What are All the Side Effects of Botox?
Derived from a naturally occurring neurotoxin called Botulinum toxin, Botox is a product that can be used in small doses in both cosmetic and medical settings to provide effective solutions for a wide range of problems and conditions.
Recognized primarily for its ability to relax and even prevent facial wrinkles when injected into key areas around the face, Botox is formulated in ways that harness the nerve-blocking properties of this toxin to effectively paralyze targeted muscles. In cosmetic use, this is usually the muscles that move and contract when we laugh, smile, frown, or otherwise emote. By stopping those muscles from moving every time we react with our face, the repeated movement that causes facial wrinkles to form and deepen is stopped in its tracks (at least for a while).
In other applications, Botox does the same thing, simply targeting other muscles. Those who suffer from migraines, for example, can benefit from Botox injections due to the effect that it has on the occipital muscles that can contribute to migraines; for those suffering from overactive bladder, it can help prevent the muscle contractions that lead to this overactivity.
Possible Side Effects of Botox
While Botox is safe when administered by those who are licensed and have the necessary experience, there are some possible side effects that one may experience following an injection or series of injections. Most side effects are minor. These include the following:
Pain, bruising, or swelling at the injection site
Because Botox is administered via injection with a thin needle, it is possible to experience some pain, bruising, or swelling at the injection site. In some cases, localized swelling can be due to the saline that is present to dilute the Botulinum toxin; this typically dissipates within a few hours.
Headache, fatigue, or achiness
For some people, Botox can also cause headaches and other symptoms that may feel like you’re coming down with a viral illness. This is likely due to the immune response that takes place in your body following the injection of an unrecognized substance.
Changes to facial appearance
Botox works by paralyzing muscles; while it is applied in micro doses to targeted locations in ways that are meant to closely circumscribe the affected areas of the face or body in which it is used, it is possible that some small amount of the medicine can migrate somewhat, thereby paralyzing muscles that it was not meant to. This can result in changes to facial appearance, including eyebrows that are locked into a certain position, eyelids that droop somewhat, and a lack of symmetry to one’s smile, eyebrows, or other features for some time.
To avoid this side effect, it is important not to rub the area on or around where you have gotten a Botox injection for at least 24 hours, as this can encourage the product to migrate.
Rare Systemic Effects
While it is extremely rare, it is possible for the toxin in Botox to travel throughout the body and cause systemic effects in the days or weeks following Botox injections. Again, this is very unlikely and exceedingly rare, but if you experience sudden muscle weakness, any difficulty breathing, blurred vision, incontinence, or any difficulty talking or swallowing, call your doctor right away, as these could be signs of a dangerous systemic problem.