BOTULINUM TOXIN A
What is Botulinum Toxin A?
Botulinum Toxin injections are a quick, safe, and effective treatment to reduce wrinkles, prevent future wrinkles, and lift areas of the face that may have dropped over time. It can be used in conjunction with dermal fillers to improve the appearance of the face and neck.
About Botulinum Toxin A
Botulinum toxin A is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When extracts from the toxin are injected into certain types of muscle, the signalling system between the nerve and muscle becomes inactivated, thereby preventing contraction of the muscle. It has many therapeutic applications and has been used within mainstream medicine for several decades for uncontrolled spasms of the muscles (dystonia) including the eyelids (blepharospasm). It is also used to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and certain types of headache.
What to expect following an injection?
There may be some mild swelling for a day or so, occasionally with a small amount of localised discolouration and a pin prick-like mark at the injection site. There may be a mild, dull ache around the treated area for the following 1-2 days; onset of the effect occurs several days post-injection and may take up to 10 days to achieve the full result. Further top-up injections can be administered at this time, if required.
On average the effect lasts approximately 3 months, although many who have received injections over a number of years find that they require repeat injections less frequently.
Possible unwanted effect
• Bruising at the injection site
• Weakness of other facial muscles
• Antibody production
• Drooping of the eyelid
• Double vision
• Cold sores (if susceptible)
You should not receive botulinum toxin injections in the following circumstances:
• Pregnancy, Breast feeding
• Concurrent antibiotic treatment
• Known allergy to botulinum toxin or egg products
Want to know what it’s like having dermal fillers and Botox? We asked Lisa, aged 49, to review her experience with Dr Julia Sen.
I was sitting with a friend a few weeks ago when she confided in me that she’d been having Botox injections for years (her husband had no idea!). As long as I’d known her, she had always looked good for her age – her skin was in great condition and even when she told me she was tired, she still looked well.
It got me thinking about my own face. Having lost a lot of weight in my mid-40s and with my 50th birthday fast approaching, I was starting to look every bit my age. While I had followed a strict skincare routine for as long as I can remember, no anti-ageing cream or serum was going to tackle the deeper lines appearing at the sides of my nose (nasolabial folds) or loss of plumpness, especially around my mouth and chin.
I researched and researched injectibles and fillers; read countless pros and cons, and endless dos and the don’ts before deciding I had enough information to tentatively take the plunge. I’d been recommended Dr Julia Sen, a renowned Consultant Ophthalmic Plastic, Reconstructive & Cosmetic Surgeon, and having read her impressive CV I knew I was going to be in very safe hands.
My appointment was at Bromsgrove’s BHI Parkside, a state-of-the-art medical centre in the heart of the town. Covid-secure measures meant a very short wait outside before I was led to a waiting room and met by Dr Sen. We discussed my issues – pesky marionette lines and dreaded jowls – and her friendly approach and extensive knowledge quickly put me at ease. She suggested a combination of Botox – to relax the lines – and dermal fillers – to plump out the areas I was most concerned about. By having them together it can prolong the effect, as well as working in tandem with each other to achieve a more natural look.
After cleansing my face and applying an anaesthetic cream, Dr Sen administered a couple of Botox injections to the lines above my lips and along my jaw line. Her skill meant this was done quickly and totally pain-free – I could only feel a few pin pricks.
For the fillers Dr Sen uses Restylane, a gel made from hyaluronic acid that naturally occurs in the skin, and is designed to be applied deeper than Botox to plump out wrinkles and lines. The injection includes Lidocaine to numb the area and minimise pain. You do feel the first needle going in but after a few seconds it feels no more uncomfortable than a dental treatment. Unlike Botox, which takes a couple of days for the effects to show, dermal fillers work straight away and I was able to see how both the nasolabial and marionette lines had instantly filled out.
I experienced a small amount of bruising afterwards and the injection site was tender to touch for about 24 hours, but I was prepared for this so I wasn’t alarmed. It’s also normal for the area to feel a little lumpy but this had smoothed out after a couple of days.
I’m delighted with the results – I’d asked for them to be subtle but so that I’d notice more definition when I looked in the mirror, and that’s exactly what Dr Sen achieved. My jaw line is more defined and the deeper lines coming down from my nose and my chin have disappeared.
If you’re tempted by the needle then I would say go for it, but do be aware that you may need top-ups every 12 months. The injectables market in the UK is currently unregulated so my advice would be to ensure that you opt for a doctor-led clinic with highly experienced staff. Then you, like me will undoubtedly be happy with the results of your investment.