What is Botox?
Botulinum toxin type A – better known as Botox – is a natural protein that is extracted from a special bacterium (Clostridium botulinum). The name Botulinum toxin was created when doctor Justinus Kerner first referred to it in 1820 as ‘sausage poison’, Latin botulus = sausage, toxin = poison. He discovered a link in certain deaths between paralysis of the muscles and the consumption of rotten food. Botox was originally used to treat spasms in the eyelid muscles. Now, there are more than 200 known illnesses that can be treated with Botox, including migraines, tinnitus, muscle spasms in small children and anal skin tags. Completely new, extremely effective areas of application have been found for this medication, for example treating excessive sweating (hyperhydrosis) and getting rid of dynamic facial wrinkles. If it is injected into the muscle through the skin, this muscle is temporarily completely or partially relaxed. Other nerve functions – such as feeling, sense of touch, sensitivity to temperature – are not affected.
How does Botox reduce wrinkles?
The constant activity of the expression muscles can cause wrinkles to develop in the overlaying skin, for example frown lines over the nose, forehead wrinkles or laugh lines in the corners of the eyes (also known as crow’s feet). Botulinum relaxes the facial muscles by inhibiting the movement impulse from the nerve to the muscle. As a result of the muscles relaxing, the wrinkles become smoother or disappear completely if they are not too deep. Stressed and tense facial muscles are relaxed when Botulinum is injected, resulting in a visibly refreshed and more positive appearance. Simply put, Botox® reduces feelings of tension and wrinkles. The skin needs to relax so that every facial expression does not remain on the face. Botulinum is quickly broken down after it has been injected; its effect lasts a few months, depending on the amount injected and the patient.
How long does it take for the Botox to take effect?
The muscles are paralysed directly after the treatment. After a few days, the facial expression is visibly relaxed. The final result cannot be seen for up to two weeks because the skin over the muscles slowly becomes smooth. At this point, the patient normally sees their doctor for a check-up. The before and after pictures are compared and any necessary corrections are made until the desired effect is achieved. Deep wrinkles that were visible even when the face was relaxed need repeat treatment. The current trend is preventative treatment of wrinkles using Botox from 25 years of age. Since the muscles are relaxed early on, wrinkles are not given the opportunity to develop on the skin.
How long does the Botox effect last?
The Botox effect lasts between three and six months, by which time the substance has been broken down in the skin. Here, the dose, intensity of the wrinkles and of course the patient’s lifestyle play a role here. Since heat can accelerate the breakdown of the substance, lying in the sun for long periods of time or visits to the sauna further shorten the effect. For preventative treatment, the intervals between treatments can be extended to six to nine months. Since there are no known long-term side effects, treatment can be repeated as often as necessary.
Do the results of Botox treatment look natural?
Botox treatment is one of the traditional routine procedures in wrinkle treatment today. However, there are still many misconceptions, e.g. that the face looks like a mask or facial expressions are unnatural. These misconceptions are unfounded if the treatment is carried out by a professional and the correct dose is used. Therefore, it is possible to still raise the eyebrows in surprise after the injections – just without deep wrinkles.
When can patients begin treatment with Botox?
Our specialists do not give generic answers. Some patients begin treatment at 20 years of age as a preventative measure. If a muscle in the forehead is immobilised at this early stage, it does not have the opportunity to train. Therefore, it is theoretically a good idea to start Botox treatment before the first wrinkles appear. However, it is not recommended to begin treatment under the age of 25. Another factor is also the intensity of the wrinkles. If expression lines can be seen when the face is relaxed, this is often the reason for many to do something about the unwanted wrinkles.
What wrinkles are treated with Botox?
Botox injections are particularly effective in reducing all kinds of expression lines (also called dynamic lines). As the name suggests, expression lines occur when the muscles in the same area are repeatedly tense due to certain facial expressions, e.g. when we express feelings of happiness, irritation or anger. This includes wrinkles on the forehead, around the eyes as well as the mouth, nose, chin and neck. Over time, these wrinkles become deeper until they no longer disappear when the face is relaxed. These wrinkles can be effectively reduced using Botox.
Types of expression lines:
- Frown lines or glabella lines: vertical lines between the eyebrows that make the person look angry or worried
- Worry lines or furrowed brow: horizontal lines on the forehead that are caused by furrowing the brow and make the person look surprised or worried
- Laugh lines or crow's feet: wrinkles at the side of the eyes that make the face look tired and strained
Botox does not work on static wrinkles that are caused by gravity, e.g. vertical lines from the nostrils to the corners of the mouth (nasolabial wrinkle). This is because the effect of Botox is limited to relaxing certain groups of muscles. To remove static lines, it is much more effective to inject fillers, such as hyaluronic acid. As a result, Botox has been proven effective for migraine patients. Reducing the muscles used in facial expressions ensures that the muscles are relaxed.
Do you have any questions about wrinkle treatment with Botox?
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