As people age, their skin begins to lose elasticity due to things like lack of collagen production, dehydration, and thinning. Though medicine cannot yet stop the hands of time, there are several injectable treatments that have been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles both safely and effectively.
Botox (Botulinum Toxin) and Other Botulinum Products
Botulinum toxin, more commonly known by one of its brand names, Botox, is perhaps the most popular and well-known of all the injectable treatments for fine lines and wrinkles. It is a specific protein made from the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, and while it is the very same bacteria that can cause botulism, it is safe when used properly. It is a neurotoxin that targets the nervous system and interrupts muscles’ ability to contract by preventing the release of a compound known as acetylcholine. When Botox is injected into facial muscles, it causes them to relax. As a direct result of this, fine lines and wrinkles also relax and become less noticeable.
For cosmetic use, Botox is diluted in saline solution and then injected directly into facial muscle groups. It does not work instantaneously, and most patients see the effects of the injections anywhere from one to four days after their treatments. The effects vary depending on the injection site, the severity of the wrinkles, and the dosage used. Botox continues to provide muscle-relaxing effects for anywhere from three to 12 months, so additional treatments will be needed in the future to maintain the results.
Whereas Botox injections relax the muscles to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and creases in the skin, injectable dermal fillers plump the areas of the face where skin elasticity and volume have been lost. They are most commonly used to treat thinning lips, fill in static wrinkles (wrinkles that are not caused by repetitive movement), and to plump up shallow areas of the face. Like Botox injections, dermal fillers are considered safe when used correctly and in the proper doses.
During treatment, the dermatologist will utilize one or more syringes containing a dermal filler to add volume to various areas of the face. Individual treatments vary significantly. It’s important to note that while Botox is excellent for reducing the appearance of wrinkles caused by repetitive facial movements – smiling and squinting, for example – dermal fillers are best used for static wrinkles that will typically not respond to Botox injections. For this reason, many people choose to combine Botox and dermal filler injections during their treatments in order to achieve the best possible results.
The best way to determine whether Botox or an injectable treatment is right for you is to schedule a consultation with your dermatologist. This is the only way to determine the best course of action for you, the cost of the treatment, and the frequency with which you will need to repeat your treatments to maintain the results you achieve. If you have numerous wrinkles and fine lines, you may find that combining these treatments is the most effective route.