Expert answers your burning questions about cosmetic injections

10 mins read

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Crow’s feet, frown lines and wrinkles are a natural part of growing older, but they leave many feeling self-conscious and desperate for a way to return to their youthful looks.

Some learn to love their wrinkles, while others go under the knife or turn to Botox injections to boost confidence and improve visible ageing signs.

Now more popular than ever, The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reported a 70 per cent increase in requests for consultations, with Botox accounting for half of all procedures last year.

And increasingly younger women are opting for cosmetic injections in a bid to stop the formation of lines and wrinkles before they actually start. But does ‘preventative Botox’ actually work?

Botox injections: When the muscles stop moving, the wrinkles stop forming

Botox injections: When the muscles stop moving, the wrinkles stop forming

We spoke to Alice Henshaw, Nurse Practitioner and owner of Harley Street Injectables, to understand everything you need to know before undergoing the anti-ageing treatment, from avoiding that ‘frozen’ look, who you can trust with your face, and how long it lasts.

What does Botox do?

‘Botox is a brand name of the medication known as botulinum toxin type A,’ Alice tells MailOnline.

The formula is injected into the face at different points to relax the muscles and reduce wrinkles, thereby hiding the effects of ageing.

‘This injectable substance can temporarily reduce wrinkles, fine lines and refresh your appearance. Moreover, it is approved by FDA and MHRA for its safe use in cosmetic and medical.

‘Botox injections are used to temporarily prevent a muscle from moving. This toxin is produced by the microbe that causes botulism, a type of food poisoning.’

‘Botox has now become synonymous with beauty and wellbeing. It is commonly administered worldwide and has gained popularity among people of all age groups.’ 

Why is Botox so popular?

‘There’s been a pivotal shift in how women in their 20s are now using anti-wrinkle treatments preventatively,’ explains Alice.

‘And while the reasons are arguably as multi-faceted as this generation itself, many would agree on one thing: The impact of social media cannot be underestimated.

‘For women in their mid-twenties, there’s no treatment more popular way to reduce wrinkles than Botox.’

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons also cites the ‘Zoom Boom,’ with people growing self-conscious from seeing, analysing and criticising their appearance on screens during the coronavirus pandemic. 

She adds: ‘According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic injectable treatments such as Botox have increased 28 per cent since 2010 amongst 20 to 29-year-olds.’ 

How young is too young?

Alice says that ‘people often don’t realise Botox is a preventative, not a cure’.

She adds: ‘As we age, the movement of the muscles under the surface of the skin becomes less dynamic and more static – the fine line and wrinkles become more continuously present and not just during movement.

In short, Botox performs best for smoothing fine lines, particularly those caused by muscle movement when you smile or squint; however, it can’t fill out or smooth away deeper lines.

‘Most women need to start preventative anti-wrinkle injections in their mid-twenties. This prevents ‘dynamic wrinkles’ or expression wrinkles from turning into ‘static’ wrinkles.’

Botox injections are not designed to erase facial expressions, but instead it softens lines of excessive facial expression

Botox injections are not designed to erase facial expressions, but instead it softens lines of excessive facial expression

How much does it cost?

Botox doesn’t come cheap. Alice explains ‘the standard three areas in the upper face, which is frown forehead, and crows feet’ can cost up to £450 a session.

‘Botox the brand is much more expensive than other toxins such as Dysport, Xeomin or Azzalure, which is where you will see price discrepancies amongst clinics.’

She advises: ‘Always ask to see the packaging to make sure you are getting the brand you are paying for.’

Is there any downtime or aftercare?

Alice recommends the following precautions to allow the anti-wrinkle injections to work optimally in the targeted muscles:

‘No rubbing or massaging of the injected area for 6 hours after treatment, including facials. No strenuous exercise for 24 hours after treatment. Keep upright for 6 hours – no lying on your front.

‘No makeup on the same day over the area that gets treated, and use gentle skincare products the night of getting injections.’

Botox results will not appear instantly. In fact, Alice says that ‘the full results of the treatments will then be seen at two weeks’.

How long does Botox last?

The brand Botox typically lasts three to four months. But as of July this year, there will be a new anti-wrinkle brand available in the UK called Alluzience, which can last up to 10 months.

Harley Street Injectables will be one of the first clinics in the UK to offer Alluzience.

‘This is a breakthrough for the cosmetic industry,’ says Alice. ‘Unlike other botulinum toxins on the market, Alluzience does not require reconstitution before its use which allows more precision for practitioners and higher satisfaction for clients.

‘It will also last a lot longer than Botox and doesn’t have to be injected as frequently as Botox. This is an important milestone for both patients and healthcare professionals.

Alice herself points out that the new anti-wrinkle brand will not be for everyone.

‘A lot of my clients who are actors or models need to have more expression for movies or photoshoots, so they prefer more short term results which Botox achieves,’ she says.

‘However, a lot of my clients would prefer longer-lasting results, so Alluzience will be the perfect alternative for them.’

Nurse Practitioner Alice Henshaw recommends that you do your research before going under the needle

Nurse Practitioner Alice Henshaw recommends that you do your research before going under the needle

Will Botox wear off quicker if I’m very expressive? 

Botox temporarily paralyzes the muscles and smooths wrinkles for a few months before another dose is needed, but Alice warns it may wear off more quickly in the muscle that you use most frequently.

‘Frown lines may appear back more quickly as this is a much stronger muscle on ten face, and you might use it more often,’ she says. ‘Mature skin with declining collagen may experience a faster wearing off of Botox effects. This is because collagen is a crucial skin component that keeps you looking youthful and prevents lines and wrinkles.’

The answer? Alice recommends staying consistent with treatments to prolong its effects.

Alice adds: ‘Migraine Botox, for instance, has helped many patients who report that their headaches have improved with repetitive treatments.’

How can I avoid the Botox ‘frozen’ face? 

‘My motto is always fresh, not frozen!’ says Alice. ‘We can do a natural dose so that you still have movement.

‘This is known as ‘baby Botox’ or micro-tox, which we do to treat wrinkles for a more natural result which is smaller amounts of the toxin – at the same strength – which can deliver subtle results for a fresh-faced look, something that’s become increasingly popular over the last few years.’

Do Botox injections hurt?

Alice tells MailOnline that patients claim it ‘barely hurts’, and most people find that the results are well worth any discomfort.  

Are Botox injections safe for your face?

Alice stresses how important it is to do your research and understand what’s being injected into your face before going under the needle.

‘There is some misunderstanding around the safety of the Botulinum toxin when the treatment first launched,’ she says.

‘Potentially serious life-threatening symptoms would require 3000units administered into one person when typically you would only administer 30-50 units per treatment. Botox used in the correct hands is safe and has full FDA approval.

‘The treatment is only as effective or successful as the skill of the person administering it. Always get a medical professional to inject Botox, whether that is a nurse prescriber, dentist or doctor.’

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