If you are bothered by those persistent lines between your eyebrows, and wondering whether injections of wrinkle-relaxing toxins such as Botox might do the job and soften them, read on!
What are 11s or ‘ELEVENS’
11s are the scowl lines that appear between the brows that look like two vertical lines – That’s why they are called 11s.
What causes 11s?
These are some of the first wrinkles that appear on the face and are caused by the ‘frowning’ muscles. These muscles are very strong and even when you are at rest, not angry, not emotional, not squinting or trying to frown, the ‘frowning’ muscles can continue to pull and contract a bit even when you’re asleep. Along with the downward pull of gravity on the tissue of the brows, this can make the ‘eleven’ frown lines settle into place on your face.
How does Botox help?
Botox helps by relaxing the the frowning muscles, which prevents them from crumpling the skin several hundred times a day. Without this continuous movement and crumpling, the skin is able to slowly repair itself and mild and medium lines will slowly disappear.
What if the wrinkles are really deep and have been there for years?
If the skin has been more severely damaged and there are more profound and deeper wrinkles caused by smoking and/ or too much exposure to ultraviolet light (that’s sunshine and also boring old everyday daylight), the wrinkles may be too deep and too established to disappear completely. However Botox can at least prevent the wrinkles from getting worse and there will definitely be an improvement in what you are used to.
So what can be done about these deeper wrinkles?
For these deeper lines and wrinkles your practitioner may suggest the use of some dermal fillers which will help plump out the skin. Fillers work in a totally different way to Botox. Fillers are injected into the skin and not the muscle and physically take up space and so plump out the skin.
Is there a non-invasive alternative?
The best way to improve or lessen the formation of wrinkles between the brows is to try and minimise frowning. This isn’t always easy as we’re often not aware we’re even using these muscles and frowning, which is why people close to you may tell you to stop frowning. Frownies (frownies.co.uk) are little patches of brown paper that have an adhesive side that you can attach to your skin and should be worn at night. These smooth out the skin and remind you every time you frown. Alternately you could just stick some clear tape on your wrinkles which will alert you when you are using the frowning muscles (it’s less kind on the skin; be careful when you peel it off). It is possible to train yourself not to look more serene and not frown, but that will take mindfulness and persistence.
Will the lines come back?
The effects from Botox will last three to six months, depending on the amount of toxin that your practitioner injected, and on how quickly your muscles recover their ability to contract. As muscle action gradually returns, the lines and wrinkles will begin to reappear and you’ll need to be treated with Botox again. Over time, it’s likely you’ll lose the urge to make the frowning expressions and use the ‘frowning muscles’ and you should be able to go longer and longer between Botox treatments.