Injecting neurotoxins into the face to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, is becoming an increasingly popular anti-ageing treatment. But what can you expect from this cosmetic procedure? Read on for our definitive guide.
What are neurotoxins and how do they work?
Neurotoxins are proteins that are injected under the skin to relax overactive, wrinkle-causing muscles. They work by blocking signals sent by the nerves to the muscles responsible for contractions. Once the signal is blocked, the muscle cannot respond, which will soften and relax the wrinkle associated with the movement. In other words, a neurotoxin ‘freezes’ facial muscles, erasing wrinkles completely or preventing them from deepening.
Facial lines fall into two general categories; dynamic and static. Static wrinkles are the fine-to-medium depth lines that are always visible on the face, even if it’s completely at rest. These wrinkles are caused in part by inflammation induced by free radical damage from environmental aggressors, or by repeated habits such as a person’s sleeping position. Dynamic wrinkles, on the other hand, are directly related to how facial muscles move and manipulate the face.
Neurotoxins, such as botulinum toxin, are used to address these dynamic wrinkles that result from repeated facial expressions and movements, while dermal fillers are more commonly used to diminish or eradicate static wrinkles by literally filling in the furrow or fold in the skin. However, a filler cannot eradicate wrinkles that are caused by dynamic muscle movement. For these wrinkles, a neurotoxin injection is the only method that will work.
Who are neurotoxins for?
Neurotoxin injectables have traditionally been used as an anti-ageing procedure to reduce or diminish facial wrinkles and creases. They can also serve as a treatment for neck or eye spasms, excessive sweating, and even an overactive bladder.
This potent cosmetic procedure is also becoming increasingly popular as a preventative measure against the development of fine lines and wrinkles. A few years ago, the most popular age to begin neurotoxins was the mid-to-late 40s. Today, they are a popular addition to the skincare regimens of patients in their 20s who want to prevent wrinkles from ever forming.
When and where to begin is a discussion to have with an experienced and trusted dermatologist or plastic surgeon, who can accurately assess your skin and describe the results that can be achieved with neurotoxin injections.
What will I experience when receiving a neurotoxin treatment?
During a treatment, neurotoxins are injected in minute amounts, using a fine-gauge needle to directly target muscle areas and temporarily relax overactive, wrinkle-causing muscles, to soften facial expressions and wrinkles. These injections are most frequently used to treat forehead creases, crow’s feet, and frown lines. While the procedure is minimally invasive, it is not entirely pain free. Many compare the sensation to facial waxing. For this reason, numbing creams at the site of injection may or may not be used. After the injections, small dots of blood are visible at the entry sites but usually disappear within a few hours. It is not uncommon to experience some bruising, redness and/or swelling at the injection sites as well.
It is important that the treated area is not manipulated in any way for at least four hours post-procedure as doing so can move the neurotoxin and transfer the effect to an area where it is not wanted. The amount of time it takes for the toxin to begin ‘freezing’ the muscle depends on the formulation, the amount injected, and how quickly the toxin spreads in a particular patient, though results are generally seen within 2-5 days.
When is the best time to have a treatment?
Neurotoxin injectables don’t cause any sun sensitivity, so this is a procedure that can be done at any time of the year. It is generally recommended that patients skip their exercise routine on the treatment day and avoid lying down for at least 4 hours afterwards to ensure that the toxin settles evenly. It’s also a good idea to avoid any blood-thinners such as alcohol or aspirin for a couple of days pre and post-treatment. How long the neurotoxin lasts depends on the amount used and how quickly the patient’s body metabolises the toxin. Many users report an ‘active’ period of 3-4 months.
Where should I get a neurotoxin treatment?
While neurotoxins are a non-surgical cosmetic procedure, they do need an extremely skilled hand, with extensive training, to administer them properly. To avoid unexpected side effects or complications, they should only be administered in a medical setting by a licensed skincare professional such as a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon with expertise in facial anatomy and muscle placement. Look for a skincare professional with significant training, experience, and a proven track record in performing the treatment. Before and after photos of previous patients are another great way to assess the quality of treatment.
It’s also worth noting that neurotoxin injections are not recommended for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or for individuals with certain health conditions.
Consult your skincare professional to determine which neurotoxins are right for you and to develop an advanced homecare regimen that helps maintain and protect results.
This article is intended as general information only. You should seek advice from a professional before altering your diet, changing your exercise regimen or starting any new course of conduct.