With the aesthetic industry thriving more than ever, anti-wrinkle injections have become a go-to treatment for many. These injections help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but like any medical procedure, it’s crucial to understand their mechanism, benefits, and limitations.
How Do Anti-Wrinkle Injections Work?
Anti-wrinkle injections primarily use botulinum toxin, a purified protein. Note that Botox is a brand of a botulinum toxin medication, and other legal brands in the UK include Alluzience, Azzalure, Bocouture, Dysport, Letybo, Nuceiva and Xeomin. When injected into specific muscles, it temporarily blocks nerve signals. This prevents the muscle from contracting and creasing the skin and smoothes the skin above, reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Botulinum toxin is a prescription-only medication (POM), which means you are legally required to undergo a face-to-face consultation with your prescriber before being treated. You must have your medical history, allergies, concerns and goals fully discussed, and you may be denied treatment if your practitioner feels that treatment may not be in your best interest.
It’s important to verify the name of the botulinum toxin medication you’ll be treated with. If the name is not on the UK’s approved list (see above) then this indicates a problem.
Commonly Treated Areas
In cosmetic settings, botulinum toxin can be used to address:
- Forehead lines: Horizontal lines caused by raising the eyebrows.
- Frown lines: Vertical lines between the eyebrows resulting from frowning.
- Crow’s feet: Lines radiating from the outer corners of the eyes, often from squinting or smiling.
- Bunny lines: Wrinkles on the nose appear when laughing or smiling.
- Lip lines: Vertical lines above the upper lip.
- Downturned mouth
- Platysmal bands: Strong muscular bands on the neck
- Gummy smile: Relaxing the muscle that pulls the top lip excessively so more gum is exposed on smiling.
- Masseter muscle: Reducing the strength of the masseter can help with jaw clenching and teeth grinding, and slim the face.
Botulinum toxin can also help with excessive sweating in the underarms, palms of the hands or soles of the feet and for migraine treatment.
Who Cannot Have Anti-Wrinkle Treatment?
It’s essential to recognise that while many may benefit from these injections, some individuals should approach with caution or avoid them altogether:
- Pregnancy: The effects on the foetus are still unclear, so it’s advised to avoid during pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding: No clinical studies prove the safety with breastfeeding mothers and the effect on the baby, so we advise waiting until you have finished breastfeeding before having treatment.
- Nerve Disorders: The toxin may exacerbate conditions like Myasthenia Gravis or Lambert-Eaton Syndrome.
- Body Dysmorphia Disorder: Individuals with this condition often have a distorted view of their appearance and might not be ideal candidates.
- Infections: Those with systemic infections or infections at the injection site should wait until they are fully healed.
When Is The Right Time To Start Treatment?
It’s generally recommended to consider anti-wrinkle injections at the first signs of lines that remain even when your face is at rest.
It’s about preventative care, not pre-emptive action. Beginning treatments before lines appear may not yield the desired outcomes.
Setting Realistic Expectations
While injections can significantly reduce the appearance of wrinkles, deeply set lines may not vanish entirely. They are likely to soften but might remain visible.
Some patients might need multiple sessions, or to combine anti-wrinkle treatments with other treatment modalities, such as microneedling, radiofrequency, skin boosters and dermal fillers, to achieve the desired effect, especially when treating more profound wrinkles.
Anti-wrinkle injections can provide a refreshed and youthful appearance, but it’s vital to approach the treatment with well-informed expectations. You can make more informed decisions by understanding the treatment function and the realistic outcomes they offer. Consulting with experienced professionals like Dr Rachel Tunney, can provide tailored advice and guidance for those interested in this treatment.
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