What are Botox Wrinkle Relaxing Treatments?
Botox, also known as botulinum toxin, is a non-invasive injectible treatment used to rejuvenate the face. Currently the number one cosmetic treatment used for dynamic (movement associated) lines, Botox works by relaxing the underlying muscles that cause the skin to crease and develop lines or wrinkles.
How Do Botox Injections Work?
Injecting Botox is a quick and simple procedure that works by weakening the facial muscles used for certain expressions, such as frowning or squinting. When Botox is injected into a specific muscle it blocks the signal from the nerve to the muscle, which means the nerve cannot tell the muscle to move. The effects last between 3-6 months when your facial expressions will return to normal.
Although it is most commonly used to treat wrinkles, Botox can also be used to stop you sweating, to alleviate migraines and tension headaches and to correct a square jaw or ‘gummy smile’. Although the cosmetic benefits of Botox have only been realised in the last two decades, its use in medicine dates back more than 200 years.
Am I a Candidate Botox?
Ideal candidates for Botox are those who have movement-associated lines and wrinkles, particularly in the upper part of the face, such as around the eyes (crow’s feet), on the forehead and between the eyebrows.
What Should I Do Before Botox?
Before embarking on a Botox treatment, you should have a detailed consultation with a cosmetic surgeon to outline your expectations of the treatment. If your problem areas are on the lower part of the face, it may be that a dermal filler could be a more appropriate treatment for you. Alternatively, if you have very deep wrinkles a more invasive cosmetic surgery treatment may be required to achieve the desired results.
During Treatment – First, the area to be injected will be cleaned with an antiseptic wipe. Then, using micro needles and disposable syringes, tiny amounts of botulinum toxin will be injected into the treatment area. The whole treatment should usually take no longer than 10-15 minutes. For your first Botox treatment, it is usually recommended to treat just one area so that you can become comfortable with the process and the practitioner can see how you respond to your first injections. Depending on the area treated, the dose used, and how you respond to botulinum toxin, repeat treatments will be required every 3-6 months to maintain and improve upon the results.
Recovery – Botox treatments are simple, quick and safe so you can usually resume normal activities immediately after the procedure. Many people have their treatments in their lunch-time and return to work straight afterwards. However, expect to require a repeat treatment every 3-4 months to maintain results.
What Areas of My Face Should Botox Be Used?
The upper third of the face is where the best treatment results are obtained with botulinum toxin. Benefits of Botox include the reduction in the appearance of crow’s feet around the eyes, smoother frown lines and wrinkles on the forehead and between the eyebrows.
Risks and Complications – Over the last 15 years, a huge amount of clinical and practical evidence has shown the effectiveness and safety of botulinum toxin. Most patients find that Botox injections cause little discomfort as the treatment is very quick, the needles used are tiny and only small amounts of liquid are being injected into the skin. Rare risks or side effects from botox injections include some temporary bleeding, bruising or mild swelling at the injection site.
Am I a Candidate for Botox?
Botox injections are incredibly safe and produce temporary but dramatic results. Men and women who are starting to see the signs of ageing on their face are potential candidates for Botox. The treatment is usually carried out on people over the age of 35, however some younger people have it as a preventative measure as it can stop wrinkles forming in the first place and hold off the signs of premature ageing. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not have Botox injections. People with certain neurological disorders or disease that affect muscle activity may also not be suitable.
Botox is most commonly used on the upper part of the face (the forehead and around the eyes) however many doctors are now using it for the lower face to correct the appearance of a square jaw or a gummy smile. Botox injections can also be used to stop you sweating.
Botox for Bunny Lines
Many people get two prominent lines on the top of their nose between their eyebrows caused by facial expressions such as frowning or wrinkling the nose.
Botox for Frown Lines
Raising your eyebrows and frowning can cause wrinkles to appear on your forehead as you age. Botox injections can be used to soften these lines and stop them from getting worse. The treatment will leave your forehead looking smoother and wrinkle free but you should still be able to express yourself if the treatment is performed correctly.
Botox for Crow’s Feet/Laughter Lines
As well as lines on the forehead, Botox is commonly used to diminish the signs of ageing around the eyes. Crow’s feet, or laughter lines as they are often caused, become more prominent as you age. Squinting, smiling and frowning can all make these worse. Botox injections can soften these lines and stop them getting worse as you age.
Botox for a Non-Surgical Brow Lift
Botox injections can be used to create the appearance of a brow lift without surgery. The doctor will inject specific muscles to lift the eyebrows and open up the eye area. Injecting too much can make you look surprised but when done properly this treatment can take years off of your appearance without the need for surgery.
Botox for Excess Sweating
If you suffer from excessive sweating then it may surprise you to know that Botox injections can actually help. Botox has been used to treat this condition, known as hyperhydrosis, very effectively for years. Many cosmetic practitioners now offer this procedure on their treatment menu.
Botox for ‘Gummy’ smiles
If your gums are too prominent or look too big when you smile then you may be a victim of the ‘gummy’ smile. Around 7% of men and 14% of women have a gummy smile. The problem is caused by the natural position of the jaw and in some cases simply overgrowth of the gum tissue. Botox injections can relax certain muscles so less of the gum is on display when you smile.
Botox for Headaches
If you suffer from ‘tension headaches’ caused by bad posture, grinding your teeth or hunching over a computer every day, then Botox could help. In many cases of tension headaches certain muscles groups seem to be effected, such as the jaw muscles and the muscles in the temples. Strategically placed Botox can help relax these muscles and alleviate the pain.
Botox for Square Jawline
As with the upper face, Botox can be used in the lower face to weaken certain muscles and improve the over all look. A square jaw can make a woman look more masculine. Botox can be strategically placed into the jaw muscles to create a tapered and ‘slimmer’ facial form. Another side effect of this is that it can make your face look slimmer and like you have lost weight.
Botox for Jowls
A saggy neck can add years to your appearance but if you are not quite ready to go under the knife, Botox injections can help. Careful Botox placement into the neck muscles can bring about a lifting effect thereby helping to define the jawline and reduce the appearance of jowls.
Botox for Necklace Lines
Experienced practitioners are now using Botox injections to often the appearance of lines around the neck known as ‘necklace lines’. This treatment requires a lot of skill so it is important to find someone who has a lot of experience with injecting botulinum toxin.
How Botox works?
The drugs available on prescription for use in anti-ageing treatments such as Botox, Dysport and Vistabel are derived from botulinum toxin type A, a bacterium-produced neuromuscular toxin that can be deadly in its pure state but is very safe in the highly diluted doses used for cosmetic uses.
The wrinkles that form on your foreheads and around your eyes as you age are caused by your facial muscles relaxing and contracting when you make an expression. Our facial expressions change because the muscles in the face contract or relax. Botox injections block the signal your nerves send to specific muscles telling them to contract and stop them from moving. This is why people get the ‘frozen’ if too much botox is injected into a specific area. Most experienced practitioner aim to restrict rather than completely freeze the muscles so you get a more natural look. The aim of a good botox treatment is to still be able to express yourself facial just with less wrinkling of the skin.
Botox is not the same as a dermal filler, which plumps out a line to make it disappear, so it cannot be used to get rid of deep lines and wrinkles on the face caused by sun damage, lifestyle and the natural ageing process. It is most commonly used on the forehead, around the eyes to treat the crow’s feet or laughter lines, and between the eyebrows, to treat the glabellar or ‘bunny lines’.
The results of botox injections last for three to six months, although it can be longer in some people, especially those who have undergone regular treatment over a period of time.
What Are The Risks and Complications With Botox?
Side effects of Botox are very rare and usually temporary. You may be slightly red, bruised or swollen after treatment but this should only last a few days. You may also have a headache for a couple of days after your treatment.
The worst side effects associated with Botox injections are usually just down to too much being injected or the wrong muscles being injected. The overly frozen or stunned look seen on some celebs is an example of this.
Less than 1% of people who have had Botox have developed a dropping eyelid (known as partial ptosis) after their treatment. This is only temporary and will improve over a few weeks. Some people have also developed a droopy brow because of muscles in their forehead being over relaxed. Again this is a temporary side effect.
What Do I Do After Botox Injections?
There is literally no downtime with Botox injections. You may be a little but red and in some cases slightly bruised but this is rare and only occurs if the doctor injecting you hits a blood vessel. Any bruising or redness should be mild and can be easily covered with make-up. You are advised to use mineral make-up as most other cosmetics contain parabens and other ingredients, which may cause infection.
You will be given post treatment advice by your doctor, which you should follow carefully.
You are often advised to not bend over for the first 24 hours after treatment or to rub or massage the area that has been treated. It is also a good idea to try and sleep upright.
Don’t be surprised if you don’t notice an immediate effect. Botulinum toxin usually takes around a week to take full effect so you will notice your wrinkles gradually diminishing over this time.
The effects of Botox usually last around three to six months but most people have repeat treatments at three or four months to maintain their results. Many people who have repeated treatments notice that their wrinkles are less severe even when their botox has worn off.
Quite often your practitioner will ask you to book in for another appointment two weeks after your first treatment to check the results and to add more Botox if necessary.
What Happens During Botox Treatment?
Botox is one of the few cosmetic treatments that can truly be described as a ‘lunchtime’ procedure. The injections can be done in a matter of minutes (after a proper consultation) and there are usually little or no signs of treatment other than a bit of redness and in rare cases some mild bruising.
The doctor who is treating you will usually ask you to remove any make-up. They will then ask you to make facial expressions while they mark out the points they are going to inject. Small amounts of botulinum toxin are then injected into your muscles with a very fine needle. You do not need any kind of anaesthetic for botox injections as they are virtually painless. You will feel a pinprick. Some areas, such as round the eyes, can be a little more sensitive but the treatment is so quick it is very bearable. Some people do opt to have an anaesthetic cream applied to numb the skin but for most it is not necessary.
The treatment usually takes around 10-15 minutes and you can walk straight out and carry on as normal.
What Should I Do Before Botox treatment?
Botox is a very quick, safe procedure so, unlike cosmetic surgery, you can often have your consultation and treatment on the same day. The most important thing is find someone who is experienced and qualified to do Botox injections. It is important to remember that Botox is a prescription medicine so must be prescribed by a doctor.