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If you’re bothered by the lines and wrinkles on your face that come with aging, you may be considering cosmetic treatment. Summit Health’s Daniel Demesh, MD, who specializes in facial and neck rejuvenation, shares answers to some common questions patients ask about cosmetic neurotoxin treatments.

What are cosmetic neurotoxins?

Neurotoxins are substances that act on the normal function of nerve cells. Cosmetic neurotoxins are injectable solutions made with a neurotoxin known as botulinum toxin type A. This type of botulinum toxin works by blocking nerve impulses to facial muscles and causing them to relax, thereby smoothing wrinkles formed by frowning, squinting, and other facial expressions.

Botulinum toxin type A is better known by brand names such as Botox Cosmetic®, Dysport®, Xeomin®, and Jeuveau®. Although these drugs are made from the toxin that causes botulism, they are safe. Neurotoxin treatments have become popular over the years due to high patient satisfaction and an excellent safety profile, regardless of the brand.

What is a cosmetic neurotoxin treatment like?

Treatment will be injected into the area of concern. If you’re worried about discomfort, ice or topical numbing cream can help, although most patients don’t have any issues with pain due to the small medical-grade needles used for injection. The procedure takes less than five minutes.

The treatment recovery period is minimal. Applying an ice pack to the treated area for five to 10 minutes usually helps with discomfort. The patient can immediately resume their normal activities.

Will I see results right away?

Patients begin to notice effects two to five days after injection, and full results appear within two weeks.

Are there side effects?

Neurotoxin injections are safe and reliable when performed by a qualified practitioner. Side effects are rare and usually mild. They may include injection-site bruising, redness, pain, minor swelling, numbness, and headache.

The neurotoxin can migrate to nearby muscles and weaken them in rare cases. To avoid this, patients should avoid touching or rubbing the treated area immediately after injection. In addition, they should avoid strenuous exercise and physical activity for 24 hours.

How long do results last?

It’s important for patients to know that treatments are not permanent; results usually last three to four months on average. Patients who receive regular treatments can see longer-lasting results.

Who is a good candidate for treatment?

Treatment is an option for men and women alike. The ideal time to begin treatments is just before you start forming resting forehead lines, smile lines, and wrinkles around your eyes. Although it’s difficult to predict when that will be exactly, in some individuals it may be as early as their late 20s or early 30s.

Regardless of what age you consider neurotoxin treatment, it’s most important to choose an experienced provider whose aesthetic and treatment philosophy aligns with yours, and let them guide you.

Does insurance cover treatment?

Botulinum toxin treatment for cosmetic reasons is not covered by insurance.

Where can I get more information?

Patients should schedule an appointment with an expert they trust, who can give a personalized consultation to address their concerns and questions and discuss alternative treatments.

Patients also can contact Summit Health’s Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery team any time for information about services and providers.