Most people are familiar with Botox as a cosmetic treatment to smooth out wrinkles. This sought-after ‘wonder jab’ boasts numerous celebrity fans and has been used in cosmetics for over 15! Botox is normally administered by a qualified doctor or nurse injector and we’ve interviewed one of the UK’s leading injectors, Dr Mansoor Ahmed, to find out a little more about the world’s most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment…
Here are some facts that may surprise you…
- Botox – where it all started
Botox (Botulinim toxin) was first developed in 1978 in San Francisco and was originally designed to treat eye spasms. Since then, the applications for Botox has grown and grown. It has been used to treat everything from migraines, facial tics and foot pain, to bladder spasms and even cerebral palsy. Did you know, the NHS currently offers Botox for the treatment of chronic migraines?
The first documented use of Botox in cosmetics was in 1989 by a plastic surgeon in California to correct forehead asymmetry. But how exactly does it work?
“Botox is a natural purified protein used to relax muscles, with the active ingredient derived from bacteria in sterile lab conditions,” says Dr Ahmed. “It relaxes facial muscles that cause dynamic lines when you smile or frown, which smooths out lines and prevents new ones forming.”
- Your face won’t freeze!
Not so long ago, the trend was to paralyse every muscle that moved, but that’s no longer the case. It’s all about the natural effect. Injecting is a fine art, the appropriate concentration of Botox is also paramount to achieving the desired amount of muscle relaxation to avoid a completely frozen look.
“You want to simply soften the motion and allow the brow to elevate just a little to soften out the crow’s feet. You really have to know where to place [the Botox],” says Dr Ahmed “You’re trying to relax the depressor muscles (those that pull the face down) so as to allow the elevator muscles to have more pull.”
It’s important to choose an experienced injector who knows what they are doing. For example, too much lift to the brow and you end up with the Jack Nicholson look!
- It’s all about the whole face contour
Most people think Botox is only used for the upper face (the lines around the eyes and forehead and between brows) and that fillers are used for the lower face. Although this is often the case, Botox can have a dramatic effect when strategically used on areas of the lower face.
“Before big occasions such as Christmas parties, I’m always busy with injecting appointments for the neck area,” reveals Dr Ahmed. “In your late thirties and forties, you start to see bands on the neck even when you’re not clenching. These bands pull the jawline and the gullet down so you lose that nice jaw definition.”
But the amount injected needs to be minuscule: “Botox in the neck really slows down ageing, but if you overdo it, it can accelerate it,” adds Dr Ahmed.
- Botox – don’t sweat it!
Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) is a real problem and an embarrassing one too! Botox has been used to help this condition. A Botox injection into the problem area (underarms, palms of the hands or soles of the feet), can prevent the release of a chemical that signals the sweat glands to activate. Often requested before an important event such as a wedding day or milestone interview when a sweat patch is just not a good look!
Results can last up to a year!
- Botox – A recipe for Happiness?
A study by the University of Wisconsin (published in the US journal Psychological Science) has found that because Botox doesn’t allow you to physically frown when unhappy, this reduces the intensity of feeling sad. Without Botox, your brain would normally signal your forehead to frown, but as the loop now gets disrupted, the intensity and your ability to comprehend the sad feeling also lessens.
Dr Ahmed concludes, “This research shows that Botox (when administered correctly and by an experienced injector) could be more than just a remedy for your wrinkles. Whether you feel better due your improved looks (look good/feel good philosophy) or because of changes in your neurology, the fact that it can boost your mood is an important feature.”