The Ageing Face
Both hereditary and environmental factors such as ultraviolet radiation and smoking, are responsible for the ageing process. The skin changes associated with the ageing process are skin sagging, fine wrinkling, and deepening facial expression lines.
These lines are associated with the ageing process and may develop as a result of weakened dermal collagen from sun exposure and gravity, or due to facial muscle action on the skin.
The skin muscle attachments originating from the facial expression muscles pull directly on the skin resulting in these expression lines. This accentuates the wrinkling process of the upper face. This pattern of facial expression is predetermined during childhood and carried on subconsciously throughout adulthood.
How does it work?
Muscle relaxing injections block impulses from the nerve to the tiny facial muscles that are related to expression lines and relaxes the muscles so they do not contract. After treatment, the overlying skin remains smooth and unwrinkled while the untreated facial muscles contract in a normal fashion, allowing normal facial expression to be unaffected.
Which areas can be treated?
The product used is a specially prepared solution of a natural muscle paralyzing agent derived from the Botulinum bacterium. When injected into a muscle, this leads to a temporary relaxation of the target muscle. This produces a reduction in wrinkling of the skin surface caused by the actions of the facial muscles. The ideal areas to treat are those wrinkles caused by muscles that have no significant function.
Examples include: the deep crease between the eyebrows (glabella lines), crow’s-feet wrinkles around the eyes and horizontal forehead lines.
Injection into frown lines has shown to be very successful. Good results may be obtained after a single injection and can last for several months. The effect of the injection may take between 5 and 7 days to work.
Some patients with very powerful muscles may not see a complete paralysis of the targeted area, but subsequent injections will further weaken them. In rare cases, some patients may need a repeat injection within four weeks if there has been little response.
What does it feel like?
The treatment involves a small number of injections into the muscle groups that cause the wrinkling. Most patients find the injections only cause mild, temporary discomfort. Immediately after the injections there may be some mild swelling that usually subsides within 24-48 hours. Application of ice for a few hours after treatment will help reduce any swelling.
Can Muscle Relaxants be used with other filler injections?
The two treatments are complementary and it has been reported that fillers such as Restylane, Laress or Perlane lasts longer when associated with this treatment. This is because the continuous movement of the muscles is eliminated, slowing down the body’s breakdown of the injected product.
How many treatments are required?
Repeat treatments are usually needed every 3-4 months over a twelve month period. Clinical trials report that some patients, who have had treatment over 12 months, are only requiring further treatments twice per year. Please note it takes 5 -7 days for the treatment to take effect. Vigorous use of the muscles for 2 hours after treatment helps speed up the onset of effect.
Possible side effects
Side effects of this treatment are infrequent. Mild bruising may occur around the injection site and if you are prone to cold sores at the injection site, treatment may bring out another eruption. Occasionally, a temporary drooping of the eyebrow or eyelid may occur, but this would only last a few weeks. Rarely, a transient numbness may develop in the treated area, but this is only a temporary effect. Very rarely people can develop antibodies or allergies to the product. This is more likely in the case of multiple treatments as the body’s immune system is provoked into an intolerance of the toxin. An extremely rare side effect may be a more generalised weakness and fatigue. In one study less than 3% of patients experienced any of these complications.
Finally, any injection carries a small risk of infection. If you are pregnant or breast feeding, the treatment is not recommended.
If you would like to learn more about your cosmetic options, or find out if muscle relaxing injections might work well for you, please contact our clinic and schedule your consultation with our doctor.