What’s the difference between anti-wrinkle injections and toxins?
Anti-wrinkle injections are injections of neurotoxins, poisons that damage or destroy nerve connections. Some of these neurotoxins are used for cosmetic purposes; of these, toxins is the best-known brand and most widely used. In the way that ‘Hoover’ became the name that many of us use for all brands of vacuum cleaner, ‘toxins’ has become the catch-all term for all types of botulinum toxin injections. But it is actually a brand name, which is why it always has a capital B. Other botulinum toxins branded for cosmetic medical use include Azzalure, which is the EU version of the neurotoxin elsewhere called Dysport, and BoCouture.
Do wrinkle-relaxing injections work?
Yes. Treatment with toxins or other wrinkle-relaxing injections is straightforward and effective. The main question is whether you would like the results. To end up with a result you’re happy with, you need to find a sympathetic practitioner who will listen to what you want in terms of treatment (rather than simply doing what they always do or what they think would be best for you) and discuss it all thoroughly before moving on to treatment.
For more, read my blog about Five Questions to Ask before getting toxins.
Are wrinkle-relaxing injections safe?
Wrinkle-relaxing injections are considered safe. As with any poison, the effect depends on the dose: the neurotoxins can be lethal in large amounts – but then, so can paracetamol or aspirin.
In the UK, toxins and the other neurotoxins are prescription-only drugs, so they have to be supplied by a medical professional who is qualified to prescribe. That means a doctor, a surgeon, a dentist, or a nurse-prescriber (a qualified nurse who has taken a further course to become a non-medical prescriber). The injections can legally be given by someone working under the supervision of that qualified professional, though the prescriber is the one who takes responsibility for the treatment.
Do wrinkle-relaxing injections hurt?
You’ll feel the injections, as usual, but the needles are very small and the volume of liquid injected is minuscule, so there’s very little pain. If you are sensitive to pain, you can numb the treatment area beforehand with anaesthetic cream or an ice pack; discuss this with your practitioner beforehand.
How long do wrinkle-relaxing injections take?
Wrinkle-relaxing injections normally take only 10 minutes. If you need anaesthetic cream, that will add 30 minutes to the treatment time.
How long do wrinkle-relaxing injections last?
Wrinkle-relaxing injections typically last from three to six months. Exactly how long depends on several factors, which I go into in more depth in my blog post on How Long Does toxins Last?
Are there any side effects to wrinkle-relaxing injections?
Wrinkle-relaxing injections can have the following side-effects:
- Drifting from the injection site. The product can drift a little from the injection site, but usually not by much, and only within the first hour after injection. Practitioners used to advise you not to lie down for four hours after treatment. This is now thought to be unnecessary and overly cautious, but don’t rub the treated area, or have a facial massage, for a day or two afterward.
- Bruising or bleeding. These can occur at the injection site. Depending on how easily you bruise, these bruises may take a week or so to clear up.
If a practitioner uses too much neurotoxin, or injects it inexpertly, the following problems can occur:
- Frozen-looking face. Too much neurotoxin can prevent your face from expressing emotion.
- Muscle atrophy. If muscles are poleaxed with toxins for too long or too often and don’t get a chance to regain their full range of motion, they may begin to waste away through lack of use.
- Ptosis of the eyelid or brow. Ptosis means ‘drooping’; the eyelid or brow will droop until the effects of the toxin start to wear off.