Botulinum toxin, one of the most important substances to hit the field of facial rejuvenation. Short of a surgical facelift, this substance is the most popular way to reduce facial wrinkles. Botulinum toxin can be used as a wrinkle treatment to smooth:
- Frown lines
- Crows feet
- Forehead furrows
- Skin bands on the neck
Smiling, frowning, squinting and even chewing - basically any facial movement can eventually lead to one of the most common signs of aging: wrinkles. They can make you appear tired or even angry when you are not. One of the quickest and safest remedies to remove wrinkles is an injection of botulinum toxin.
Botulinum toxin type A and botulinum toxin type B are both purified substances, derived from a bacteria. Injections of this substance blocks muscular nerve signals, which then weakens the muscle so that it can't contract and diminishes your unwanted facial wrinkles.
Botulinum toxin can be combined with other cosmetic skin procedures such as chemical peels, dermal fillers or microdermabrasion to further improve your results. This combination of therapies can even help to prevent the formation of new lines and wrinkles.
What is the procedure of Botox?
Injections of botulinum toxin may seem like a simple procedure to you, since it's just a few shots. But it's actually both an art and science that only an experienced healthcare professional should do.
There are 43 muscles in your face and it's vital that the person who performs botulinum toxin injections understands and pinpoints the correct spots to optimize your treatment.
A very thin needle is used to inject small amounts of botulinum toxin into specific muscles. By carefully choosing specific muscles, your healthcare provider weakens only the wrinkle-producing muscles, preserving your natural facial expressions.
Botulinum toxin treatment injections usually take less than 15 minutes. The number of injections you need will depend on multiple factors, including your facial features and the extent of your wrinkles. Crow's feet, for example, usually demand two to three injections. Furrows above your brow could take five or more.
No anesthesia is required. There is no down time or recovery time.
You may notice results within a few days, but it can take up to a week to see the full effect. This improvement typically lasts about three to four months. When the effects of botulinum toxin begin to fade, your muscle reactions and the wrinkles will return.
How does it work?
To be used effectively, it must be placed at a correct dosage into the correct muscle. There are a number of facial muscles, and it is the contraction of these that is responsible for facial wrinkling. A plastic surgeon's knowledge of the anatomy of these muscles will allow for safe placement of the toxin.
Are the injections painful?
Most people tolerate the injections very well. They are delivered through very fine gauge needles. However, local anesthetic cream may be applied to the areas, one hour prior to treatment, for patients who are more sensitive. Ask your plastic surgeon about this.
How long does it take to work?
Results start to appear in three to five days, but may take up to a week. Finer wrinkles will disappear right away and more established ones take more time. With regular usage, one sometimes loses the habit of frowning altogether! If the wrinkles are very deep, ancillary treatment with filler materials about two weeks post injection may be necessary to achieve 100% result.
Sun exposure, acne or just getting older can leave your skin tone uneven, wrinkled, spotted or scarred. If you want your skin to look smoother and younger, consider a chemical peel, which uses a chemical solution to smooth the texture of your skin by removing the damaged outer layers.
A chemical peel, also called chemexfoliation or derma peeling, is one of the least invasive ways to improve the appearance of your skin. Although chemical peels are used mostly on the face, they can also be used to improve the skin on your neck and hands.
You can improve:
- Acne or acne scars
- Age and liver spots
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Irregular skin pigmentation
- Rough skin and scaly patches
- Sun-damaged skin
How does a chemical peel work?
Chemical solutions are carefully applied to your skin to improve the texture by removing damaged outer layers. The chemicals used are phenol, trichloroacetic acid and alphahydroxy acids. Each one has a different purpose. The formula used by your doctor will be adjusted to meet your particular needs.
Light chemical peel
Subtle improvements at first, but that healthy glow will increase with more treatments
If you have uneven pigment, dryness, acne or fine wrinkling, a light chemical peel might be the right choice. This kind of peel removes just the outer layer of skin (epidermis) in a light exfoliation and results in a healthier glow. Your healthcare provider will use a combination of alphahydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid and maleic acid. All of these chemicals are the mildest choices. You can repeat these treatments weekly for up to six weeks to achieve your desired results.
What is the procedure of Chemical Peeling?
- Your face will be cleansed
- The chemical solution is brushed onto your skin and left for up to 10 minutes. You may feel some mild stinging
- The chemical peel is then washed off and neutralized
Return once a month to maintain your vibrant new look.
Medium chemical peel
Your skin will be noticeably smoother and fresher-looking
Acne scars, deeper wrinkles and uneven skin color can all be treated with a medium chemical peel. The chemicals used for this type of peel will remove skin cells from both the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and upper part of your middle layer of skin (dermis). Your healthcare provider will use trichloroacetic acid, sometimes used in combination with glycolic acid.
Here's how it works:
- Your face will be cleansed
- The chemical solution is brushed onto your skin and left for just a few minutes. You may feel some burning or stinging
- The treated area may turn a whitish grey color
- The chemicals are neutralized with cool saline compresses
- Your skin may turn red or brown in the days just after the peel. It may take up to six weeks for your skin to look normal
You may repeat a medium chemical peel every 6 to 12 months to maintain your glowing new skin.
Deep chemical peel
Results are dramatic, but recovery takes the longest
If you have deeper facial wrinkles, skin that's damaged by the sun, scars, areas that appear blotchy or even pre-cancerous growths, deep facial chemical peels might be the right choice for you. Your physician will use the strongest chemical called phenol to penetrate down to the lower dermal layer of your skin. For this type of peel, you may need a local anesthetic and a sedative to manage any discomfort.
Here's How it Works:
A deep chemical peel usually involves some sort of pretreatment for up to 8 weeks. This will prepare your skin for the peel and speed the healing process. Pretreatment may include use of Retin A - a prescription medication that's derived from vitamin A. This works to thin out the skin's surface layer, allowing the chemical solution to penetrate more evenly and deeply. If you can't tolerate Retin A as a pre-treatment, your doctor may prescribe another medication.
- You will be given a sedative to relax along with a local anasthetic to freeze your face
- Your face will be cleansed
- Phenol is brushed onto the area and can remain from 30 minutes, up to two hours. The chemical is neutralized with water
- After allowing your skin to rest for an hour, a thick coat of petroleum jelly is smoothed over your skin, covering the crust which develops. The petroleum jelly must stay in place for up to two days. Sometimes your healthcare provider will opt to cover your skin with strips of adhesive tape with openings for your eyes and mouth, rather than the layer of petroleum jelly. Your doctor will choose this approach if you have severe wrinkling.
Managing your discomfort: Deep chemical facial peels will result in peeling, redness and discomfort for several days. Your doctor will provide painkillers to keep you comfortable. Although the swelling is likely to disappear in about two weeks, your skin may be red for up to three months.
One treatment with a deep chemical peel will produce long-lasting and dramatic results which can last up to 10 years.
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