This medicine is used to block the nerve endings to small muscles, which stops them moving. It was first used in the mid 1980's in America, where it was being used to help patients with eye problems. The patients were delighted with the outcome of their treatment, but they also noticed that their laughter lines had disappeared! Since then, the use of botulinum toxin has become much more widespread; it is used commonly in medicine for the treatment of many muscle related problems, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and new ways of making use of its unique properties are being found on a regular basis.
Most people know about the use of botulinum toxin for the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. It is a very effective way of preventing or treating skin lines, as it works not by changing the skin, but by reducing the 'folding' of the skin by the muscles of facial expression underneath. Each time we frown, the muscles in the forehead pull the skin downwards and towards the centre of the forehead / bridge of the nose. When our skin is very supple, there is no visible change to the skin . However as time goes by, the skin gradually becomes more creased by repeated 'folding' and fine lines form. Factors such as sun exposure, cigarette smoking and individual skin type also affect the speed that these lines form and deepen, and there is a wide variation in the age at which people begin to be troubled by their appearance.
Should I have Botulinum Toxin? The decision to treat wrinkles is a very personal one; some people are very keen to consider this type of treatment as it can help a great deal with their self-esteem and confidence. For others it is a natural extension to their daily skin care regime. Some people may wish to consider other therapies such as facial acupuncture as an alternative, and indeed lots of people are quite happy to accept the changes brought with too may birthdays! If you would like to discuss this treatment with us, please feel free to do so by contacting us (there is no cost or obligation to have any treatment at your first consultation). It is important that you are fully informed before you make a decision.
How long does it last? You may begin to notice some changes 2-3 days after treatment. However, it takes approximately 1-2 weeks to see the full benefits of Botulinum toxin treatment. The changes will generally last approximately 3-4 months.
Does it hurt? This treatment is very easy to have done. It is a group of very small injections, which sting a little at the time of injection, but they cause no pain thereafter. For those who are very sensitive we are happy to provide an anaesthetic cream to minimise any discomfort.
Are there any side effects? As with any medical procedure, there are some side effects that patients should be aware of before they decide on a treatment. Some are common others less so.
Commoner effects: The injection sites will have a small flare of redness around them, which usually will have disappeared by the time that they have left the clinic. It is also possible to have some bruising at the injection sites, especially if you are taking medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Less common effects: A small number of people can experience slight headache for a day or so afterwards, but this is mild and short-lived.
Who should NOT have botulinum toxin treatment? There is no safety information available for the use of botulinum toxin in pregnancy or breatfeeding, so ladies in either of these groups should avoid treatment. People with a diagnosis of Eton Lambert Syndrome (a very specific neurological problem) should not have botulinum toxin treatment. For all patients, suitability for treatment is an important part of the consultation process prior to treatment, we will discuss your medical history, medication etc and decide together if it is sensible and safe for this treatment to be used.