Botox gone wrong stories: True or false?

I want to get some Botox injections sometime this year and am determined not to chicken out at the last minute - which is what I did last time and am a little ashamed of now. Anyway, the reason I backed out the last time is because just as I was about to get in my car to drive over to the clinic all these horrible stories I've heard about Botox started coming back to me and I guess I just kind of freaked out. I'm a nervous person to begin with, which didn't help. I've probably just seen too many photos of people who've clearly had too much botox and look terrible because of it. But that won't be the case with me so I'm not worried about that.. But all these other Botox gone wrong nightmare stories you read about, are these really true? Can Botox really go wrong on a person? And if so, like, how? Don't the results fade on their own after awhile anyway?


F, 42, Indiana

Botulinum toxin, the principal ingredient in Botox and Dysport, is one of the most popular and effective weapons for fighting the visible signs of aging. With a few strategically placed drops, facial muscles can be frozen and the development of new fine lines and wrinkles can be effectively limited.

We've all seen the "Botox gone wrong" magazine articles which highlight common Botox mistakes, from “cocked eyebrows” to drooping upper eyelids. Gossip columnists love to push stories of Hollywood celebs with "Bad Botox" and "Oscar night freeze". The truth is, while poor results can happen, they are very rare in the hands of board-certified plastic surgeons and dermatologists. Whenever you see a story about facial asymmetry, a "frozen face" look or eyelid droop, keep in mind that what you're not seeing in these stories are the thousands of celebs who get Botox every year and look great.

Botox treatment was approved by the FDA to treat wrinkles back in 2002 -- but it was first introduced to the market by Allergan way back in 1989. Botox injection techniques and expertise have come a long way since then and it's a treatment that is now very well understood.

While as with any procedure there is always the chance of a bad result, Botox remains an extremely low-risk treatment.

Botox treatments are an extremely effective way to reduce the formation of forehead lines, frown lines and crow's feet. There are also a growing number of dermatologists and plastic surgeons who use Botox in the lower face and upper lip.

It's understandable to have concerns about a Botox treatment gone wrong. While Botox mistakes can happen, it’s very rare for a qualified injector with extensive experience to get it wrong. The most common Botox mistake is probably eye ptosis, or a "drooping eyelid". When Botox migrates within the forehead it can come into contact with the levator palpebrae muscle, causing the upper eyelid skin to droop over the eye. While it doesn’t happen often it’s usually caused by a poor choice of injection site.

Common Botox side effects include swelling, slight bruising, pain and redness around the injection site. Most of these issues will disappear within a few days following Botox injections.

It's easy to think that the "bad Botox" stories you read about in magazines and online are common, but this is a falsehood.

Botox injections are an extremely safe cosmetic treatment. While there is always a minimal chance of poor results or side effects occurring, Botox injections remain one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in the world largely because of the high degree of satisfaction among patients. Botox injections have been used worldwide since the 1990s, and many of the "Botox gone wrong" and "frozen face" stories are from the early days when injection techniques were still being developed.

There is frequently some degree of redness and bruising near the injection sites, but this should subside within a matter of days. Other common side effects include headaches and occasional flu-like symptoms following the injections. Some patients also report eye dryness, while others report excessively watery eyes.

Very rare side effects include migraines and muscle weakness throughout the body.

The most common "bad Botox" photos you'll see involve the dreaded "eyelid droop". Droopy eyelids occur if the botulinum toxin migrates from the frontalis muscle to the levator palpebrae muscles within the upper eyelid.

Bad results are usually the result of an unskilled or untrained injector. Always be sure to consult with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon for best results.

Botox is an FDA-approved treatment that has been extremely popular for decades now. Yes, botox mistakes are a possibility, but if you visit a skilled medical professional mistakes are very rare.

We have achieved excellent results reducing forehead wrinkles and crow's feet with botox on hundreds of patients.

Common side effects include bruising, swelling and redness. But these issues should pass within the first few days.

The rare "eyelid droop" and "cocked eyebrow" look which you have probably seen in “botox gone wrong” photos are most often caused by a poor choice of injection sites. Skilled injectors use sites which minimize the amount of botulinum migration and keep risks at an absolute minimum.

To answer your question about the results eventually fading away: yes, the results of a botox injection will eventually fade, but unfortunately there's no way to accelerate this process. If you're not happy with the results, you'll have to wait for the results to subside naturally over the course of months.

While the risks of a bad botox experience are extremely low, the best way to avoid having one yourself is to simply visit a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who has been trained to inject botox properly. The negative botox stories you sometimes hear about are almost always the result of an unqualified person providing the injections.

Done in moderation botox is very safe with little risk of complications other than bruising and swelling for a few days.  

There are some horror stories but it is not the fault of the Botox, but rather of the injector. The good news is that the effects are not permanent and sometimes can be reversed. Like any other procedure there is always the chance of complications or side effects but they are rare in the hands of a good practitioner.