Botulinum Toxin Injections (Botox®)
Wrinkles and frown lines can be caused by the effects of the ageing process on the skin, sun damage, the effects of gravity, as well as by muscle contraction. Frown lines between the eyebrows, forehead lines and crow’s feet (at the side of the eyes) and some lines around the mouth are due to muscle contraction and can be improved by injections of botulinum toxin (Botox®) into the muscle to weaken it.
Botox® is one of the trade names for commercially produced botulinum toxin type A, which comes from bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. Botox® works by blocking a chemical called acetylcholine, that is released from nerve endings and is required to cause muscle contraction. The resultant muscle paralysis, however, is temporary, as the growth of new nerve endings will re-innervate the muscles.
During the procedure, Botox® is injected just underneath the skin overlying the muscles that cause the wrinkles, using a very small needle. Depending on the area to be treated, several injections are usually needed at specific sites. Localised discomfort and bruises can occur, but no sedation or local anaesthesia is required.
It is important to note that whilst Botox® can be very effective in reducing wrinkles due to muscle contractions, it has no effect in reducing the fine lines on the face caused by sun damage, or the age related lines due to the sagging of facial skin.