Think about it. Someone you know—or even you—has had Botox® injections. In fact, in 2013 there were over 6.1 million treatments using Botox.

“Botox” is short for Botulinum Toxin, which is produced by a bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum. It has been used since 1920 but was marketed commercially in 1997. It has a wide variety of clinical uses to treat spastic muscle disorders, or an imbalance in eye muscles. It can also be used in hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating of the palms or axillary areas. It was as a result of using Botox for other problems on the face that its efficacy in getting rid of wrinkles was noted.

Botox interferes with the transmission of the nerve impulse to muscles, stopping muscle movement causing relaxation and disappearance of the skin creases we not-so-fondly call wrinkles. Botox is most effective on wrinkles that haven’t quite set — “dynamic” wrinkles that appear while you’re moving your face, such as when you frown.

To be effective, Botox must be injected through very fine gauge needles at a correct dosage into the correct muscle. Most people tolerate the injections very well. However, local anesthetic cream may be applied to the treatment areas, one hour prior to injection.

Results start to appear in three to five days, but may take up to a week. Finer wrinkles will disappear right away, but more established ones take more time. If the wrinkles are very deep, ancillary treatment with filler materials about two weeks post injection may be necessary to achieve 100% results.

The prices from clinic to clinic vary. The average cost of a treatment area is $500, but the actual price depends on the surgeon, the number of injections, and the units of Botox used.