face a younger, revitalized appearance. Explore the information below to learn more about the various BOTOX® treatments and benefits.


"Dynamic wrinkles," or wrinkles caused by facial expression and muscle movement, are especially prevalent in the area around the eyes. Fortunately, these wrinkles are very responsive to BOTOX® treatments. One of the benefits of BOTOX® injections is that BOTOX® Cosmetic weakens the muscles responsible for squinting and crinkling of the eye area. The treatment effectively reduces or eliminates crow's feet and other wrinkles around the eyes. Since BOTOX® injections only affect muscle nerves, not nerves of sensation, patients do not experience a loss of feeling in the treated area.


Smiling, laughing, and frowning can all result in permanent wrinkling of the brow. Removing wrinkles from the area between the eyes can dramatically change a person's appearance from one of continual anger or sadness to one of contentment and restedness. Because BOTOX® treatments are so effective in improving moderate to severe frown lines between the brows, many patients have them as an alternative to a brow lift. Reducing deep, stubborn furrows between the brows is also a widely documented benefit of BOTOX® injections for men. You will start to see aesthetic improvement from your BOTOX® injections after a few days, and results can last up to four months.

Forehead Wrinkles

Wrinkles on the forehead can give the face an older, more haggard appearance. As people age, the muscles used to form facial expressions create permanent creases in the skin. One of the benefits of BOTOX® injections is that they can be used to relax the facial muscles, resulting in smoother skin and fewer wrinkles. In areas such as the forehead, where horizontal wrinkles tend to form, the BOTOX® benefits are particularly valuable. Contrary to the common misconception that a doctor must treat each wrinkle, only the underlying muscles that cause wrinkles must be treated. Once you have received your BOTOX® treatment, the muscles that ordinarily cause wrinkles and lines to appear in the forehead are no longer as active for a period of several months.

Jaw Contouring

Recently, doctors have discovered a new BOTOX® benefit: Patients with oversized masseter muscles, the muscles of the jaw used for chewing, can be treated with BOTOX® injections. Many patients with square-shaped faces want a non-surgical option to give them the oval face shape they desire. BOTOX ® treatments have been reported to reduce the size of the masseter muscles, resulting in a gently curved cheek and jaw. There are several additional benefits of using BOTOX® injections for jaw contouring, including:

The procedure is non-invasive. A BOTOX® treatment can be quickly performed in your doctor's office. There is virtually no recovery time necessary; you can resume your normal activities immediately after treatment. Although the bone structure is not changed, the reduction of muscle thickness noticeably refines the angle of the patient's jaw.

Alternative Health Benefits

The benefits of BOTOX ® injections are not limited to treating wrinkles. The FDA originally approved BOTOX ® for several non-cosmetic treatments, including blepharospasm, a condition in which the eyes twitch uncontrollably, migraine headaches, and excessive sweating. To remedy blepharospasm and muscle spasms in other areas of the body, BOTOX® treatments are used to block the nerve impulses that cause the affected muscles to twitch. BOTOX ® injections in the forehead, brow, side of the head, and back of the neck, can reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches for up to six months. BOTOX® treatments can also reduce excessive sweating by blocking the chemical transmitter that induces sweating. Reduction of chronic back pain and jaw tension are two additional health benefits of BOTOX® that extend beyond aesthetic enhancement.

Although the procedure has proven to be safe with very few side effects, there are some BOTOX® risks that should be considered before undergoing treatment.

Possible Side Effects

BOTOX® injection side effects and risks include:

  • Mild numbness or tingling in the injection area
  • Minor swelling or bruising around the injection area
  • An allergic reaction to BOTOX® Cosmetic
  • No improvement after undergoing treatment
  • Headache (temporary)
  • Nausea (temporary)
  • Drooping eyebrow or eyelid (usually temporary and can last two to three weeks)
  • Flu-like symptoms

Many of these side effects can be avoided if proper injection techniques are used, and if the patient avoids rubbing the injection area for approximately 12 hours after treatment. The possibility of experiencing BOTOX® injection side effects can be greatly reduced by choosing a qualified cosmetic surgeon who has extensive experience in performing the BOTOX® injection procedure.

Risks and Health Concerns

The BOTOX® Cosmetic injection procedure has been used for many years to safely diminish and erase the facial lines and wrinkles of millions of individuals. Although there are some risks associated with BOTOX® injections, side effects are generally mild and cause little discomfort. The injections may cause minor bruising, but this fades quickly and can be easily concealed with make-up. Immediately following a treatment, the BOTOX® Cosmetic can spread to nearby muscles and cause temporary drooping. This typically lasts no more than a week or two and can usually be avoided entirely by refraining from rubbing the BOTOX® injection site. BOTOX® treatment occasionally causes a headache, nausea, or flu-like symptoms, but these are usually short-lived and are rarely severe.

BOTOX® Cosmetic can react adversely with certain herbal remedies, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and heart and Alzheimer's drugs, so the prospective BOTOX® candidate should provide the cosmetic surgeon with a full accounting of prescribed and over-the-counter medications that he or she is currently using or has taken in the recent past. Individuals who have a neuromuscular disease should not undergo BOTOX® treatment. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid BOTOX® injections because the risks to a fetus or nursing baby have yet to be determined. The possibility of an adverse event occurring can be greatly reduced if the BOTOX® Cosmetic candidate provides the cosmetic surgeon a complete medical history prior to the procedure.

Preparing for BOTOX® Treatment

When you arrive at your doctor's office for your BOTOX® treatment, you will first be asked to fill out patient information and other forms. Then you will meet with your doctor or a trained staff member to discuss your expectations for the procedure. At this time, it is important to be honest about any allergies or other conditions that may not make you a good candidate for BOTOX® treatment.

At some cosmetic practices, you can have your consultation and be treated in one visit, depending on the availability of appointments. Your doctor, a registered nurse, or a medical assistant will perform the BOTOX® treatment. If a staff member treats you, he or she should be trained and closely supervised by a physician, and have extensive experience administering BOTOX® injections. Tips for choosing a BOTOX® doctor.

How Will the Doctor Prepare Me for Treatment?

Before your BOTOX® treatment, you will be seated in a reclining chair, similar to the chair used in a dentist's office. Your doctor (or a trained staff member) will decide where to administer the BOTOX® injections by asking you to contract certain facial muscles. Based on your desired results and your ability to move these facial muscles, your doctor will mark the locations to be treated. Though no anesthesia is required, your doctor may choose to numb the targeted areas with a cold compress or cream. Any discomfort from the injections is usually minimal and lasts only a short time. The actual BOTOX® treatment typically takes about 10 minutes. After the BOTOX® treatment is complete, you can return to your daily activities almost immediately. More on BOTOX® after care.

What to Expect During Treatment

Before beginning the BOTOX® treatment process, the doctor will instruct the patient to contract their facial muscles in order to determine precisely where to place the first injection. Next, the doctor will use a very small needle to administer BOTOX® injections directly into the muscles that cause frown lines, furrows, and horizontal wrinkles. Because the procedure is quick and has minimal discomfort, no anesthesia is required. If the patient is sensitive to pain, however, the doctor may numb the targeted area with a cold pack or anesthetic cream prior to BOTOX® treatment.

How Long Will My Treatment Session Last?

BOTOX® (botulinum toxin) treatment is usually performed in a doctor's office and takes approximately one hour from start to finish. The length of your treatment will vary, depending on your specific case, but the actual injection process usually will not take longer than 10 minutes. Because of this, BOTOX® treatment is known as a "lunchtime" cosmetic procedure. Most patients do not require any downtime and can resume their daily activities immediately after BOTOX® treatment. You should see a noticeable improvement in the treated frown lines and furrows within a few days after having the procedure, and the appearance of wrinkles should continue to improve for up to a month. BOTOX® treatment results typically last up to four months.

Alternative Uses

Botulinum toxin, the active agent in BOTOX® Cosmetic injections, was used to treat a wide range of maladies long before it was used as a cosmetic enhancement. Learn more about the different uses and applications for this product.

BOTOX® Treatment for Men

While the majority of BOTOX® patients are women, many men are seeking the treatment as well. BOTOX® injections for men are a very subtle way to improve the appearance of the face, and as the procedure takes so little time, a busy man can conceivably have the procedure done on his lunch break and head right back to the office.

Tips for Choosing the Right BOTOX® Doctor or Specialist

Many physicians have experience administering BOTOX® Cosmetic. However, each different doctor will have different qualifications, so it is important to ask questions to help you find the BOTOX® Cosmetic provider who will meet your unique needs as a patient. Your questions can address how much experience the provider has, how much the procedure will cost, whether you can view before-and-after pictures of the provider's BOTOX® Cosmetic patients, whether the provider offers touchup treatments in the case of a less-than-satisfactory outcome, and any issues that apply to your situation. By being specific about your expectations, you will help ensure that you choose the physician best suited to your needs.

Cosmetic Dermatologists

Cosmetic dermatologists are qualified to provide BOTOX® injections and other cosmetic services, as well as treat a variety of medical conditions, such as skin cancer. To become a dermatologist, one must complete a minimum of 12 years of college and post-graduate training, typically consisting of four years at an accredited university; four years of medical school; a year of post-graduate training in medicine; and three years of formal residency training in dermatology. After taking written and oral exams to become board certified, dermatologists who wish to specialize in cosmetic dermatology enroll in an advanced training fellowship for one to two years.

Cosmetic Surgeons

Cosmetic surgeons are physicians trained in a specialty such as otolaryngology, ophthalmology, or dermatology. While these doctors may have undergone formal surgical training or additional training to gain experience with a new procedure, they are not required to have specialized training to practice cosmetic surgery. For this reason, it is wise for patients to thoroughly research a cosmetic surgeon's training, experience, and expertise before making an appointment for a BOTOX® treatment. A good doctor will have been certified by a recognized medical organization, such as the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS), or the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), both of which establish high standards for the quality and safety of medical care.

Facial Plastic Surgeons

A facial plastic surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive surgery (ABFPR) has completed a post-graduate residency program for two to three years, achieved certification by either the American Board of Otolaryngology or the American Board of Plastic Surgery, successfully practiced facial plastic surgery for at least two years, and presented at least 100 detailed case reports to a peer-review board. A facial plastic surgeon must also successfully complete rigorous two-day written and oral examinations to receive board certification from the ABFPR. Patients can help ensure that they will achieve high-quality, professional results after BOTOX® treatment by choosing a doctor who is certified by the ABFPR.

BOTOX® Cosmetic and Medical Spas

Medical spas combine a relaxing day-spa environment with cosmetic enhancement. A medical spa differs from a traditional day spa because it operates under the supervision of a licensed health care professional. Medical spas offer services such as photo-facials, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion. These spas cater to people who want to improve their appearance without resorting to invasive plastic surgery procedures. If you decide to get BOTOX® injections from a doctor at a medical spa, there are steps you can take to help ensure that you receive a quality treatment:

Check the credentials of the doctor in charge of the spa. If possible, choose a spa under the supervision of a doctor who is certified by the ABFPR. Verify that the staff has experience with cosmetic procedures, including BOTOX® therapy. Research the BOTOX® treatment process so that you know what procedures and results you should expect. Ask questions until you feel secure and comfortable with the spa's procedures, staff, and facility. BOTOX® Cosmetic Parties

BOTOX® Cosmetic parties have become a popular in some areas because the parties provide a means for doctors to provide comparatively low-cost BOTOX® injections to many patients at one time. By purchasing BOTOX® Cosmetic in bulk, a doctor can cut the cost of providing injections and pass some of the savings on to patients. Many patients prefer BOTOX® parties because they find that undergoing the procedure in the company of friends is more comfortable and easier on the nerves than having treatment in a medical setting. Most qualified BOTOX® Cosmetic providers frown on the parties, however, as treatment does not take place in a controlled, sterile environment such as a doctor's office or hospital, and there is no support staff to provide assistance should complications arise. If you decide to participate in a BOTOX® party, sometimes referred to as a BOTOX® seminar, evening, or social, be sure a qualified doctor with extensive experience administers the injections in a sanitary environment.

Locate a BOTOX® Cosmetic Provider in Your Area

Contact a cosmetic dermatologist to learn more about the remarkable results attainable with botulinum toxin–based BOTOX® Cosmetic. DocShop’s extensive listings make finding a BOTOX® Cosmetic specialist easy.

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