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Skin Care Guide: Part 3

Injections for Your Skin: Botox and Beyond

Freezing out the frown, filling in the wrinkles

En español | Creams, lotions, lasers and peels can give your skin a glow and a more consistent color while erasing lines.

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But dermatologists will recommend injectables, including Botox (botulinum toxin) and filler materials, such as collagen, to make an even more pronounced improvement in your wrinkles. Botox costs $300 to $500, and fillers generally run $500 to $1,000 per treatment.

Botox

Everyone from dentists to gynecologists now offers Botox injections.

Botox lasts three to four months, and works by paralyzing the muscle where it is injected, which prevents the wrinkle or frown line from forming. Botox also is used to reduce lines around the eyes, above the lip, on the neck and elsewhere. It does cause some burning and may cause bruising, but doesn't require any downtime.

Knowing where to inject it for the best results, particularly in older people, requires skill. You can use Botox only in muscles that you don't need to move — so you can freeze your frown but not your smile lines (also called marionette lines), explains New York dermatologist Neal Schultz in his book It's Not Just About Wrinkles.

"Botox must be administered very carefully or facial distortions can occur," biochemist Linda Rhein writes in Aging Skin: Current and Future Therapeutic Strategies.

The American Academy of Dermatology warns in its pamphlet on Botox: "A temporary headache is not uncommon after injections in the forehead area, especially after the first treatment. In rare instances, patients may develop weakness of the neighboring muscles leading to a temporary droopy brow or eyelid." But, according to the academy, all of these possible effects are mild and reversible.

Keep your head upright for two hours after getting Botox to reduce the risk of it moving to the wrong areas, such as your eyelids, writes Schultz.

Next: All about fillers. >>

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