Unless you haven’t looked at your phone or watched TV in, idk, the last decade, then you already know that Botox is officially everywhere, and it seems like pretty much everyone and anyone has gotten it or is thinking of getting it. And if you’re currently in the ~curious~ boat, you’ve come to the right place. Because despite Botox’s popularity, there’s still confusion among patients about Botox basics, which is where I come in.

As Cosmo’s resident Botox lover (we even awarded it a 2021 Cosmo Beauty Award this year, because I <3 it so much), I decided to create this mini Botox guide to help clear the confusion. It breaks down all the things you should know before booking a treatment, including how exactly Botox works, what Botox costs, and most importantly, if Botox is even worth it. Keep reading to find out everything you've ever wanted to know about Botox, below.

What exactly does Botox do?

Botox, FYI, is the brand name for an FDA-approved drug called botulinum toxin (aka a nerve-blocking drug, more on this below) that quickly become a household name over the years, just like Kleenex has for tissues, and Q-tips has for cotton swabs. So what does Botox do? It temporarily “freezes” muscles in your face to help smooth out frown lines, crow’s feet, and forehead lines.

It sounds intense and risky (especially since movies and TV shows loooove to play up the frozen-face Botox joke), but Botox is actually the quickest and most effective way to minimize fine lines and wrinkles (sry to your anti-aging cream). Like, I’ve gotten Botox at least 12 times in my life—told you I love it!—and I really, truly swear by its effects.

How does Botox work?

Botox works by temporarily blocking the nerve signals to your facial muscles, which prevents them from contracting. “By reducing those contractions, the skin above the muscle stays smooth,” says plastic surgeon David Shafer, MD. It sounds intense, but rest assured: Botox only works on the little area where it’s injected, so it’s not like a single injection will shut down the nerve signals in your entire face or body.

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