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Considering Botox? Here’s what you need to know.

Botox is one of the fastest growing aesthetic treatments, and for good reason: Its wrinkle-reducing effects are far more impressive than any topical skincare cream can offer. Botox is FDA-approved to treat stubborn frontalis (forehead) lines, glabellar lines between your brows (aka “frown” or “eleven” lines), and lateral canthi lines (aka “crow’s feet”) around your eyes. Botox is also commonly used in other capacities to smooth nasalis lines (aka “bunny lines”) and reduce pore size, for example. Results usually kick in around two weeks after your treatment and last for about three months.

“Botox works by temporarily relaxing the targeted facial muscles, which softens the look of wrinkles,” says Debra Thomas, a certified aesthetic nurse provider at The Skin Center, which has six medical spas across the Pittsburgh region. The company’s newest state-of-the-art clinic just opened in Murrysville last month.

“The #1 question I get from first-time Botox clients is: Will my face look frozen?” says Thomas. “Think about it this way: Every bottle of Botox is the same — it’s a regulated drug. So the critical factor in getting natural-looking results is all about the provider who is injecting the Botox,” explains Thomas, who is also a Botox national trainer and travels the country teaching injection techniques.

You probably already have several Botox devotees in your friend circle singing its praises. According to Allergan Aesthetics, the makers of Botox, 2.4 million Botox treatments have already been administered this year. And don’t think Botox is only for women: The Skin Center has seen a 67% increase in male Botox patients this past year. If you’re considering Botox, here are the safety measures Thomas recommends:

• Experience matters.

Go to a medical spa that has an established reputation. “At The Skin Center, we’ve been doing Botox for 20 years, since it was first approved by the FDA,” says Thomas. “This means that not only do you have tenured providers with great experience, but that new providers coming on board are getting the best training and supervision as well.” Always ask questions like: How long has the provider been doing Botox? How many patients has he or she treated?

• Beware of counterfeit Botox.

On treatment day, before you start, ask your provider to show you the bottle of Botox first. “It’s scary to think that there is counterfeit Botox out there, but there is. If you see Botox advertised at a ridiculously cheap price, double check you are getting the real thing first,” cautions Thomas.

• Don’t get it at a Botox party.

Just because Botox has become as popular as tupperware doesn’t mean you should get it anywhere else than in a medically supervised, safe and clean clinic.

• Do ask for emergency contact information.

A reputable provider will give you instructions on what to do if you have any questions or concerns outside of business hours. You’re in safe hands at The Skin Center. Out of over 30,000 medical spas in the country, The Skin Center is recognized as a Top 10 Botox Provider in the Nation by Allergan Aesthetics. The company always offers complimentary Botox consultations and don’t miss its first-time patient special: $100 OFF your first treatment.