Anti-wrinkle injections work by relaxing the facial muscles that cause wrinkles, softening lines and refreshing our appearance.
Fine lines and wrinkles appear in our forehead and around our eyes when we smile or frown. Over time, these expression lines become more pronounced and eventually become a permanent fixture when the face is at rest. Anti-wrinkle injections work by relaxing the facial muscles that cause wrinkles, softening lines and refreshing our appearance. The effect is temporary, lasting up to 4 months, after which time the muscle function and accompanying lines return.
Botox® is one of the trademarked brand names for Botulinum toxin, an injectable muscle relaxant. The toxin is produced by the bacteria that causes botulism, which is a potentially fatal type of food poisoning.
Botulinum toxin works by blocking the signal between the nerve and the muscle, so the muscle can’t contract. As a result, the muscle beneath the lines where the toxin has been injected relax, temporarily paralyses your wrinkles away. The muscles responsible for other aspects of facial expression stay active. The onset of action can be as soon as 1-2 days after your treatment with maximal effects seen at 14 days. The effects wear off gradually, with return of normal muscle function by 3 or 4 months.
Botulinum toxin is administered using a tiny needle and any pain experienced is minimal and brief. Dr Collins uses a combination of numbing cream and cold packs to minimise the discomfort for you. You can also take paracetamol before and after your appointment.
Anti-wrinkle injections can be performed at any age in adults. In general, the signs of aging start to appear in our twenties. Initially, these changes are subtle, but by the third decade significant structural and functional changes have occurred in the skin. We are all unique however, and some will display signs of ageing sooner than others.
When it comes to wrinkles, there is a significant difference between dynamic and static lines. Dynamic lines are those that appear with facial movements caused by contraction of the underlying muscles. These include lines in your forehead when you raise your eyebrows, crow’s feet around your eyes when smile and frown lines. Static lines are those that are present at rest. These lines can make us look aged, tired and, in the case of deep glabellar lines, permanently perplexed. The concept of preventative Botox® is to delay the appearance of static lines so that you can retain a more youthful complexion for longer.
Botulinum toxin is more preventative than restorative, in that it temporarily stops you from contracting the muscles that deepen fine lines and wrinkles. And whilst it will soften static lines, it is not an iron and won’t make them disappear completely. Regular treatments with Botulinum toxin, however, may prolong the longevity of its effects.
It is best to refrain from wearing make-up and intensive exercise until the next day. There is no need for you to massage the treated areas. It is also important not to lie down or bend your head forward for two hours after your treatment.
The procedure is generally very well tolerated. You may experience injection site pain, stinging, bruising, swelling and/or redness. Other side effects include a heavy sensation in the forehead and/or a headache, tingling sensations, skin tightness, nausea and flu-like symptoms. Rarer complications include temporary drooping of the eyebrows or eyelids.
Aging of the skin is a complex, multi-step process. It is partially intrinsic, but it can be accelerated by extrinsic factors such as sun exposure, smoking, stress, an unhealthy diet and excessive alcohol. Regardless of your age, it is important to consider these modifiable factors and limit your exposure to them. Sun protection is absolutely essential, especially here in NZ where the sun is far harsher than in the Northern Hemisphere. There is scientific evidence to support that. A 2017 study from Monash University concluded that women in Australia can age 20 years faster than women in Canada, the UK and the US. As well as delaying the visible signs of aging, sun protection reduces your skin cancer risk, which again is vitally important here since we have one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world. If you can, invest in good quality skin care products from a cosmeceutical range. Dr Collins stocks Aspect Dr products, which you can purchase at the clinic and also online.