For years, plastic surgeons have successfully used botulinum toxin to combat signs of ageing and treating wrinkles and facial creases. If you’ve ever looked closely at your face, you may have noticed crow’s feet or those pesky wrinkles starting to form.
What is Botulinum Toxin?
Botulinum toxin is produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. The word ‘toxin’ makes it sound scary, but it’s perfectly safe when administered by a qualified professional and prescriber. In higher amounts, botulinum toxin can be dangerous. However, only weaker, small amounts are used in botulinum toxin treatments.
Injectables such as botulinum toxin are a non-surgical way to improve your appearance. In the world of facial wrinkles and fine lines, Botulinum toxin is considered the gold standard. Treatments tend to be quick and use a very small needle that feels a bit like a pinprick. As long as your injector is fully qualified and well-trained, your face should still look natural and not frozen in any way.
Botulinum Toxin: Quick Overview
How Does Botulinum Toxin Work?
During a botulinum toxin treatment, a professional injects a small and controlled dose in specific areas of your choice. Botulinum toxin blocks certain nerve signals that make muscles contract. It temporarily paralyses and relaxes muscles, softening unwanted wrinkles and fine lines. So, after the injection, the muscle can’t contract. This relaxing effect can last up to six months, which means you will need to book top-up appointments to maintain your look. The result of Botulinum toxin remains local and doesn’t roam through your body.
After your initial consultation for your treatment, getting botulinum toxin takes only minutes. With the first injection, it takes time to act. You may be panicking that it does not have the desired effect but give it some time to kick into action. You should start to see results around seven or eight days after your first injection. At about 14 days, the results should be fully visible.
Although you often think of Botulinum toxin for turning back the clock, many young patients use Botulinum toxin as a way to delay lines and wrinkles forming. This is useful if you have concerns about signs of ageing developing later in life. Reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles is one of the most common treatments for Botulinum toxin. Other areas for Botulinum toxin treatments include:
- Frown lines
- Crow’s feet
- Forehead creases
- Downturned smile
Botulinum Toxin Injection Patterns
Anti-wrinkle injections or botulinum toxin is often the top choice for combatting facial wrinkles and fine lines. Depending on your area of concern, there are various botulinum toxin injection patterns your practitioner may use to address your concerns. Here’s a breakdown of the different options you have for non-surgical facial and neck rejuvenation with anti-wrinkle injections.
Anti-Wrinkle Injections: Upper Face
When looking at injection patterns for the upper face, you can focus on the following:
- Forehead lines
- Frown lines between the eyebrows
- Bunny lines at the top of the nose
- Eyebrows/hooded eyes
- Around the eyes
- Crow’s feet
- Tear trough
The upper face starts from around the middle of the nose upwards. Frown lines, forehead lines, and crow’s feet are often the most common areas of concern on the upper face. Forehead lines become more noticeable as you age, and excessive lines can make you look older.
It’s common to have about 5 injection points to target frown lines and forehead lines. Although the number of injections may change, it usually follows a certain pattern. For example, if a patient has a larger forehead, you may need another row of injection points to target the area.
For crow’s feet, you would typically have 3 injection points around the edges of the eyes. These are the points that can help the muscle to relax and soften the area.
Depending on how old you are, your practitioner may recommend other cosmetic treatments, such as microneedling and dermal fillers, to target several areas at once.
Botulinum toxin injection patterns are used so that a certain amount is delivered to specific muscles. For instance, you don’t want to relax the entire forehead as you still want some natural movement. If you put all the doses in one area, it would increase the risk of asymmetry and create a very uneven result. Spreading out a lower dose in a proven pattern delivers a more blended approach.
As you move to the lower part of the face, various injection patterns can target the following:
- Lipstick lines
- Corners of the mouth
- Drooping smile
As you get older, lines around the edge of the mouth can start to deepen and turn downward. This can make you look sad or disappointed. Depending on your precise concern, the amount of botulinum toxin used can change.
In general, the injection point is just above the angle of the jaw in line with the muscle. You would have an injection on each side of the mouth. It’s important that great care is taken to not inject too much towards the chin or too close to the lip as it could weaken other muscles in the region.
Pan facial rejuvenation looks at the face as a whole rather than in sections. The aim is to create a more harmonious and balanced outcome. It’s a way to address facial ageing using a combination of approaches. By injecting botulinum toxin into multiple sites, you can target more ageing concerns.
The masseter is one of the muscles that help you chew and connects your cheekbone to your lower jaw. Botulinum toxin injections can reduce the masseter muscle to slim the face and also help with teeth grinding. In this case, botulinum toxin is often used to:
- Relieve headaches
- Manage teeth grinding
- Reduce jaw tension and masseter muscle pain
- Contour a square jaw
- Improve facial balance
Usually, the botulinum toxin is injected into the masseter muscle on each side of the face. The number of injections can differ from one patient to another. The severity of clenching will play a role in deciding how many injections is suitable to address the issue.
The neck is another common area that shows ageing, often faster than other parts of the body. Botulinum toxin is injected into the vertical bands of the neck. This relaxes the muscles and creates a smoother, more youthful-looking neck. Injecting botulinum toxin into the neck is also known as a Nefertiti Lift or non-surgical neck lift. It can last for about 3-6 months.
What Are the Benefits of Anti-Wrinkle Injections?
Anti-wrinkle injections are primarily used to combat signs of ageing. However, they have several benefits, including:
- Reduce or eliminate scowling and wrinkling
- Appear youthful and more rejuvenated
- It can help with muscle spasms in the neck and eyelid twitching
- Treat drooping brow
What Can Botulinum Toxin Be Used For?
Smooth Out Lines and Wrinkles
Unfortunately, the ageing process is something that affects all of us. As we get older, lines and wrinkles start to develop. One of the most popular uses of botulinum toxin is to smooth out lines and wrinkles. Horizontal lines and wrinkles on the neck are a common complaint of ageing. Botulinum toxin can help smooth out wrinkles on the neck and the face.
Improve Crow’s Feet and Laugh Lines
Crow’s feet are those little lines that spread out from the corners of your eyes. They develop over time from a combination of facial movement and a loss of collagen and elasticity in the skin. Laugh lines or smile lines form around the sides of your mouth and are more noticeable when you smile. You can use botulinum toxin around the eyes and mouth to improve crow’s feet and laugh lines.
Treat Forehead Creases and Frown Lines
When you frown, you may notice those little vertical lines that appear between your eyebrows. They pop up when you’re concentrating or frowning and then disappear. Excessive frowning and facial movements can result in permanent frown lines. Another common issue on the face is forehead wrinkles. Whether it’s frown lines or creases, botulinum toxin could be the forehead wrinkle solution for you.
Soften Jawline and Chin
It’s not just the face that can benefit from botulinum toxin but the jawline and chin. As we age, the muscles in the chin can become overactive. This can create a dimpled appearance. Botulinum toxin can help to relax the muscles in the chin and smooth out a dimpled look. You can also smooth out the appearance of wrinkles on the jaw and soften the jawline.
Anti-Wrinkle Injections at the Harley Clinic
Are the Results Permanent?
Botulinum toxin is not permanent. The results usually last between 3-4 months. However, there will be some patients whose results last up to 6 months and those who notice the results fading in 2 months.
How Can You Avoid a ‘Frozen Face’ Look?
At the Harley Clinic in London, we use anti-wrinkle injections to reduce movement but not stop it altogether. The ‘frozen face’ look is often the result of using too much botulinum toxin in a treatment session. Our practitioners are experienced and have proven results delivering a natural and more youthful look.
How Regularly Should You Have Anti-Wrinkle Injections?
It’s normal to have an appointment 3-4 months apart to maximise your results when starting anti-wrinkle injections. After this, you can eventually have appointments 6-12 months apart.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From Botulinum Toxin?
The treatment itself lasts about 10 minutes. Following your treatment, you should avoid exercise and hot baths for 24 hours so that you don’t sweat excessively. Also, avoid touching the area for the day after.
Can You Go Straight Back to Work After Anti-Wrinkle Injections?
Yes, you can go straight back to work. There is no downtime following your appointment, but it can take up to 5 days before you can see the final result start to appear.
Is Botulinum Toxin Painful?
Everyone’s pain threshold is slightly different. Using a topical anaesthetic, your botulinum toxin appointment should be virtually painless. Even without numbing cream, you should really only feel pinching. Injections are quick, and pain is minimal.
Are Anti-Wrinkle Injections Right For You?
Many of our patients opt for anti-wrinkle injections to improve the appearance of wrinkles, crow’s feet, and forehead lines. Ultimately, the decision to get anti-wrinkle injections is a personal one.
What is the Difference Between Anti-Wrinkle Injections and Dermal Fillers?
Anti-wrinkle injections relax the muscle under the skin. Whereas dermal facial fillers are injected into the skin to plump up the area. Anti-wrinkle injections are used to prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Fillers are used to fill out sunken areas of the face and plump up the lips and cheeks as well as rejuvenate the skin.
Who Should Avoid Botulinum Toxin Injections?
In some instances, you should avoid botulinum toxin injections such as:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Significant drooping of facial soft tissue
- Patients with diseases involving muscle weakness or nerve damage
- Currently taking certain medications
Is There an Age Limit for Anti-Wrinkle Injections?
There is no age limit for having anti-wrinkle injections. However, it can’t be used for cosmetic purposes on anyone under the age of 18.
What Are the Potential Side Effects?
In general, the risks associated with botulinum toxin are relatively minor. But like any medical or cosmetic treatment, things can go wrong. For most people, any side effects tend to be minor and restricted to the injection site. Side effects can include symptoms such as pain, swelling, and bruising.
In serious but rare cases, breathing and swallowing problems can occur. This is why it’s essential to visit a qualified and accredited professional who can administer the botulinum toxin in the safest way possible. As always, speak to a plastic surgeon before committing to any cosmetic treatment.
At Harley Clinic, we take you through the entire process from start to finish. We discuss your treatment options and what your realistic results will look like. Anti-wrinkle injections should be performed in a medical setting by a doctor for the best results. As always, if you’re considering any cosmetic treatment, do your research and make sure it’s the right solution for you.
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