How Do Botox Injections Work?

Botox is no longer a treatment solely for rich celebrities. Around 10,000 Botox injections are carried out in the UK each year. The treatment is known to divide opinion ­– botched jobs are a regular feature in glossy magazines and the health risks of seeing an untrained practitioner are significant. On the other hand, if used in a subtle way, the procedure can dramatically reduce the telltale signs of ageing. Just take a look at some of the suspiciously wrinkle-free mugs of some of your favourite TV stars. With some men and women now using Botox in their mid-20s for preventative purposes, the treatment has entered a new level of ubiquity.

What is Botox?

Botox is the trade name for botulinum toxin. It stops wrinkles from forming or growing more exaggerated. Botox can alter the way you look in the short-term, so you can avoid going under the knife. The purified protein inhibits chemical messengers that cause muscle contractions. For cosmetic purposes, Botox is generally administered on the forehead to prevent the movement of frown muscles and lines around that area. It can also be used to treat other areas of the face or body. The series of very small injections is quick and relatively pain-free.

Botox treatment brief

Botox is a lunchtime procedure with minimal risks and side-effects. It relaxes the face muscles to iron out wrinkles, crow’s feet, fine lines and frown lines. The effects don’t last forever – generally 3 to 4 months is your lot and it will set you back around £100 to 350.

What to consider before having Botox treatment?

The NHS does not provide Botox injections for cosmetic purposes. Those looking to take advantage of the treatment will need to choose a highly rated clinic with qualified and experienced medical practitioners. You should discuss this, along with the potential side effects of the treatment, in your consultation session. Make sure that both the person prescribing the treatment and the practitioner are reputable enough to make such decisions.

Who should avoid Botox?

 You should steer clear of Botox if you have a skin infection, feel unwell, have a neuromuscular condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or take medicines that are not compatible. Those on antibiotics should avoid the procedure.

The procedure

After your face has been cleaned, you may be asked to move your face muscles so the practitioner can find the best spot. Botox will be injected into the muscles of the treated areas using a fine needle. This can take as little as 10 minutes.


After the treatment 

The changes generally take 2 to 3 days to start working and it can take 2 to 3 weeks to see the full effects.


The face should not be rubbed for a few days after the treatment. You should also stay out of the sun and avoid strenuous exercise. Additionally, at least 3 months should pass before the treatment is repeated – otherwise Botox will lose some of its effects.

Possible side-effects

After the treatment, you may experience: a headache and flu-like symptoms for the first 24 hours; bruising, swelling and redness on the points of injection; lack of ability to move facial muscles if excess Botox has been injected; and non-permanent droopiness in certain areas of the face, such as eyelids, if Botox spreads to that region. In the worst case scenario, you may experience blurred vision and double vision if treated around the eyes. Treatment around the neck can also cause breathing issues.

Other uses for Botox

Botox can be used to treat profuse sweating, unstable bladders, migraines, anal fissures, squinting, vocal cord spasms and hyperactive muscles.

If you suffer from a chronic pain, you may also want to try Botox. When injected into a specific muscle, it can block signals to muscles that are unnecessarily contracting, which are the source of chronic pain.


There is hardly any downtime. Any swelling around treated areas generally subsides after 20 to 30 minutes and any bruising will also clear within a week. It is best to avoid alcohol, blood-thinning supplements and exercise for at least a day after the procedure.


The procedure can remove or lessen the lines that come with ageing around the face. If performed to a high standard, it will leave you looking less fatigued and more youthful. However, too much Botox can result in the dreaded frozen look. Again, it is important to be seen by a qualified and experienced practitioner for optimum results.

When is the best time to start Botox?

It can be beneficial to start Botox as fine lines and wrinkles show. When wrinkles stay on the face, even if the expression has passed, it is a good time to have Botox. However, some people are perfectly comfortable having the natural appearance of a face that shows the natural signs of ageing. Using Botox for cosmetic purposes is a matter of choice and personal taste.

Why people have started using Botox in their 20s

Twenty somethings use Botox to beautify their appearance and to retain their young and vital look for longer. Starting at this age can target the skin before the lines become permanent. However, it cannot remove these lines completely. If you are not seeing any such lines in your 20s, it may be an idea to wait until later for the treatment.

Why people use Botox in their 30s 

During your 30s, you can begin to see sun damage and lines across the forehead, side of mouth, crow’s feet and wrinkles on the side of nose. When you are in this period of your life, a specialist can inject Botox in certain areas so the face learns to no longer develop the same habits. This can lessen the chances that they will gain wrinkles in those places later on.

Why people use Botox in their 40s and beyond

During your 40s, you may notice considerable lines and wrinkles, crow’s feet and drooping of the upper eyelids. The more heavily set the wrinkles get, the harder they become to treat.

Will I need a top-up? 

Some patients may need a top-up to achieve achieve the desired effect, often around two weeks after the treatment.

Botox risks and side effects

Patients can be left with the “Spock” look, involving raised arched eyebrows. Additionally, the treatment can result in an angry low heavy brow look if too much is injected in the forehead or if it is injected too low. There is also a risk of bruising and dropped brows which are uneven and can last for a number of months.

Botox alternatives 

There are a number of other procedures to lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Microneedling, where tiny needles are used to trick the skin into repairing microtrauma with collagen, is one such method. Plasma Fibroblast is another. This treatment uses an electrical arc to burn off unwanted saggy skin, effectively lifting and tightening it and getting rid of any fine lines and wrinkles. 

Botox safety advice

Be sure to choose a medical practitioner who is listed on a register to show that they have the relevant training, skills and insurance. These include the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, Save Face and British Association of Cosmetic Nurses.

How to prolong the effects of the treatment? 

Use high-quality suncream and skincare for the optimum long-lasting effects.

Alternatives to Botox

Ultratherapy uses ultrasound technology to stimulate collagen and elastin and tighten the muscles. Chemical peels address the fine lines and wrinkles, while smoothing the skin’s texture. Microneedling and retinol will also help to smoothen the skin in a subtle way over time when used correctly.

Is Botox used by men in the UK?

An increasing number of men have been opting for the treatment as the results are alluring and this generation places higher value in skincare.

Is it painful?
You may experience some minor discomfort and nothing more. However, anyone who has to undergo the Botox procedure should refrain from taking anti-inflammatory medications or aspirin to reduce potential bruising.

The final say

If Botox treatment is carried out by a trained and experienced practitioner, and not to excess, then it can be a useful way to temporarily slow down the signs of ageing.

Expert is one of London’s leading providers of Botox. Our ultramodern clinics offer a peaceful environment for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city. You can take advantage of a free consultation to see if the treatment is the right fit for you.