Botulinum toxin treatment information

Over time creases, wrinkles and lines develop on the face. This is due to the repeated action of the facial muscles on the skin. Some people have a habit of subconsciously using one group of muscles often, for example frowning, raising eyebrows or squinting, and this is known as a facial habit. This also explains why some individuals have more pronounced lines in one area than others in another area. Personality, work environment and daily stresses are but a few factors affecting these habits.

Facial lines are of varying degrees but can be classed into two broad categories: mobile or moving lines and static lines. Mobile lines appear only when the particular facial muscles are being used i.e. frown lines when frowning. Static lines are present even when the facial muscles are at rest i.e. frown lines when sleeping. There is a natural progression from mobile/moving lines to static lines over time due to repeated insults to the skin by the muscle actions.

Botulinum Toxin treatment is the injection of a very small amount of toxin, through a very fine needle, into the facial muscles and causes the muscles to relax and become temporarily inactive. This lasts for three to six months and is always temporary

The objective of this treatment is to break the facial habit and prevent mobile lines becoming static lines. The relaxing of the muscles also releases the tension on the skin and causes the static lines to become much less pronounced. The overall effect is a calmer, smoother, and younger effect to the skin.

Using Botulinum Toxin can also treat differences in muscle activity and strength on either side of the face. Balancing muscles on the two halves of the face leads to a more even and symmetrical appearance.

The treatment procedure is brief and individualized. Your practitioner will ask you to move the various muscle groups in order to assess where the best place to put the toxin would be to achieve the optimum result. Slight discomfort might be experienced during administration. Small red marks are common at the sight of the injection but usually only last for only one hour. An aftercare sheet will be supplied after treatment and it is important to adhere to this advice initial effects depend on the type of toxin used but can start anywhere from one to four days later. The full effects can be appreciated about two weeks after treatment.

Some patients (usually men) may have stronger facial muscles and may require more toxin than normal to have the desired effect. Occasionally these patients may require a ‘top up’ procedure where more toxin may need to be injected. This will usually take place after the initial two week period. Conversely some patients (for example older patients) may require less toxin for the desired effect due to a smaller/weaker muscle structure. It is always in the benefit of the new patient to start with less and add more if needed.

In the rare circumstances that a patient after a number of treatments builds up a resistance to a particular botulinum toxin, other types of botulinum toxins are available to solve this problem.