More and more people are turning to cosmetic medicine for rejuvenation techniques, to help their face reflect the way they feel inside. One such rejuvenation technique is BOTOX® treatment. It can be used to relax the specific facial muscles that cause upper facial lines (crow’s feet, forehead and glabellar frown lines) to form. The following information explains how BOTOX® treatment works and what is involved with the treatment.
How and why do wrinkles form?
Many facial wrinkles occur when we use our muscles to form facial expressions. The wrinkles formed during these expressions are called dynamic wrinkles. For example, when we smile our eye wrinkles become prominent and when we frown the vertical lines between our eyebrows become noticeable.
When we are young our skin springs back to its initial position after facial expression, but as we get older dynamic wrinkles remain on the skin to form static wrinkles; these are the wrinkles and folds that are present at rest. This process occurs because natural substances such as collagen (the major structural protein in the skin), elastin (the protein that causes tissue to stretch) and hyaluronic acid (which gives skin volume) decrease with age. This, together with environmental factors such as exposure to sunlight, smoking and stress all contribute to the creation of wrinkles and folds.
What is BOTOX®?
BOTOX® is a natural, purified protein that relaxes wrinkle-causing muscles, creating a rejuvenated appearance. The active ingredient in BOTOX® treatment is derived from bacteria in much the same way penicillin is derived from mould. It is manufactured in sterile laboratory conditions.
BOTOX® is a prescription-only medicine and treatment is only available from a qualified medical professional. It is registered for the treatment of crow’s feet (the lines that radiate from the corner of your eye when you smile or squint), forehead lines (the horizontal lines that form when you raise your eyebrows) and glabellar frown lines (the vertical lines that appear between your eyebrows when you frown).
How does BOTOX® treatment work?
BOTOX® can be used to relax specific facial muscles that cause dynamic wrinkles (these are the wrinkles that are formed during facial expression). Once the muscles are relaxed, you cannot contract them and continue to make the undesirable facial expressions. Thus, the lines gradually smooth and new lines are prevented from forming.
What does BOTOX® treatment involve?
BOTOX® is a non-surgical procedure whereby a small amount of BOTOX® is administered into selected facial muscles by a trained medical professional using a very fine needle. Generally, BOTOX® treatment takes around 10 minutes. Discomfort is typically minimal and brief, and no anaesthetic is usually required. The injection may sting for a few seconds but normal activities can be resumed soon after.
After the injection, it takes 2 -3 days for the BOTOX® treatment to begin taking effect and about 7 days to see the full effect. The dose recommended for the treatment will vary depending on your individual situation and the severity of your lines. Your doctor will know what the best dose is for you and which muscles to inject to give you the best results.
How long does BOTOX® treatment last?
The effect can last up to 4 months before lines slowly begin to return. If you have repeat BOTOX® treatments, the effect tends to last longer as the muscle weakens over time. In some people a lesser amount of BOTOX® is required to achieve the same results after regular use. We recommend booking in for your next BOTOX® before it has completely worn off.
Does BOTOX® treatment cause more wrinkles to form?
BOTOX® will relax the facial muscles that cause expression lines. It does not cause more wrinkles to form. If you choose not to have further BOTOX® treatments your muscles will eventually return to normal activity and your wrinkles will gradually revert to their pre-treatment levels.
Will my facial expressions be affected by BOTOX® treatment?
BOTOX® works specifically on the muscles treated. This means that any muscle left untreated, including untreated facial muscles, should not be affected by the BOTOX® treatment. Your doctor will determine the best dose for you and which muscles to inject to give you the best results while still allowing for natural-looking facial expressions.
Are there any side effects?
In addition to its use for cosmetic reasons, BOTOX® treatment is also used to treat patients in a variety of therapeutic indications including cerebral palsy in children, movement disorders (head, neck, shoulder, face), and axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating).
In the amounts used for the treatment of upper facial lines, the side effects are usually temporary and localised to the area of injection. Possible side effects include headaches, pain, burning/stinging, bruising, swelling or redness at the injection site, local muscle weakness including drooping eyelids/eyebrows, swollen eyelids, skin tightness, tingling sensations, itichiness, nausea and flu like symptoms.
How long has BOTOX® been used?
BOTOX® has been used by the wider medical community for a range of medical conditions for approximately 30 years, and in Australia and New Zealand in therapeutic treatments for over 15 years. It was first approved for use in Australia for movement disorders (eye & face) in 1993 and for eye spasms and crossed eyes in New Zealand in 1991.
Can BOTOX® treatment be combined with other products and procedures?
Many people use a combination of cosmetic products and/or procedures with BOTOX®. Your doctor will advise you as to whether or not you will receive better results if your BOTOX® treatment is combined with other products and/or procedures.
For further information or to make an appointment:
BOTOX® is a Prescription Medicine containing 100 units of clostridium botulinum Type A toxin complex for injection. It is used for the treatment of frown lines, crows feet and horizontal forehead lines. It should be administered only by trained medical professionals. Cautions: people with defective neuro-muscular transmission disorders, presence of infection at site of injection, glaucoma, pregnancy and lactation. Possible side effects include headaches, pain, burning or redness at injection site, local muscle weakness including drooping eye lids, lack of feeling & nausea. Talk to your specialist about the benefits/risks of this procedure or if you have concerns or side effects. Allergan Pharmaceuticals, Auckland