Botox® is a brand name for Botulinum toxin which blocks the signalling between nerves and muscles to prevent muscles from contracting. It is made by a company called Allergan which also developed the Juvederm brand of dermal fillers. Botox injections are prescription medications which can be used in cosmetics to relax muscles that cause frown lines, forehead wrinkles and smile lines. Increasingly they are used in a number of other cosmetic treatments such as the non-surgical neck lift, gummy smile correction and reducing the appearance of a square jaw.
Botox injections have a number of medical and cosmetic uses. The most common medical uses of Botox are for treating migraines, hyperhidrosis (excess sweating), bladder spasms and in relaxing overactive muscles in people with cerebral palsy or to correct asymmetry after a stroke.
In cosmetics, Botox injections are licensed for temporarily treating forehead wrinkles, smile lines (also known as crow's feet) as well as frown lines between the eyes. There are a number of other common off-license use of Botox injections by aesthetic doctors including smoothing marionette lines, gummy smile treatment, brow lifting, Nefertiti neck lift and bunny line smoothing. Botox injections can also have both a medical and cosmetic effect when used to treat the jawline. Another increasingly popular treatment is Botox lips injections which smooth feathering and wrinkles above the lip line which are known as smoker's lines. These injections help relieve bruxism (tooth grinding) whilst slimming the jaw and reducing the appearance of a square jawline.
It is always important to remember that any botulinum toxin including Botox® is a prescription product and hence there are risks of side effects and complications. Hence, it is important to only have injections performed by a medical professional who can screen for anything in your medical history that would make Botox injections inappropriate such as:
- Previous allergy to botulinum toxin
- Muscle or nerve conditions such as ALS, myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Skin infections
There are many potential side effects of Botox. Common problems include immediate redness, swelling, bruising or skin irritation which resolve within a few hours or days. Some people may also experience headaches or flu-like symptoms after the injection. These side effects are generally temporary and resolve after a few days but it is important to have treatment by a doctor (or nurse) who can assess whether they will simply resolve or if you need any aftercare.
There are potential complications that can arise from Botox injections. The most common of these are infections which may require antibiotics or paralysis of the wrong muscle. An example of the latter is if Botox to treat frown lines is incorrectly injected into the muscle that opens the eye, it can result in drooping of the eye. This normally requires the Botox treatment to wear off before it can completely resolve.
Botox® treatments are temporary and depending on the amount, depth of injection and type of muscle last between 3-4 months on average. Other factors which affect how long Botox lasts are how quickly your body metabolises it and whether it is used for muscle relaxing or reducing sweat gland activity (the latter lasts longer). Once the effect of Botox injections wears off, the muscle returns to its previous activity. There are some claims that starting anti-wrinkle injections with Botox® at an earlier age prevents or retards the appearance of wrinkles. There is no scientific evidence for this and we always advise against "prophylactic Botox".
Since Botox® (more specifically botulinum toxin) is a prescription medication, it can only be purchased and dispensed by a doctor or nurse prescriber. It is generally considered best practice to also only have treatment in a clinical setting performed by a medically trained professional. The reason for this is that whilst Botulinum toxin injections have been successfully and safely used for cosmetic purposes for many years, there are still possible side effects and complications which are minimised in the hands of a medical professional. As such, the cost of Botox® treatments in London reflects this.
The majority of anti-wrinkle injections usually start around £200 per area and depend on where the clinic is located, the specific treatment (ie Botox® for face wrinkles compared with excess sweating or neck lifting) and if performed by a Doctor. It is also worth bearing in mind that not everyone uses Botox® and they may use other brands of botulinum toxin such as Dysport® (Azzalure®) or Bocouture® so its best to ask specifically. For an idea of the cost of cosmetic Botox injections in London by a Doctor, have a look at our treatment fees page at City Skin Clinic.
Simply put, Botox injections are best for treating dynamic wrinkles such as those around the eyes or the upper face which are visible when you make a facial expression. They are also great for other skin concerns caused by muscle activity such a sagging neck, heavy brow, square jaw, chin dimpling, gummy smile and smoker's lines. Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers such as Juvederm filler, on the other hand, are excellent for wrinkles, lines and folds caused by loss of facial volume. Both Botox and dermal fillers can also be effectively combined to help smooth wrinkles and restore volume in the face.