Facial Wrinkles

Botox Facial Wrinkle Treatment

Botox is a protein produced by a bacterium, Clostridium botulinum, which can relax muscles. It’s been used for years by opthalmologists to improve certain muscle-related eye conditions, such as when a child’s eye “looks” in the wrong direction (strabismus or “lazy eye”). Colstridium botulinum is able to relax the muscle that causes the misguided eye movement, thus correcting the problem. It’s also used for the treatment of cervical dystonia, a disorder characterized by severe muscle contractions in the neck and shoulder.

A Cosmetic Breakthrough

A decade or so ago, a Canadian husband/wife team of physicians, Alistair and Jean Carruthers, discovered that some of the people who were receiving Colstridium botulinum injections for eye problems also experienced a reduction in forehead wrinkles. Studies were undertaken, and in 2002, Botox received clearance by the Food and Drug Administartion (FDA) for the treatment of glabellar, or “frown” lines, between the eyes. It has since also received FDA approval for the treatment of hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. Botox is sometimes used for other cosmetic purposes, but these uses are considered “off label.”

What Botox Injections Treat

Over time, as the sun damages your skin, the temporary wrinkles that form on your forehead when you move your facial muscles may become permanent, making you look stern, tired or angry even when the underlying muscles are still. This happens because the sun degrades the skin so much that it loses its ability to “snap” back into place. Botox relaxes the muscles under those wrinkles, thus smoothing out the brow.

Some physicians use Botox very carefully around the lips. If applied in sparing amounts, Botox injections may improve wrinkles in this facial area, but there is a risk of immobilizing the lips, which is obviously not desirable.

Botox is being used with increasing frequency to relax the platysma muscle, the tightened bands of muscle in the front of the neck that become more visible with age. Botox injections can help minimize their appearance.

Botox can also improve depressed eyebrows, and it is an effective treatment for hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) of the underarms or hands.

Botox is often used in conjunction with lasers and fillers to enhance the overall results of those treatments.