'Botox' as everyone knows it is actually called Botulinum Toxin- 'Botox' is simply a brand name. Many practitioners will also refer to it as anti-wrinkle injections' as it is not legally responsible to advertise 'Botox' as it is a prescription only medicine.
Recent years have seen a rise in the use of anti-wrinkle injections but how much do we actually know about it? We know it can improve our wrinkles but do we know how ? or what areas it can actually treat? This post will explore common 'Botox myths' and also detail what Botulinum Toxin Type A is used for within aesthetics.
Lets just get the technical part out of the way shall we, Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum. It is a prescription only medication so before having any treatment you should have ALWAYS been consulted by a prescribing medical professional, I can't stress the importance of that enough! Within Aesthetics we use Botulinum toxin TYPE A, containing human albumin (protein found in blood plasma) and sodium chloride (National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, 2018). The toxin blocks the release of acetylcholine from nerve endings, therefore encouraging muscle paralysis or contraction reduction (Barnes, M. 2003, p.56). Are you still awake? I hate reading paragraphs like the one I just wrote as it makes for such boring reading! But it is important for you to know what you are having injected in to you and the mechanism of what it actually does! Now on to the myths....
Myth One: "Botox will get rid of all my wrinkles" - Unfortunately this is not always true. Botulinum Toxin can significantly reduce fine lines but is best used as a preventative treatment. As your lines start to become present with a static expression (result of sun exposure and ageing) rather than just dynamic lines (developed from facial muscular movement) that is the time to start considering anti-wrinkle injections if you want to maintain a wrinkle-free face. If you already have etched in lines then anti-wrinkle injections will certainly improve this and having this treatment regularly will start to target the deeper lines. It is important to note however that some static lines are unresponsive to "botox" and may require further aesthetic treatment such as dermal filler or microneedling.
Myth Two: "Botox is permanent" - This is false, the effects of Botulinum toxin generally last for around three months - up to six months.
Myth Three: "If I stop getting Botox, I am going to look older" - If you decide you no longer wish to continue having botulinum injections, all this means is that you will eventually regain full muscle movement, meaning when the muscles are contracting with expression, you will start to deepen your facial lines again. This does not mean you will look significantly older it just means your wrinkles will slowly return to how they were pre-treatment. The anti-wrinkle injections would have prevented your wrinkles from worsening during the period of time you were having treatment.
Myth Four: "Botox is toxic and bad for you" - Botulinum Toxin injections are used in significantly larger doses to treat medical conditions. In aesthetics we use very small doses in comparison. As Botulinum Toxin actually derives from an organism found in the natural environment (clostridium botulinum) "where it is largely inactive and non-toxic" (Beverly Wilshere Medical Centre, 2018) it is considered to be a safe product. It has a well established safety history, no long term side effects have ever been seen in users, studies have followed people who received injections for over a period of 9+ years! (Derma Medical, 2017).
Myth Five: "Botox is painful" - Botulinum Toxin is injected via a very tiny needle, the needle is placed superficially for most injection sites and the procedure itself only takes minutes! There is very little downtime and most will describe the discomfort as manageable. It is recommended to always go to a trained medical professional for this.
Myth Six: "Botox is just for women" - Absolutely false! There is certainly a stigma within society regarding "botox" as a whole but also a stigma for men who seek any facial treatments. Slowly we are evolving and it is progressively being normalized. Men can certainly have botulinum toxin injections and receive the same amazing results. Often as there facial muscles are stronger we use slightly bigger doses. Also on a side note- 'scrotox' is very much a thing... I will just leave that there and I'm sure you can suss out what 'scrotox' entails. Yes, that thought you just had is correct, stop blushing.
Myth Seven: "Botox and filler are the same thing" - Now this one I hear all the time! Botulinum toxin AKA 'Botox' and Dermal filler are completely seperate products. Botulinum Toxin does not fill in facial lines or restore volume loss as filler would. It simply relaxes the muscles under the skin that causes wrinkles/fine lines. It can aesthetically lift or drop facial features.
Myth Eight: "Botox will freeze my face" - This one is a classic myth. Some patients wish to look frozen, it is an individual choice. However, often being left frozen or 'expressionless' is a result of possible over-treatment. Anti-wrinkle injections should just reduce muscle activity.
What can we treat with Botulinum Toxin Type A injections?
- Upper face anti-wrinkle treatment: forehead, frown lines, crows feet.
- Upper face: Brow lift/ brow drop (preferred by men)
- Top of nose- 'bunny lines'
- Lips: 'smokers/lipstick lines' around the mouth and can also treat a gummy smile
- Chin: to prevent dimpling
- Jaw: To assist with teeth grinding and/or slim appearance of lower face
- Neck: To reduce horizontal creases around the neck
- Can assist with chronic migraines
- Underarm: Can reduce sweating (prevents nerves from getting to sweat glands)
- Muscle spasms with some advanced techniques
I hope the above has assisted in educating you further on Botulinum Toxin injections and cleared up a few tales. To book a consultation for all treatments see www.NobleAesthetics.co.uk.
Thank you for reading!
References: Barnes, M. (2003) 'Botulinum Toxin- Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Use in Spasticity', Rehabil Med (41), pp.56-59. Available at: file:///C:/Users/shant/Downloads/3556%20(1).pdf Beverly Wilshere Medical Centre (2018) '10 Common Myths about Botox and the Truth Behind Them'. Derma Medical (2017) '7 Common Myths about Botox and Dermal Fillers'. Available at: https://dermamedical.co.uk/7-common-myths-botox-dermal-fillers/ National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (2018) ' Botulinum Toxin Type A'. Available at: https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/botulinum-toxin-type-a.html