What to Know About Botox Cosmetic

You've probably heard of Botox before, but you may not know exactly what it is. Botox Cosmetic is a purified and safe form of botulinum toxin A, produced by a microbe and causes botulism. When injected, Botox will temporarily paralyze the facial muscles preventing them from creating deep wrinkles, crow’s feet, and furrows in the skin.

This article will go over what Botox Cosmetic is, how it works, and how it is used for cosmetic purposes. It will also review the risks and what you should know before opting for the procedure.

Woman getting a Botox treatment
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What Is Botox Cosmetic?

Originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of such conditions as blepharospasm (uncontrollable eyelid movements like blinking or twitching), migraines, incontinence, and muscle spasms, Botox has since come to be recognized for its cosmetic value.

With injections placed properly, Botox Cosmetic can block nerve impulses from being sent to muscles. It weakens them so that they cannot contract. This results in temporarily eliminating moderately severe furrows and lines.

The three other brands of botulinum toxin type A are Dysport, Xeomin, and Jeuveau.


With a very fine needle, Botox Cosmetic is injected into the facial muscles that cause furrows and lines.

For patients who want to lessen the appearance of crow’s feet or frown lines, the physician will inject Botox Cosmetic for the following facial characteristics:

  • Crow’s feet: Botox will be injected into three areas of the orbicularis oculi, the muscle that frames the side of the eye.
  • Frown lines: Botox will be injected into two of the muscles in the forehead—the procerus and corrugator muscles.
  • Horizontal forehead lines: Botox will be injected into the frontal muscle in the forehead.
  • Vertical lip lines: Botox will be injected into the upper lip.

Healthcare providers may choose to numb the area with ice packs or a topical numbing cream before being injected with Botox Cosmetic.


Within a few days of treatment, patients will begin to see results and they can last up to four months, although areas that are treated regularly may have longer-lasting results. Injections of Botox Cosmetic should be given only by qualified medical professionals.

Side Effects

Patients have reported that the injection of Botox Cosmetic feels like a pinch. Some of the side effects of a BotoxCosmetic injection are usually mild and temporary, and include the following:

  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Difficulty with vision
  • Localized pain at the injection site
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising

Patients can resume normal activities after receiving Botox Cosmetic injections.


Patients who are contemplating Botox Cosmetic injections should alert their doctor to any of the following conditions:

  • An allergy to the ingredients in Botox Cosmetic
  • An allergic reaction to any other botulinum toxin product
  • A skin infection at the planned injection site
  • A muscle or nerve condition that may result in difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Spread of the toxin effects to areas away from the injection site.

The healthcare provider should be made aware of all medical conditions and all medications taken, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, prior to injection with Botox Cosmetic.


Botox Cosmetic is an injection that can block nerve impulses from being sent to muscles, and inadvertently reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It's a temporary fix for wrinkles or facial lines like frown lines or crow's feet.

Before getting Botox Cosmetic, talk with your healthcare provider about whether or not it is appropriate for you, as some people should not have the treatment.

A Word From Verywell

If the visible signs of aging on your face cause you distress, you might consider treatments like Botox Cosmetic. It's important to remember that this is a temporary fix, and will not last forever. If you want to maintain the effects, continued injections will be necessary.

There are risks with the procedure, so you may consider alternative measures first, like changing diet and lifestyle habits, or using creams or lotions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between Botox and Botox Cosmetic?

    The only difference between Botox and Botox Cosmetic is what they are FDA-approved to treat. Botox treats muscle disorders, while Botox Cosmetic treats facial wrinkles and lines.

  • Does Botox make you look older as it wears off?

    No, it doesn't make you look older. You just look the same as you did before you had the injections. The paralyzing effect of Botox Cosmetic slowly lessens, potentially causing some of the lines to reappear. But it does not age you, appearance-wise, when it wears off.

  • What happens when you stop using Botox?

    Your wrinkles will return when you stop using Botox Cosmetic. Since Botox is no longer affecting the fine lines or wrinkles, they will return like before.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Allergan Aesthetics. BOTOX (onabotulinumtoxinA).

  2. Walker TJ, Dayan SH. Comparison and overview of currently available neurotoxins. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7(2):31-39. PMID. 24587850

  3. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Learn more about Botox, Dysport, Xeomin & Jeuveau.

  4. Alsantali A. A comparative trial of ice application versus EMLA cream in alleviation of pain during botulinum toxin injections for palmar hyperhidrosis. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018;11:137-140. doi:10.2147/CCID.S155023

  5. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. How long does Botox last?

  6. Witmanowski H, Błochowiak K. The whole truth about botulinum toxin – a reviewAdv Dermatol Allergol. 2019;37(6):853-861. doi. 10.5114/ada.2019.82795

Originally written by Lisa Fayed