|Dr Dhillon||Dr Doyle|
- WHAT IS BOTOX/BOTULINUM TOXIN?
- WHY DON’T YOU JUST CALL IT ‘BOTOX’?
- HOW DOES BOTULINUM TOXIN WORK?
- WHAT CAN BE TREATED WITH BOTULINUM TOXIN?
- WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BOTULINUM TOXIN?
- WHAT ARE THE RISKS/SIDE EFFECTS OF BOTULINUM TOXIN?
- IS BOTULINUM TOXIN RIGHT FOR ME?
- HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?
- WHAT IS THE RECOVERY TIME?
A botulinum toxin cosmetic treatment is a simple, non-surgical procedure that smooths the deep, persistent facial lines that develop over time. One treatment – a few tiny injections – relaxes the muscles that cause those lines to form, and keeps them relaxed for up to 3 months. Botulinum toxin A has been approved by the FDA since 1989 as a safe and effective treatment for eyelid spasms, muscle spasms that cause crossed eyes, and facial spasms; and has been shown to be an effective, non-surgical treatment (in very low doses) for facial lines and wrinkles, if administered directly (via a few small injections) into the overactive muscles that cause lines and wrinkles to form.
‘Botox’ is one of the trade names for the botulinum toxin A derivative. However, there are several other brands of botulinum toxin. We use either Botox or Bocouture at The Clinic Holland Park, which is why we do not refer to it simply as ‘Botox’.
When botulinum toxin is injected into a muscle it temporarily relaxes the muscle by blocking the transmission of nerve impulses; meaning the muscle is unable to contract. Overall, this gives the skin a softer, smoother and more youthful appearance. The effects of botulinum toxin are usually confined to the area injected; it does not travel around the body, and the effects wear off with time.
Cosmetically, at The Clinic Holland Park, we use botulinum toxin to smooth fine lines and wrinkles in the face and jaw, notably in the following areas: glabella frown lines (wrinkles between the eyebrows); orbital creases (‘crow’s feet’); and frontalis creases (surprise lines on the forehead). Botulinum toxin can be targeted at one or more area, or over the full face; and we can also slim the jawline with botulinum toxin.
The Clinic Holland Park also treats hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) with botulinum toxin. (In other areas of medicine – not available with us – botulinum toxin is used in higher doses for a range of treatments: migraines, muscular disorders, and some bladder and bowel disorders.)
Aesthetically, the benefits are that botulinum toxin is an excellent non-surgical solution to smoother skin and a flawless complexion. This is a minimally invasive procedure that can erase the wrinkles in the face and forehead. It can also be used to lift drooping eyebrows, or slim the jawline, resulting in a more youthful appearance. Medically, there are many benefits and uses (see above).
Botulinum toxin has an excellent safety record as a muscle relaxant. It has been used successfully in adults and children in a variety of medical conditions over the past 20 years, and used cosmetically to treat facial wrinkles for over 15 years. It has become one of the most popular and frequently used cosmetic ‘tweakments’.
Side effects? Most people experience only mild, localised pain at the time of the injections, or for a very short time afterwards. Immediately after treatment, there may be mild swelling at the injection site, which usually goes within 48 hours; slight bruising is also possible. Further side effects of these treatments are extremely rare.
Botulinum toxin can be used for treating wrinkles in men and women; however, men often need slightly higher doses. However, we do not use botulinum toxin in any of the following circumstances:
- Clients with infection at the proposed injection site
- Clients who have previously had an allergic reaction to botulinum toxin type A injections
- Clients with muscle problems or chronic diseases affecting the muscles (such as Myasthenia Gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome)
- Children under the age of 18 years
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Individuals with excessive weakness or wasting in the muscle to be injected, such as patients with history of stroke or Bell’s Palsy.
Botulinum toxin should be used cautiously when treating individuals at risk of bleeding, because there is an increased risk of bruising post procedure. These include: people with blood-clotting disorders such as haemophilia; or those who are taking treatments with anticoagulant medicines such as warfarin, heparin, aspirin and anti-inflammatory medicines. Please let your clinician know at initial consultation whether this applies to you. Certain herbal remedies – such as those derived from Gingko Biloba, St John’s Wort and Vitamin E – can also increase the risk of bruising, so please inform your clinician if you are taking any herbal supplements too.
The treatment takes about 15 minutes; although a full consultation, including consent, photographs, and aftercare advice, can take up to 30 minutes.
There is little or no recovery time after the injections. You are able to drive and go to work the same day. If you experience any pain (usually very minimal) it can be treated with paracetamol. The working effects of the injection may be seen after 2-3 days, with maximum benefit reached in 2 weeks. We offer all our clients a free 2-week follow-up appointment to assess the effect of your treatment.
The cosmetic effects of botulinum toxin can last up to 6 months, but typically last up to 3 months. Eventually most people require re-treatment as the wrinkles reappear. However, in some treated areas (such as frown wrinkles) the wrinkles may be less severe when they return after repeated treatments, because the unconscious muscle-contraction habit has been broken.