WHAT IS BOTULINUM TOXIN?
Most people have heard of Botox®, the most commonly used brand of botulinum toxin. Botox is a purified protein produced by bacteria in laboratory conditions. Botox works at the point where the nerve connects to the muscle, stopping the muscle from working. Other brand names of botulinum toxin are available such as Xeomin® and Azzalure are available. At Illuminate Skin Clinics we have chosen to use Botox® as we believe it gives the best results.
WHAT CAN BE TREATED WITH BOTOX?
Botox can be used on many areas of the face and body. The picture below shows the different areas of the face that can be treated with Botox.
- Horizontal forehead lines
- Frown lines
- Droopy eyebrows
- Crows’ feet
- Bunny lines
- Undereye wrinkles
- Squareness of the jaw & to treat bruxism (tooth grinding)
- Vertical lip lines
- Nasal tip lifting
- Gummy smile
- Downturned mouth corners
- Chin “Cobblestone” appearance to elongate the tip of the chin & to treat Witch’s Chin
- Neck bands & to help firm the jaw line
- Crepiness of the decolletage
Botox is also a really useful treatment for hyperhidrosis, a medical term for excessive sweating. This is discussed on a separate page.
WILL BOTOX BE ABLE TO GET RID OF ALL WRINKLES?
Botox is an excellent treatment for fine lines and wrinkles that are associated with movement (dynamic lines). However when a wrinkle is more deeply engrained it cannot be erased with a single treatment of Botox. Regular Botox treatment over a period of 12-18 months will help to iron out these creases, but for a more immediate result other treatment options such as dermal fillers may be a better option.
Botox also won’t erase the wrinkles resulting from sun exposure. Other treatments to improve the quality of the skin such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion and Genuine Dermaroller will provide more benefit.
DOES BOTOX HAVE A PREVENTATIVE EFFECT?
It makes sense that Botox does prevent wrinkle formation if it is started before fixed wrinkles establish. However there is a careful balance when deciding to treat younger patients – premature treatment can make someone look older rather than the more youthful look desired. Whether or not treatment is appropriate is always decided on an individual patient basis.
WHAT DOES BOTOX TREATMENT INVOLVE?
Prior to treatment you will have a thorough consultation to discover your main concerns and priorities. We will also take a medical history to make sure Botox is a safe and appropriate treatment for you. Photographs will also be taken as a record. Additionally on your first treatment we will mark our planned injection sites and take a further photograph – this is a very personalised treatment record, much more so than drawing dots on a picture of a face.
Treatment itself only takes a few minutes and involves injections with tiny needles, directly into the muscles we are targeting.
DOES BOTOX HURT?
Rather than being painful most people describe Botox as a little uncomfortable. Some factors may make it feel more painful such as stress or hormonal fluctuations. We may apply some ice prior to injection, numbing the area and making treatment more comfortable.
WHO SHOULD AVOID HAVING BOTOX?
- Botox should not be administered to pregnant women, or to mothers who are breast-feeding.
- Patients with certain conditions affecting the connections between nerves and muscles (such as Myaesthenia Gravis and Eaton-Lambert Syndrome) should not have Botox.
- People with a previous allergic reaction to botulinum toxin, or with allergies to egg or human albumin.
- People taking aminoglycoside antibiotics (such as gentamicin)
- Anyone with a skin infection in the area to be treated.
- Caution should be exercised in any patients taking blood-thinning medication such as Warfarin and Clopidogrel, simply due to the possibility of severe bruising.
ARE THE RESULTS OF BOTOX INSTANT?
Patients normally see the results from their Botox between 4 days and 2 weeks.
IS THERE ANYTHING I SHOULD AVOID AFTER HAVING BOTOX?
- You can resume normal activities immediately after treatment.
- Avoid bending forwards for prolonged periods of time and avoid lying flat in the first 4 hours after treatment.
- Do not massage the area treated with Botox as it is possible to spread the product to other areas causing unwanted effects. This also means being cautious during your normal skincare routine, and avoiding any other facial treatments for 2 weeks after Botox.
- Avoid extremes of heat for the first 2 days after treatment – no strenuous exercise, saunas, steam rooms or sun exposure.
- Avoid alcohol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin) for 24 hours after treatment, as these can increase your risk of bruising.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE-EFFECTS OF BOTOX?
- The most common side-effect is tenderness at the injection sites, which resolves within the first 24-48 hours.
- Upto 25% of people develop a mild headache. This is associated with the injections rather than the Botox itself, and can be treated with Paracetamol if needed.
- Bruising is always a possibility, although we take every measure to avoid it – cooling the area initially, using extremely tiny needles, using a fresh needle in each area and applying Arnica gel prior to treatment.
- If Botox migrates to unwanted sites it can cause weakness and drooping of the eyebrow or eyelid, or facial asymmetry. This is very rare.
- It is possible to under-correct or over-correct with Botox, which may require additional treatment 2-4 weeks after the initial appointment.
- Rarely patients can develop more generalised side-effects such as tiredness, nausea, dry mouth (common in patients taking anti-histamines), difficulties swallowing and eye problems.
- Allergic reactions to Botox are possible but extremely rare.
HOW LONG DOES BOTOX LAST?
In most people Botox lasts for 3 to 4 months. We advise people to expect 3 months on their first treatment. Some patients do find the effects last much longer. Different factors such as sun exposure, dietary factors and activity levels can all affect the duration of results.