What is Botox and how can it be used to make us look younger? NEW series ‘Ask the anti-ageing doctor’, featuring Oculoplastic Surgeon and Aesthetic Doctor, Maryam Zamani explains
Botulinum toxin – a brand name of which is Botox – is one of the world’s most popular treatments used to look younger by masking the ageing factors our faces develop over the years. Far from being only for frown lines, this procedure can be used for multiple applications including streamlining the jaw and even excessive sweating and recent studies by University School of Medicine in Shanghai have shown it can also be used to improve the appearance of facial scars in reconstructive surgery.
To understand more about botox, we asked leading ocular facial plastic surgeon and anti-ageing specialist Dr Maryam Zamani.
What is Botox?
‘Botulinum toxin is used as an injection to treat fine lines and wrinkles and other issues that can arise from muscle movements. When muscles contract in the body our nerve endings require a chemical messenger called acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter, to pass through the receptors of the muscles cells to cause a contraction in the muscle. Once botulinum toxin is injected this prevents acetylcholine being released and temporarily paralyzes the underlying muscle injected.’
What can it be used for?
- Horizontal forehead lines
- Crow’s feet
- Number eleven lines (between the eyebrows)
- Bunny lines around the nose
- Vertical mouth lines (smokers lines)
- Chin dimples
- Decrease the masseter muscles (muscles in the jaw and cheek area)
- Horizontal necklines
- Lift neck jowling
- Hyperhidrosis (prevent sweating in the armpits, soles of feet, hands and other areas of the body)
- Migraines and headaches
- Menopausal sweats
How often should you use these treatments?
‘It lasts for about three to five months depending on the area and the dosage used, some people who want to have a more natural appearing movement of the face and facial muscles may use less than someone who wants to be frozen and that’s very dependent on the person that is having the treatment. But I don’t think you need to start using them before you actually have the symptom.
What are the risks?
‘Botox has been around for a long time, it has a high safety profile and low-risk profile. It is an injection and although it’s a small needle there is always the risk of a little bit of bruising.
More serious risks can be if botulinum toxin is used too close to muscles needed for lifting the eyelids, there is something called ptosis which is when the upper eyelid drops and that can happen when it is injected too close to the muscle that is involved in elevating the eyelid. Sometimes you can have a brow ptosis and this is what most people notice if they have a complication and that is in somebody who is a little bit older who is having botox on the forehead to treat the horizontal lines and a little bit too much is used too close to the upper brow. When that happens that can make that brow drop which then can give the appearance of that your eye is heavy but in fact, it’s actually your brow that is a little bit lower.’
How much does it cost?
The price of botulinum toxin treatments can vary due to the amount of injections needed and on the person that is carrying out the treatment, but you can expect to pay anything from £170-300 per treatment.
‘If this is your first time you are having botulinum toxin injections I would say research is super important, make sure that you have the best expert doing your treatment and for the injector to understand what it is you hope to achieve. It’s really important to know what you can treat, what expectations to have and how long they will last.’
Tomorrow on ‘As the anti-ageing doc’ – Do I need cheek fillers?
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As a leading Oculoplastic Surgeon and Aesthetic Doctor, Dr Maryam Zamani has garnered a global reputation – both in the US and UK with twelve years of practice and alongside her two fellowships at London’s Imperial College NHS Trust and Chelsea Westminster NHS Trust. Dr Zamani works from her base at the Cadogan Clinic, on Sloane Street and is also the creator and founder of MZ Skin a luxurious yet performance driven skincare range of eight hero products.