What are anti-wrinkle injections?
Anti-wrinkle injections are based on a refined and diluted version of a neurotoxin produced by the botulinum bacteria, which works to prevent nerves from triggering muscle contractions. It has been used for over twenty years medically to assist patients with muscle spasms and in more recent years, to assist with the immobilisation of muscles that produce wrinkles.
How are the injections performed?
Firstly you will be asked to identify the wrinkles you are concerned about. The muscle involved in the formation of these wrinkles is then identified and an exact amount of toxin is injected into the muscle with a very fine needle.
The injections can be performed on the same day as the consultation and whilst they may feel like a minor sting are generally described as quite painless. If pain is an issue, ice or topical anaesthetic can be used.
What are the benefits?
Wrinkles can be divided into static and dynamic. Static wrinkles are present all the time, and dynamic wrinkles are those that appear and disappear from movement of facial muscles, eg frown lines. Most people have anti-wrinkle injections to reduce the activity of muscles that cause dynamic lines in order to look less tired and grumpy. The result is a more relaxed and youthful appearance. Static lines can also soften over time due to the inactivation of muscles involved in their reinforcement.
What are the risks and side effects?
For most people, anti-wrinkle injections last 2-5 months. Most people need 3-4 treatments in the first year and then find they need less toxin and fewer treatments after that. Very fit active people tend to need more frequent dosing initially due to their muscle bulk and higher metabolic rate.
The most common side effects include redness and swelling, which can last from ten minutes to 24hrs. Bruising can occur (most commonly around the crow’s feet area) and can last from 1-10 days. It is most noticeable at day 3 and can generally be covered with light make-up. Sometimes more extensive swelling can occur particularly around the eyes and often in older women. This is because the muscles used to create crow’s feet wrinkles also help drain lymphatic fluid. This type of swelling can last 4-8 weeks on average and 12 weeks if you are unlucky.
The two rarer but more serious side effects include an eye-lid droop called a ptosis or, if one of the eye muscles is affected, blurred or double vision may occur. This can last 2-8 weeks. A sensation of heaviness across the forehead or eyelids usually resolves within 2-4 weeks. Here at Halcyon Skin personal follow-up is an integral part of the service. This is important to address any concerns and to ensure patient satisfaction.
When the forehead is injected sometimes people end up with a “doctor spock” eyebrow. This is easily fixed with a small follow-up dose of toxin at the 7-14 day mark. A follow-up appointment two weeks later is offered as part of the service to troubleshoot such problems.
To limit the chance of bruising it is advisable to avoid anti-inflammatories including Neurofen, and high dose ginko, ginseng, fish oil or garlic for at least 3, ideally 5 days prior to the procedure. 7 days for aspirin. Avoid heavy exercise immediately before or after the treatment.
For four hours after the injections, do not rub or lie on the face and do not apply heavy make-up. After the injections avoid drinking excessive volumes of alcohol, avoid excessive sun exposure and avoid getting too hot such as in a sauna or spa for 24 hours.
How many injections will I need?
The good and bad aspect of these injections is that, on average, they wear off after 2-5 months. Most people need 3-4 treatments in the first year and then, as the muscle thins, usually find they need less toxin and fewer treatments after that. Very fit active people tend to need more frequent dosing in the first 6-12 months.
Is it painful?
Most people do not report the procedure as painful. Some describe a mild momentary sting. Ice or topical anaesthetic can be used to reduce discomfort.
What should I expect after treatment?
After the injections the skin may be red or swollen but this usually settles down within 24 hours and often within an hour. The toxin takes 7-10 days to start working and by day 10-14 the full effect should be evident. For some, the effect occurs as early as day 3.
For 4 hours after the injections, do not rub or lie on the face and do not apply heavy make-up.
For 24 hours after the injections avoid drinking excessive volumes of alcohol, avoid excessive sun exposure and avoid getting too hot such as in a sauna or spa or with very vigorous exercise.
What if the results are not what I had imagined or hoped for?
The affect of these anti-wrinkle injections is not permanent. If there is any heaviness or a “frozen” appearance this usually resolves within two to four weeks. At most it would take six months for the neurotoxin to wear off completely and for the muscles to regain their activity. If possible, please bring a photo to your appointment of the look you are hoping to achieve.
How much will it cost?
Each person is different and will require different units to achieve the desired effect. The cost is $14 per unit. For example the average frown lines between the eyebrows will require 12-20 units.