Every time we frown, squint or smile the skin is creased in the areas of greatest use. The more expressive you are the deeper the lines become. These expression lines include crow's feet, worry lines and frown lines. As we age, the skin loses elasticity and becomes less able to repair the damage.
Botulinum toxin type A (known to the public as BOTOX®) contains a highly purified protein which causes reduced muscle activity. It has now been re-branded as VISTABEL® and in 2006 the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) licensed this drug for cosmetic use (as well as for the treatment of muscle spasms and excessive sweating). BOTOX® and VISTABEL® both contain exactly the same purified protein.
What are anti-wrinkle injections?
The treatment involves injecting very small doses of diluted botulinum toxin via a very fine needle into the appropriate area in order to relax the muscle. This sometimes causes a brief stinging sensation.
What are the advantages of anti-wrinkle injections?
Discomfort is so mild that anaesthesia is generally not required although a local anaesthetic cream may be applied to the areas prior to treatment if so desired. Normal activity can be resumed immediately after the procedure. This treatment has been used on over 1 million patients worldwide for almost 20 years and is supported by a wealth of long-term safety data.
How do they work?
This drug temporarily blocks impulses from the tiny facial muscles so that they do not contract. The untreated muscles contract in the usual fashion thus allowing normal facial expression and the treated areas remain smooth and unwrinkled. By reducing muscle movement, the skin stops being creased and is allowed to recover. Facial lines soften and fine wrinkles fade away. The results are not immediately visible but will become apparent within 3-10 days.
How long does a treatment last?
The treatment generally takes 5-8 days to work and lasts about 4 months (this varies from patient to patient depending on the strength of expression). When used in combination with wrinkle fillers such as Hydrafill®, the effectiveness of both can be enhanced.
Are there any side effects?
No serious side effects have ever been reported, when using Vistabel® for cosmetic treatments. Minor side effects occur in a small number of patients and are always fully reversible within a few days to a few weeks. Immediately after the injection there may be mild swelling and redness which quickly subsides. Temporary bruising at the injection site may uncommonly occur which can be covered with makeup if needed. Drooping of the eye lid is a rare event that resolves within a few weeks. This side-effect is minimised by choosing an experienced injector, accurate injection technique and following post-treatment advice.
Will I have a 'frozen' face?
An unnatural facial appearance or expression should not occur if a comprehensive pre-treatment facial examination is performed by a practitioner trained in facial anatomy and aesthetics. During your consultation you will undergo comprehensive facial analysis with digital imaging. A treatment plan will be tailored to your needs and budget.
BOTOX/VISTABEL® injections can also be used to reduce perspiration 'Hyperhidrosis'.