Botulinum toxin is a prescription only medicine used to reduce the contraction of muscles. It is administered with a tiny needle directly into the muscle. It has been used for over 25 years to reduce the power of the facial muscles that pull down the face or contract the features; the frown, forehead, down-in-the-mouth muscles, the eyes and the neck.

There are several preparations of Botulinum toxin, all of which achieve the same dual effect: the dynamic lifting result of the face and improvement of the proportions (lifting of the upper face, opening the eyes, softening mouth corners and generally giving a fresher, less tired look) and the effects on individual lines (reduction of lines of expression such as crows feet, the frown muscle and horizontal forehead lines).

Botulinum toxin can be used to treat small specific areas, such as the frown or the eyes, or many areas such as the forehead, frown, eyes, mouth corners. It can also be used to soften the vertical bands of muscle in the neck.

The dynamic effect of reducing the downwards pull has given rise to various procedures such as the “Nefertiti neck lift” which can tighten the jawline and the “non-surgical brow lift” of the upper face.

Botulinum toxin is increasingly used to soften the jaw muscles used in jaw clenching and teeth grinding. It can soften a heavy or square jaw caused by overactivity of the masseter muscle.

Overactivity of the facial muscles, especially the frown and forehead, is often a cause of migraine and many people are please to witness an end to their migraines, teeth clenching, grinding and headaches.

WHAT IS IT LIKE? HOW DOES IT FEEL?

Once the treatment area has been decided upon the patient is laid down and the muscles marked with a make-up pen. Tiny needles are used to administer the toxin by injection. Not all of the injections are perceptible owing to the miniscule dimensions of the needle. The area can be a bit red and puffy for a few hours; occasionally a bruise can appear the next day. The whole treatment takes about five minutes.

Afterwards the treated area can feel a bit tingly, sometimes heavy or tight for half an hour or so. Rarely the very first treatment can result in a headache, resulting from the release of lactic acid from the tight muscle.

The results take on average three days to show and ten days to be perfected.

SHORT AND LONG TERM BENEFITS

WHICH AREAS SHOULD I TREAT?

Put simply, once injected, botulinum toxin cannot be removed so you need to be certain about the areas that you would like treated. The decision will always be shared with Dr Dancey so there is no need to feel that it’s all up to you.

The frown area is the most common reason for the treatment. Freeing up the frown muscle can leave this part of the face more open, less lined and less intense, sending out a signal of calm.

Treatment around the eyes can open up tired eyes and reduce crow’s feet. Small lines under the eyes can also be softened. Because movement of fluid in the face and especially under the eyes is dependent upon the movement of the muscles, those with puffy eyes should avoid botulinum treatment too close to the eye.

The horizontal lines on the forehead can also respond well to botulinum toxin. Lines are caused by the constant upwards movement so by reducing movement the lines will be softened. Depending on your wishes the movement can be softened or eliminated completely.