Injectables are the most popular non-surgical aesthetic procedures in the UK, used both for enhancement and the treatment of facial ageing. They can be broadly divided into two types of treatment; wrinkle relaxers derived from botulinum toxin and volumisers, typically based on a form of hyaluronic acid gel.
Reading between the lines
Not all lines and wrinkles are the same and different technologies and products have been developed to treat them. Dynamic wrinkles are caused by the continual contraction of the muscles underneath the skin and they are commonly found in the upper third of the face in the form of crow’s feet and frown lines. Botulinum toxin, famously known as Botox, is a protein that temporarily interrupts the facial nerves from instructing the muscles to move. This produces a smoothing of the overlying skin, a temporary effect which will wear off approximately six months after treatment.
Dermal fillers, on the other hand, work as volumisers, filling folds and lines that occur as the ageing process depletes levels of collagen and elastin in the skin. These dermal fillers lift and smooth the skin by adding volume. The most popular dermal fillers on the market are hyaluronic acid fillers; HA is a naturally-occurring substance in the skin so they are usually very well-tolerated.
Over time the HA is absorbed by the body, meaning results are temporary. Manufacturers of the two leading brands, Juvederm and Restylane, have continued to improve their products, partly to extend result longevity, and they can now last up to 18 months.
Botox vs HA dermal fillers combined
Now, a new study has suggested it may be possible to prolong the results of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers by combining them with Botox. In a paper recently published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, researchers at a Turkish university have found that chemodenervation, the process by which botulinum toxin paralyses the nerves, can lengthen the results of HA fillers, by reducing muscle activity that can break the fillers down in the dermis.
In a study of rabbits, a small amount of hyaluronic acid filler was injected just in front of the ear, as it corresponds closely to the forehead in humans. One side was injected with HA dermal filler alone and the other was treated with a combination of HA filler and botulinum toxin. Three months later, MRI scans showed that the botulinum toxin had decreased the rate that the HA filler had degraded. In fact, quite dramatic results were recorded, with 50 per cent more filler left in the side combined with botulinum toxin. As this was an animal study, it will be necessary to await a similar study in humans to be certain the same effect occurs, but the findings are of more than passing interest.
To find out more about the benefits of non-surgical procedures such as Botox or dermal fillers call 01926 436341 to book a consultation at my Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic.