Wrinkle Relaxation Treatment
More and more people are turning to Dr Hodgkinson and his team of Specialist Cosmetic Treatment Nurses at the Cosmetic & Restorative Surgery Clinic for rejuvenation techniques, to help their face reflect the way they feel inside.
One such rejuvenation technique is wrinkle relaxation treatment. It can be used to relax the specific facial muscles that cause upper facial lines (crow’s feet, forehead and glabellar frown lines) to form.
The following information explains how wrinkle relaxation treatment works and what is involved with the treatment.
Q: How and why do wrinkles form?
Many facial wrinkles occur when we use our muscles to form facial expressions. The wrinkles formed during these expressions are called dynamic wrinkles. For example, when we smile our eye wrinkles become prominent and when we frown the vertical lines between our eyebrows become noticeable.
When we are young our skin springs back to its initial position after facial expressions, but as we get older dynamic wrinkles remain on the skin to form static wrinkles; these are the wrinkles and folds that are present at rest. This process occurs because natural substances such as collagen (the major structural protein in the skin), elastin (the protein that causes tissue to stretch) and hyaluronic acid (which gives skin volume) decrease with age. This, together with environmental factors such as exposure to sunlight, smoking and stress all contribute to the creation of wrinkles and folds.
Q: What is wrinkle relaxation treatment?
Wrinkle relaxation treatment involves a natural, purified protein that relaxes wrinkle-causing muscles, creating a rejuvenated appearance. The active ingredient in wrinkle relaxation treatment is derived from bacteria in much the same way penicillin is derived from mould. It is manufactured in sterile laboratory conditions.
The treatment is a prescription-only medicine and treatment is only available from a qualified medical professional such as Dr Hodgkinson and his team. It is registered for the treatment of crow’s feet (the lines that radiate from the corner of your eye when you smile or squint), forehead lines (the horizontal lines that form when you raise your eyebrows) and glabellar frown lines (the vertical lines that appear between your eyebrows when you frown).
Q: How does wrinkle relaxation treatment work?
The treatment can be used to relax specific facial muscles that cause dynamic wrinkles (these are the wrinkles that are formed during facial expression). Once the muscles are relaxed, you cannot contract them and continue to make the undesirable facial expressions. Thus, the lines gradually smooth and new lines are prevented from forming.
Q: What does wrinkle relaxation treatment involve?
Wrinkle relaxation treatment is a non-surgical procedure whereby a small amount of product is administered into selected facial muscles by Dr Hodgkinson or one of his staff specialists using a very fine needle. Generally, the treatment takes around 10 -15 minutes. At the Cosmetic& Restorative Surgery Clinic we have used our vast experience with these treatments to develop methods to minimize any discomfort so that no anaesthetic is usually required. The injection may sting for a few seconds but normal activities can be resumed soon after.
After the injection, it takes 2 -3 days for the treatment to begin taking effect and about 7 days to see the full effect. The dose recommended for the treatment will vary depending on your individual situation and the severity of your lines. Dr Hodgkinson and his staff will know what the best dose is for you and which muscles to inject to give you the best results.
Q: How long does wrinkle relaxation treatment last?
The effect can last up to 4 months before lines slowly begin to return. If you have repeat anti-wrinkle treatments, the effect tends to last longer.
Does wrinkle relaxation treatment cause more wrinkles to form?
The treatment will relax the facial muscles that cause expression lines. It does not cause more wrinkles to form. If you choose not to have further treatments your muscles will eventually return to normal activity and your wrinkles will gradually revert to their pre-treatment levels.
Q: Will facial expression be affected by wrinkle relaxation treatment?
The treatment works specifically on the muscles treated. This means that any muscle left untreated, including untreated facial muscles, should not be affected by the treatment. Dr Hodgkinson or one of the nurses will determine the best dose for you and which muscles to inject to give you the best results.
Q: Are there any side effects?
In addition to its use for cosmetic reasons, the product used in wrinkle relaxation treatment is also used to treat patients in a variety of therapeutic indications including cerebral palsy in children, movement disorders (head, neck, shoulder, face), and axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating).
In the amounts used for the treatment of upper facial lines, the side effects are usually temporary and localised to the area of injection. Possible side effects include headaches, pain, burning/stinging, bruising, swelling or redness at the injection site, local muscle weakness including drooping eyelids/eyebrows, swollen eyelids, skin tightness, tingling sensations, itichiness, nausea and flu like symptoms.
Q: How long has wrinkle relaxation treatment been used?
The treatment has been used in Australia and New Zealand in therapeutic treatments for over 15 years. It was first approved for use in Australia for movement disorders (eye & face) in 1993 and for eye spasms and crossed eyes in New Zealand in 1991.
Q: Can wrinkle relaxation be combined with other products and procedures?
Absolutely. To get the desired result other non-surgical treatments such as injectible fillers, Thermage® or microdermabrasion may be used a combination with wrinkle relaxation treatment. The team at the Cosmetic & Restorative Surgery Clinic will advise you as to whether or not you will receive better results if your treatment is combined with other products and/or procedures.