Wrinkles are visible creases or folds in the skin. You may have heard that Botox can get rid of lines and wrinkles.
How do you get wrinkles?
The lines you see are created simply by facial muscle movement. If you are less expressive when you talk, eat, smile, or laugh, you will form fewer lines. Lines become deeper as you get older forming wrinkles.
The muscle attachments on our face are unique as they are attached to the skin unlike in other body parts. When you move your facial muscles, i.e when the muscles contract, the skin moves with it. For example, frowning causes the lines between the eyebrows. Similarly, smiling causes the lines around the eyes. When you stop the movement, the muscles relax causing relaxation of the overlying skin. Your face reverts back to its resting state. These are called ‘dynamic’ wrinkles because they are brought on by intentional movement.
Can Botox treat these wrinkles?
The good news is yes! Dynamic wrinkles respond very well to Botox. In this treatment, botulinum toxin, commonly known by the brand name, Botox, is injected into the muscle. Botox contains a protein that blocks the connections between nerve endings and the muscle. The muscle stays relaxed and can no longer contract. Hence, the lines are no longer visible. This is only a temporary treatment. The body reforms these connections over a period of 10-12 weeks and the muscle action returns slowly.
Botulinum toxin is successfully used as a preventative treatment to keep these wrinkles at bay in people under the age of 30. If you desire Botox treatment without looking frozen then this can be achieved using tailored does for your muscle activity.
What about fixed or static lines and wrinkles
Although the lines and wrinkles only appear on movement, over time, and with repeated contractions, they become deeper and are fixed. These are referred to as ‘static’ or ‘fixed’ wrinkles. Ageing is a complex process involving all layers of the face. Superficially, both the skin and muscles go through ageing changes. On a deeper level, the supporting fat pads and facial bones shrink. All these changes contribute to the development of deep lines and folds.
In an older person, the ‘ageing’ muscles remain in constant tension causing wrinkles to remain fixed on the skin. Muscles normally work in a pulley system. On the face, those that normally pull in upward direction become weaker while those that pull in downward direction become stronger. The end result is an overall upset or unfriendly appearance on your face.
Excessive use of certain muscles can exaggerate wrinkles. For example, if you smoke or play an instrument, you are likely to get more lines on and around your lips. In this instance, it is the pursing of your lips that exaggerate your wrinkles. They are called ‘Barcode’ or ‘Smokers’ lines. However, some people develop these without these contributing factors.
How does your skin age?
Let’s look at how your skin ages. In time, due to factors beyond your control, just like all other organs, your skin ages. Your skin can become dry and thin, lose its bounce, and develop wrinkles. It can appear dull, have an uneven tone, and develop pigmentation. Your skin will age wherever you are and this is due to intrinsic factors. These include genetics, ethnic background, hormonal changes, and disease processes.
These changes do not happen in isolation. As your skin is in direct contact with the environment, it is affected by environmental factors and your lifestyle. Sun exposure, air pollution, smoking, stress, and poor nutrition all influence your skin. They are called extrinsic factors and their effects are related to the severity of the insult.
Skin ageing caused by extrinsic factors produces more rapid changes. They give rise to coarser skin with a rougher, uneven texture. Moreover, they promote premature wrinkles and stimulate uneven pigmentation. Fortunately, these factors can be influenced. Just ask any decent skin specialist for the advice!
Can Botox work on static wrinkles?
Botox, as already discussed, is very specific in its action. It only works on muscles. If the lines are caused by muscle movement alone, it works very well to relax them. However, static lines have multiple causes. Botox will reduce static lines by muscle relaxation but it does not eradicate them altogether. Repeated treatment will certainly help soften your lines. Therefore, it is not the only treatment of choice for static lines. Most people, after counselling, still choose to have Botox to help reduce their static wrinkles.
How else can I improve static wrinkles?
We can address permanent wrinkles by different approaches. These treatments aim to plump up your skin and reduce the depth of your wrinkles. They are suitable for anyone over the age of 21. The effect of the result is dependent on the treatment choice and suitability.
Although they take longer to work, they slowly improve the health of your skin. They speed up cellular turnover, protect your skin and help you achieve a natural glow.
Medical Skin Peels
This is a chemical exfoliation treatment of varying strengths. It stimulates cell turnover to produce new skin cells. By improving the efficiency of your skin we can minimise fine lines and wrinkles, fade dark spots, discoloration and keep pores clear.
Here, we trick your skin into repair mode with dermal needling. It stimulates a cascade of reactions within your skin. As a result, old collagen is removed and new collagen is made by your body promoting healthy, plump skin.
Skinboosters and Mesotherapy
This involves injecting a mixture of substances directly injected into your skin to revitalise and plump up the skin. The ingredients include hyaluronic acid, anti-oxidants and vitamins.
Facial fillers harmoniously fill lines and wrinkles. Dermal fillers are composed of hyaluronic acid gel of differing consistency. When injected into your skin, they fill deep lines and create volume. Hyaluronic acid attracts and holds onto water so they plump up your skin. Learn more about Dermal Filler Treatment
Be wary that they can cause complications. They can potentially cut off blood supply to the skin if they are accidentally injected into or very close to blood vessels. Some areas of the face are definite danger zones. As the blood supply on the face is very complex there are no safe areas. However, good anatomical knowledge and specialist training in techniques enable medical practitioners to deliver safer treatments. In the event of a blockage, I am equipped with the knowledge and skills to dissolve the filler. This aims to reverse any damage caused by the dermal filler.
Other treatments for permanent wrinkles include thread lifts and surgery. Another way to tighten your skin is by using energy devices. These include radio-frequency devices and lasers.
In summary, although Botox is a powerful treatment for your lines and wrinkles, it does have its limitation if your wrinkles are fixed. The earlier you start to take care of your face the better you will look and feel. Prevention is better than cure and by starting early you can maintain the results with less invasive treatments!