Botox removes or reduces wrinkles
Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. As a medicine, botulinum toxin has two effects:
- it blocks the transmission of signals from nerves to muscles, reducing or stopping the functioning of the muscles.
- it blocks the functioning of the nerves that activate sweat glands, preventing these glands from producing sweat.
What does botulinum toxin do to wrinkles?
Many facial wrinkles are the result of voluntary or involuntary contractions of the muscles situated just below the skin. These are primarily the frown lines on the forehead and between the eyebrows and (to a lesser extent) the crow’s feet (radiating from the outer corner of your eyes). Botulinum toxin blocks the ‘contraction signal’ transmitted by the nerves in the skin and facial musculature. As a result, those muscles in the skin can no longer contract fully. This process takes about 1 to 2 weeks. The effect is visible for several months. After that, the muscles gradually regain their ability to contract, as new nerve endings are developed to replace the blocked nerve endings.
Why treat wrinkles with botulinum toxin?
People that frown a lot sometimes unintentionally have a grumpy or angry facial expression. Moreover, frown lines may become a permanent feature in your face: the wrinkles remain visible even when your facial muscles are relaxed. The botulinum toxin treatment therefore also helps prevent the development of wrinkles. People that have been treated with botulinum toxin often say that the areas treated feel relaxed. For some of them, this feeling itself is enough to come back for repeat treatments.
Are there any side effects?
Botulinum toxin is an extremely safe medication. The discomfort caused by the injection (with a very small needle) fades away quickly. Sometimes, the treating physician hits a small blood vessel, which may cause minor bruising. You will see a small bump (similar to a small mosquito bite) after the substance has been administered. That fades quickly. Another possible side effect is the temporary loss of movement in the muscles that lift your eyelids. That results in a drooping eyelid for a short while; however, this side effect is very rare. Sometimes, the treatment may be temporarily followed by headaches. A treatment with botulinum toxin is not suitable if you are pregnant.
Does it work for everyone?
Not everyone responds in the same way to the injections. On average, a clear reduction in wrinkle formation will be achieved in 90% of the patients. In only a small minority of the patients, treatment will not be as successful as expected. A recent major study carried out in Canada showed, however, that 89% of the individuals treated was satisfied with the treatment.
The botox treatment is among the most-frequently used cosmetic treatments. Although this treatment seems simple, obtaining a natural result requires a real professional. Injecting too much of the active ingredient gives a static result (a ‘poker face’); too little, on the other hand, has only an effect in the short term or none whatsoever. Your botox treatment will have to be personalised, and personalisation will be based on a proper ‘study’ of your facial expressions. This requires many years of work experience…