The Unwrinkled Truth...
Whether you are watching TV, reading a magazine, online or simply walking down the high street, the term ‘anti-ageing’ is everywhere! Never before have there been so many products or treatments to help make us look that little bit younger. The facial aesthetics industry is now estimated to be worth over $3 million worldwide and is growing by over 10% each year. Botox® has become a household name for anyone interested in anti-ageing is now the most popular injectable non-surgical cosmetic treatment worldwide, accounting for over 50% of the market. The aesthetics industry is booming, so why is Botox® so popular and how does it work?
The ageing process
The rate that we age is affected by numerous causes, including intrinsic factors (e.g. genetics, ethnicity and hormone changes) and extrinsic factors (e.g. sun exposure, smoking, pollution and repetitive muscle movements). Ageing causes skin thinning, a loss of elasticity and a reduction in the collagen content of the skin, making our skin more friable and less supple. The development of fine lines and wrinkles are an inevitable part of ageing and like all aspects of anti-ageing, prevention is better than a cure!
How does Botox® work?
Dynamic lines on the forehead, frown area and around the eyes occur naturally with our facial expressions. As we age, these lines eventually become static, producing a permanent wrinkle which is visible even at rest. It is possible to diminish these lines by relaxing the action of the underlying muscle using the naturally occurring toxin, botulinum toxin. Botox® was the original brand to manufacture this toxin and is the most tested brand on the market. Where Botox® is injected it temporarily reduces the facial muscle movements by blocking the signal from the nerve ending to the muscle. This works on the dynamic wrinkles to give a smoother, rejuvenated appearance. When used regularly Botox® prevents the formation of static lines and also softens those that are already present.
How long do anti-wrinkle injections last?
Botox® treatment is mainly used in the upper third of the face in the glabella (frown area), forehead and crow’s feet regions. It can also be used to correct a gummy smile and for bunny line’s just beside the bridge of the nose. An improvement is usually seen within 7 days. The effects lasts 4-6 months and will vary from patient to patient. With time, there is gradual regeneration at the nerve endings, allowing muscle movements to become more active again.
Is Botox® safe?
As with any injection there can be some minor side effects including redness, bruising, swelling and itching. Patients can also have a mild headache or a feeling of heaviness in the upper forehead, however these side effects usually resolve within a few days. Uncommonly, if the Botox® reaches the upper eyelid or eyebrow there can be transient drooping. This is the most significant risk and happens in about 1 in 1000 treatments.
It sounds great, but will my face look frozen and will it hurt?
It’s completely normal to be anxious about having Botox® for the first time. Visions of people with overly frozen faces reinforce this fear and add to the misconception that this is the only outcome. The effects are dose dependant, therefore the more Botox® injected, the more frozen the face will look. Preventative Botox® or “baby Botox®” uses smaller doses. At Simply Skin Clinic we use careful dosing to retain some muscle movement and enable our patients to achieve a more natural look. We use the smallest needles which means that most say it is no more painful than having their eyebrows plucked! There will be small bumps initially but these will settle over 30 minutes.
What else can I do to prevent ageing?
Botox® is of course not the only anti-ageing option. It works on the muscle beneath the skin but not the skin itself, so it is important to keep up with a good skin care regime as well. Combining preventative anti-wrinkle injections with effective skin treatments, such as dermaplaning, microneedling and skin peels gives you optimal results. A range of these treatments are available here at Simply Skin Clinic, Winchester.