• Dr Claire Ashley

What can botulinum toxin treat?

I think that the majority of us probably know that botulinum toxin (commonly known as Botox©) can be used to treat lines and wrinkles on the upper face, but did you know that botulinum toxin can be used for other aesthetic concerns too?

The 3 areas that are most commonly treated, and that most of us are familiar with, are the forehead, frown lines between the brows and lines around the eyes. Botulinum toxin works by relaxing the muscles in these areas after being injected. The effects last for about 3 months. Botulinum toxin is brilliant for reducing the appearance of these lines and wrinkles, particularly when the lines are only there when you are using the muscles. If the lines are there when the muscles are not being used- ie. at rest- then the effect is likely to be less and alternative treatments to the lines might give a better result.

However, at Aethra we offer far more than the traditional 3 areas treatment with botulinum toxin.

Firstly, it is possible to achieve an eyebrow lift using botulinum toxin. Typically it would be expected that a lift of about 3-4 mm can be achieved. It is important to remember however that any lift achieved with botulinum toxin won't get rid of excess skin, and if this is the main problem then in this particular case surgery may be more appropriate.

Photo from Derma Medical showing a brow lift

Neck lifts can be achieved with superficial injections of botulinum toxin, but like the brow lift this won't help with excess skin and therefore this technique requires a very good consultation before treatment to make sure that it is the right thing for that particular patient.

One of the side effects of botulinum toxin when it is injected is that the area that has been treated stops sweating. We can therefore use it in the armpits to help reduce underarm sweating. This effect can last up to 6 months after treatment and can be life changing for people who suffer with excessive sweating under the arms.

If a patient has problems with jaw clenching then it is possible to inject the main muscle that is responsible for this to help reduce pain and teeth grinding. Repeated injections will also have the effect of slimming the face, and can be used for this reason too.

Photo from Derma Medical showing the effects of gummy smile treatment

Other areas on the face that can treated nicely with botulinum toxin include bunny lines (wrinkle lines on the nose), pebbled chin and downturned mouth corners. It is also possible to treat smoker's lines around the lips- although sometimes it is better to try a different treatment than botulinum toxin in this area. It can also be used on the face to improve the appearance of a gummy smile by relaxing the muscles which hold the top lip up.

I hope that you can see that injections with botulinum toxin are so much more versatile than the traditional areas on the face that have been treated. Were you aware that it was possible to achieve all these things just with botulinum toxin? If you have any further questions please ask away and I will be happy to answer them.

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