The most popular treatment for expression wrinkles. It is ideal for the forehead, brow furrow and periocular wrinkles.
What is Botulinum toxin?
It is the trade name of the botulinum toxin produced by the pharmaceutical company Allergan. The same substance is also produced by Ipsen and marketed with trade name Dysport.
New forms of the drug have been launched worldwide, but are not imported in Greece for the time being.
A muscle contracts following a brain’s order, which is transmitted along the nerve fibres that innervate it. This order is expressed through the release of acetylcholine at the terminal of each nerve fibre. There are specific acetylcholine receptors in the muscles: the binding of acetylcholine to these receptors causes the muscle contraction. The botulinum toxin takes over the acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junctions, thus inhibiting muscle contractions temporarily. In other words, it deceives the system without damaging muscle or nerve fibres. Subsequently, the drug is gradually eliminated from the body in minute quantities that may not harm our kidneys or liver. It is this very mechanism of action and elimination that makes the treatment safe.
How is the treatment performed?
Selected muscles are injected so as to relax their activity, thus preventing wrinkling of the overlying skin. The improvement starts to show on the second to third day after the treatment, but it takes approximately a week for the final result to settle.
Is the treatment painful?
A very thin needle is used for the injection of the drug into the skin and at different sites of the face depending on the person’s needs, to achieve individualised results. The needle prick is not painful, but there may be a slight tingle sensation following the entry of the drug. In any case, anaesthetic cream can be applied prior to the treatment.
What does the skin look like after the treatment?
Immediately after the treatment, tiny bumps may appear on the skin, which recede within the next half hour. These are due to the quantity of liquid injected into the skin. There may also be some bruising on the skin, which however disappears within a week. (This is true for all injectable treatments, so try not to have them shortly before important occasions). After the treatment medical make-up can be applied to provide coverage and soothing effect.
Can daily activities be resumed immediately?
Exposure to heat and high body temperature may inactivate the drug and affect the result. Therefore it is advisable to avoid sun exposure and/or heat, sauna, hairdryer, hot bath as well as strenuous physical activity for 48 hours after the treatment. Moreover, you should avoid lying down, rubbing or pressing the injection sites and drinking alcohol in the first four hours following the treatment.
When is botulinum toxin contraindicated?
The only contraindication is myasthenia Gravis.
If you take anticoagulant and/or anti-inflammatory drugs, you may experience some bruising after the treatment. Let your doctor know if you suffer from any disease or take any drugs and nutrition supplements.
The botulinum toxin treatment is a medical procedure and may therefore have side effects unless it is performed by qualified doctor.
What is the right age to start?
There isn’t a most appropriate age. The individual needs of each face determine the timing of the treatment. Results are excellent in recently formed wrinkles, but also very good in established and deeper wrinkles, although they may not be totally smoothed out.
Preventive treatment is ideal as is does not allow wrinkles to be formed at the sites where there is intense muscle activity.
Additionally, botulinum toxin may also be applied even if there are no wrinkles in order to change and improve some facial features (beautification). For instance when a young person looks angry because he or she has overactive frown muscles, or when the eyebrows are dropping making the face look sad.
How many treatments are allowed?
There is no limit to the number of botulinum toxin treatments we may have, as the drug is totally eliminated from the body in four months and its effect is temporary without causing any damage or lesion to muscles or nerves.
As botulinum toxin is currently globally applied as a treatment for the forehead wrinkles, it has been observed that the need for upper face lift surgery has declined.
How often should the treatment be performed?
Usually, every four to six months. The frequency of treatments depends on the age, the type of wrinkles (number and depth), muscle strength (highly active, strong muscles require more frequent treatment), drug dilution and quantity used by the doctor.
If I have a botulinum toxin treatment once, do I have to have it all the time? What will happen if I stop the treatments?
A botulinum toxin treatment can be performed only once in a lifetime. After four months, the substance will have been eliminated from the body and muscle activity fully restored. Results are fully reversible. Even if someone has botulinum toxin treatments for many years and then stops for any reason, their face will come back to its original condition before the start of the treatments; however they will have benefited as no new wrinkles will have been formed in the meantime.
Is botulinum toxin safe?
The botulinum toxin has long been used in medicine for various conditions and in doses multiple to those used for wrinkle correction; hence its safety is well documented. Millions of people have had botulinum toxin treatments for their wrinkles, so all potential adverse effects have been reported and recorded. Βotulinum toxin is completely eliminated from the body in four months, so it has no cumulative or toxic effect.
ATTENTION! The Βotulinum toxin treatment is a medical procedure and may therefore have adverse effects unless it is performed by qualified doctor.
New applications in the lower face and neck.
In recent years the botulinum toxin has also been applied in the lower face for Nefertiti lift and sadness or marionette lines. It is also used for neck and upper lip lines.
Yet not all cases are suitable for these treatments. A specific musculature type is required in order to obtain a satisfactory result.