Botulinum Toxin is a revolutionary treatment predominantly used for the softening and smoothing of expression lines, such as those on the forehead, crow’s feet and the frown lines that often occur between the eyebrows as we get older. Once regarded as a treatment for the rich and famous it is now affordable and accessible to everyone. It is a relatively quick and safe procedure that can eliminate the need to resort to expensive and risky surgery and result in a youthful, fresh and vibrant appearance.
What is Botulinum Toxin?
Botulinum toxin is a chemical produced by the botulinum bacteria. Botox® is a protein derivative of the toxin, which, when injected into a muscle causes it to become weakened or inactivated. It stops the muscle from functioning by blocking neuromuscular transmission, in other words it stops the chemical messages from the nerve to the muscle that tells it to contract.
How does Botox® Injections work?
The purified protein relaxes small facial muscles. The repeated movement of these muscles contribute to frown lines, crow’s feet, forehead and lip lines, and down-turned corners of the mouth. It is also used and licensed for other medical indications. Botox® relaxes the facial muscles, therefore preventing the muscle contractions that cause the furrowed, angry and aged look that occurs as our natural collagen stores start to decrease.
What happens during treatment?
The procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes. The aesthetic practitioner will examine certain muscles of the face to observe how they work. An extremely fine needle is used to inject Botox® into appropriate areas. This may cause some slight but brief discomfort. The area may have some redness and swelling, which normally resolves within less than an hour.
The treatment starts to take effect after the 4th day, up to the 14th day. The effects will normally last between 3-4 months initially, when you will then start to notice an ability to move the muscles more freely again.
Repeated injections are required to maintain a long term benefit, usually three to four times a year to begin with. With time the facial muscles weaken and the treatment intervals become more spaced, with many of our long term clients only needing two treatments per year.
The treatment can be performed for as long as is required. With continued treatments the effects are more lasting. Sometimes a patient may require Botox® for a one off special occasion, such as a big birthday or wedding and this fine too.
Are there any side effects?
Side effects of this treatment are rare. Patients sometimes have a feeling of stiffness or numbness in the area injected, however, this sensation is transient and disappears within a few days. Slight bruising and swelling can be a side-effect but with good technique this is greatly reduced. Occasionally a temporary drooping of the eyelid can occur. This may last a few weeks, but will always resolve. Special eye drops can be prescribed during this time to help lift the lid back into its normal position. In extremely rare cases patients have developed an allergy to the treatment, while others have shown resistance, for instance it causes little or no effect on the treated muscles.
Do injections hurt?
Generally there is very little discomfort and no anaesthesia is needed. However if a client is particulary anxious or has increased sensitivity we do offer anaesthetic cream. We also use extremely tiny needles.
Why has there been so much bad publicity regarding training and regulation of injections?
Our clients are often shocked to realise that the cosmetic injection market is totally unregulated in the UK. In other European countries it is a medically led procedure, but in the UK there are an increasing number of poorly trained practitioners offering treatments, some with no training at all and others claiming to be an aesthetic practitioner after a one day course. Many practitioners also make misleading and irrelevant claims about previous experience which has no bearing on their ability to practice cosmetic dermatology. The Government is currently looking into regulation of the market to improve consumer safety.
Is the procedure safe?
In high concentrations botulinum toxin is a potent poison. However, Botox® used in minute doses (as is the case of cosmetic medicine) has a very high margin of safety.
I have heard of something called Botulism. Is the treatment related to Botulism?
This is a very important question. The active ingredient is the same. In larger amounts it can cause Botulism. Botulism poisoning, although rare, can occur if a person eats contaminated food. The bacteria make huge amounts of toxin, which circulate throughout the body and cause symptoms of botulism. However clinical studies of over 20 years have shown Botox® to be both effective and safe. Skilled injectors target very specific injection sites for the desired cosmetic effect, with minute harmless amounts.
How do I know my Practitioner won’t give me too much toxin?
Our clinicians are extremely experienced in this field and work by strict protocols that are based on the best available research. We have been treating our patients with Botox® for well over a decade and do so with a great deal of experience. Our products are properly sourced from reputable suppliers and pharmacists.
Are there patients who should not receive treatment?
Pregnant women, nursing mothers, or people who have myasthenia gravis or muscular diseases. However during your consultation your practitioner will carry out a full medical history and deem whether you are suitable for treatment or not.
How can I ensure that I am going to a reputable provider?
Firstly it is important to research your practitioner. Botox® is a prescription only medicine (POM) and should only be administered by medically qualified personnel, with an appropriate level of experience in this specialism.
Can the outcome of the procedure depend on the practitioner?
There are a number of variables that can influence outcome, but the experience of your practitioner has a large part to play. An extensively trained clinician will have a much better understanding of facial anatomy, which means that your treatment will be more accurate and bespoke, providing more refined and individualised results. With experience comes greater understanding of facial harmony and balance, which is imperative if you are trying to achieve a natural look, rather than looking like you have had work done.
Other variables include the type of Botulinum Toxin used. Botox®’ has become a generic name for wrinkle freezing treatment, but Botox® is only made by Allergan. Other Botulinum Toxins are Bocouture (Merz) and Azzalure (Galderma). These treatments require different numbers of units to be injected and due to the unique properties can give different clinical outcomes. At Beautoxology we use Botox® as it has a strong clinical profile and has been used extensively in facial aesthetics for over 30 years. However our clinicians are fully trained to administer all Botulinum Toxins if a patient has a specific preference.
Other features that can affect the outcome of your treatment are the condition and age at which you present and the regularity of treatment and commitment to your aesthetic plan.
Why choose Beautoxology?
• All aesthetic practitioners have at least 10 years medical experience.
• Staff are qualified to prescribe medicines and are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council or General Medical Council.
• Our practitioners are extremely experienced and skilled in the field of cosmetic medicine, having undergone extensive specialist training in facial aesthetics. Our team are regulary updated under the Allergan Medical Institute Programme (the manufacturers of Botox®).
• Beautoxology’s clinic lead is a faculty member of the Allergan Medical Institute and a national trainer in facial aesthetics, which means that our on- going in house training is second to none.
• Beautoxology take a holistic approach. We offer a 5 star service where our patients are listened to and their needs are paramount
• We offer an outstanding enquiry and aftercare service
• We have a million pounds worth of medical indemnity insurance and are registered with Save face, the industry’s safety regulator
• We have excellent patient satisfaction rates- why not check out our client testimonials