By Dr. Jennifer Walden for
July 26, 2011

When it comes to smoothing wrinkles and furrows, Botox is king. Used to treat forehead wrinkles, crow's feet and frown lines, Botox has become a major hit with more and more clinics, surgeons and day spas offering the service. In most states, if you're interested in Botox, you can't just pop in to your neighborhood salon for a mani-pedi and decide you want a quick injection while your nails dry. Botox injection is a drug and should be administered by a highly specialized, trained professional. Did you know the product itself can only be ordered from the manufacturer by a physician? Here are some things you should consider before choosing a Botox provider:

State Laws Rule: In the U.S., each state governs who can legally administer Botox treatments. Some states allow only licensed physicians to inject Botox. Examples of exceptions are New York, Florida, Texas, California and Oklahoma where other health care professionals are allowed to treat clients under the supervision of a doctor.

Training: Going to a board certified plastic surgeon, dermatologist, or otolaryngologist is the best way to achieve optimal results in a sterile and safe environment. Often paraprofessionals who are not trained offer injectables, so do your research and understand their training before having anyone without "M.D." behind their name inject you. Often, physician's assistants and registered nurses are educated to inject as well, so if you go to one make sure they are functioning in a reputable doctor's office with proper training, experience, and supervision.

Salons/Clinics: Even if your state allows other healthcare providers to perform the injections, they should still be investigated thoroughly.

1. The provider you choose should be qualified, trained and registered with the state. A quick online search can help you find this information.

2. Be sure the clinic has appropriate medical equipment and a safe environment in case there are any complications following the injection.

3. Seek a consultation, during which you look for signs of cleanliness, sterility, and good hygiene. Never feel pressured to proceed with the injection if you feel uncomfortable with your provider.

Finally, be leery of in-home "Botox Parties." Reality TV shows make this look like a great thing to do with the ladies in lieu of a traditional "hosted" party, but the procedure requires a safe and sterile environment and trained professional to do the injecting, as well as the proper resources, medication, and equipment if there were an unforeseen complication, allergic reaction, or medical problem.

When performed in the right environment, under the watchful eye of an accredited professional, Botox is a relatively inexpensive, highly effective, minimally invasive anti-aging treatment. Doing your homework before you proceed with these injections will ensure you have the best experience with optimal results.