What is botulinum toxin?
Botulinum toxin is a naturally occuring protein produced by bacterium clostridium botulinum.
How does botulinum toxin work?
Our facial expressions change because the muscles in the face contract or relax. This is caused by the brain sending a signal via our nerve endings that we want to for eg. frown or laugh. When botulinum toxin is injected into a specific muscle it blocke the signal from the nerve to the muscle in the face. This means that the nerve ending cannot tell the muscle to move. This is not a permanent condition, however, but it will last for around 3-4 months. After the injections begin to work the area treated will look smooth and less wrinkled.
After a while, most patients will notice that the lines and wrinkles around their treated areas will continue to become less deep and pronounced. This is a result of the botulinum toxin as the new skin has a chance to grow without being repeatedly creased. Hence, it appears to be smoother on the surface because it has not been creased by constant muscle activity.
Botulinum toxin can be used to treat all wrinkles which are the result of normal facial movement. It not suitable for permanent wrinkles caused by excessive exposure to the sun.
Botulinum toxin does not remove wrinkles indefinitely; it is usually necessary to have a treatment every 3 - 4 months to maintain and improve upon the original results. It has been proven to be quite safe to have botulinum toxin injections at the above frequency over a period of years.
What are Dermal Fillers?
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the spaces between the cells of body tissues. Hyaluronic acid has now largely replaced collagen as the favourite filler of U.K. cosmetic experts. This is because it is more likely to be compatible with our bodies than collagen, and so people are less likely to be allergic to it and do not require a test prior to use.
What skin problems can dermal fillers treat?
Hyaluronic Acid has been widely used to increase the size and volume of lips in women for a number of years, and this is still the most popular use for most dermal fillers.
However, these products are also very effective in both men and women in helping to fill out lines around the lips, the lines from the nose to the corners of the mouth (nasolabial lines), smile lines on the cheeks, as well as crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles.
Thicker fillers can also be used to add volume to sunken cheeks and weak chins, reshape the tip of the nose, as well as filling out deeper acne or other scars. In addition, fillers can be used to help reduce the appearance of veins and bones in aged hands with thin skin.
Usually, if you need to have fillers in the upper part of your face for movement lines associated with expression i.e., crow’s feet, forehead and general wrinkle lines, it is usually recommended that the fillers are used alongside injections of botulinum toxin (or Botox®).
Depending on the type of filler used, and the area treated, top up treatments are usually required to maintain the effect.