Do you have wrinkles that become noticeable when you smile, frown, laugh, or make other facial expressions? These are called dynamic wrinkles, and they are a common sign of aging skin. With time, as we make facial expressions over and over again throughout our lives, these wrinkles start to appear and may make us think that we look older than we really feel. Through a well-known procedure known as Botox, though, many have reduced the appearance of dynamic wrinkles and achieved younger looking skin. It is important to consult Dr. Angela Azar to determine if the wrinkles in question are dynamic wrinkles or static wrinkles (that is, they appear when the face is at rest), as treatment will depend on the diagnosis.
When we make a facial expression, muscles in the face contract that allow us to smile, frown, laugh, or make other expressions that convey our emotions. Over time, wrinkles may develop as certain muscles contract. To combat this, Botox works to paralyze the underlying muscle that causes the wrinkle to form upon contraction of the muscle. The idea here is simple: if the muscle that causes a wrinkle cannot contract, the wrinkle cannot form. Results are noticeable after a few weeks and continue to improve for several months. After about six months, subsequent treatments may be necessary to maintain the results of the procedure.
The treatment is administered through an injection, for which a tiny needle is used. This minimizes the discomfort that the patient experiences when the injection is made, although some slight discomfort is not uncommon. The injection contains botulinum toxin type A, which prevents the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscle that would otherwise instruct it to contract. If the muscle is unable to receive these instructions, it does not know to contract. Over time, the muscle may become less responsive, although repeat sessions are common to maintain results. The loss of responsiveness is known as chemical denervation.
Dr. Azar will explain the procedure in detail so you know what to expect during and after treatment. She will also discuss the potential side effects that have been associated with Botox so you know to be aware of them. These may include redness, itching, or pain around the injection area, nausea, headache, and weakness in the muscles. Eyelid droop, flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems, and vision problems are also possible. Be sure to let Dr. Azar know of any side effects, or seek emergency medical attention if side effects become severe or are worrisome. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding are generally advised against receiving Botox treatment, as well as those who have certain neuromuscular disorders.
Common types of dynamic wrinkles are worry lines, crow’s feet, glabellar lines, and more. Wrinkles that are the result of excessive sun exposure are not treated using Botox. These may require other forms of treatment such as dermal fillers, peels, or other procedures. Talk with Dr. Azar to learn more about Botox or other treatment options.