Anti-aging spa treatments are so hip these days, it’s hard to know whether spas are simply modifying vocabulary to enliven the benefits of a facial, or whether such anti-aging antidotes actually yield more than just superficial changes.
In many cases, there’s a fine line between what services a spa is able to offer, legally, and what must be physician-supervised. Since many spas in Europe, and more recently in North America, are calling themselves “medi-spas” (in other words, there’s a physician on site), it behooves us all to know what to expect from some of these ‘spa’ anti-aging procedures. They may not be as dramatic as cosmetic surgery, but they are still medical in nature.
What it is:
A highly purified form of the toxin produced by the bacteria that causes botulism.
The use of Botox was first approved by the FDA to treat a variety of ophthalmic conditions and has done wonders in easing muscle spasticity, especially pre-surgery involving movement and gait. Because of its ability to soften wrinkles, such as horizontal lines on the forehead, frown lines, crow’s feet, and ‘smoking’ lines around the mouth, Botox is now used widely in the esthetics industry. It also helps to reduce sweating …… and for some people, their chronic migraines!
What to expect:
Botox temporarily paralyzes specific muscles which in the case of a spa treatment usually means the muscles that form facial expression lines.
Treatments generally last no more than 10-minutes, an involve injecting the acidic solution into the muscle using a tiny needle.
During the treatment, ice packs or a topical anesthetic is used to ease discomfort, which in some cases may include a stinging sensation.
The effects may not be noticeable for 2-3 days and generally last anywhere between 3-6 months. With repeated injections, the effectiveness of every treatment improves, in part because the muscles atrophy from lack of use. This is why so many younger men and women embrace Botox; small doses mean that lines never actually get a solid chance to form so they can retain a youthful look far longer than those who start using Botox, say, in their fifties.
Whenever a needle is used, there’s a chance of bruising, especially if you’ve thin and/or fair skin. Marks will usually disappear with a few days.
On rare occasions, the Botox solution may weaken the muscles that hold up the eyelids causing a slight droopiness. The condition is temporary and will usually last only a few weeks.
If you choose to use Botox anywhere near the lip area, you might find yourself slurping a little, or even dribbling here and there for a few days as you get used to your slightly paralyzed mouth. Chances are, no-one else will notice, but it’s an odd sensation.
The effects are temporary so budget for at least two visits per year. Prices are based of cc units used and can run up to $30/unit. An overall ‘softer’ look can easily run $1,000 a visit.