Product Review: Busting The Myths About Botox® Cosmetic

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Product Review: Busting The Myths About Botox® Cosmetic
July 20
10:03 2016

The most common misconception many women have about Botulinum toxin type A, commonly known as Botox® Cosmetic, is that it is a poison. So why would doctors swearing to the Hippocratic Oath violate it, injecting a substance that can potentially harm you? The answer is simple: they wouldn’t.

“No, it is not a poison,” said Dr. Martie S. Gidon, a cosmetic dermatologist and director of Gidon Aesthetics & MediSpa. She placated the concerns of those avoiding the treatment. “These are purified proteins of botulinum neurotoxin type A complex, derived from a culture of the Hall strain of Clostridium botulinum. A similar example would be penicillin, which is a purified protein derived from mold.”

The buzz around botulinum toxin is not accidental. In large doses this substance is extremely toxic to the human body and may cause botulism, a life-threatening illness. For cosmetic purposes though, the concentration of the purified protein is far too low to cause any danger to a human organism.

There are three types of neurotoxins that are prescription medications approved for injectable cosmetic use in Canada: Botox® Cosmetic (onabotulinumtoxinA), Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA) and Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA). The areas approved for treatment in Canada are frown lines between the eyebrows, forehead lines and crow’s feet. In addition, Botox® Cosmetic is used off-label to treat lip lines as well as the mouth frown, chin, jawline and neck.

“With repeated muscle movement, dynamic wrinkles develop,” Dr. Gidon explained. “These neurotoxins block neuromuscular conduction by binding to receptor sites on motor nerve terminals and inhibiting the release of acetylcholine, which is the chemical required for muscular contraction.”

The treated muscles relax and dynamic wrinkles minimize within a few days after the treatment. With time, the effect wears off with muscle movement slowly returning, and the area needs to be re-treated in about four months. Lip and horizontal forehead lines may need the procedure more often, as very small amounts of Botox® Cosmetic are used for these areas.

Product Review: Busting The Myths About Botox® Cosmetic

Product Review: Busting The Myths About Botox® Cosmetic

The number of injections required for one treatment depends on the area and the patient’s muscle strength and activity. To treat frown lines in between the eyes, one would usually need from three to five injections.

The procedure is mostly painless, as a very fine needle is used for the injections. A topical anaesthetic may also be used to minimize any discomfort.

According to Dr. Gidon, though these neuromodulators, like any injections, can lead to temporary bruising, localized pain, tenderness and redness, they are generally safe – if injected by a qualified doctor.

“Inappropriate use of these substances can lead to treatment of the incorrect muscles, resulting in the temporary inability to use those muscles,” Dr. Gidon clarified. “Swallowing, speech or respiratory disorders may occur with incorrect usage.”

Men and women over the age of 18 who would like to diminish dynamic wrinkles are candidates for Botox® Cosmetic treatment. It’s not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, patients with allergies to any of the ingredients, certain neurological disorders and for those taking aminoglycoside antibiotics or neuromuscular-blocking medications.

Discovering Fillers

While Botox® Cosmetic is a neuromodulator that relaxes muscles, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fillers mainly add volume to deflated areas, providing you with a fresher, more youthful appearance.

Product Review: Busting The Myths About Botox® Cosmetic

Product Review: Busting The Myths About Botox® Cosmetic

“These gels are injected into areas of facial tissue to temporarily add volume to facial wrinkles and folds,” Dr. Gidon noted. “They can smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and can give a lift to restore contour of the cheeks, jawline and chin for a more youthful profile. Other areas that can be treated include lips, smile lines, marionette lines, the forehead, temples, hollows below the eyes, necklace lines, the backs of the hands and thin earlobes.”

Depending on the area being treated, gels with different consistencies are used: thin fillers are used for fine lines, and denser gels are designed to increase volume and lift certain areas.

The number of injections needed varies from patient to patient, depending on the number of areas being treated and the extent of the volume loss. During the procedure, some patients may experience minor discomfort, which can be minimized by applying a topical anaesthetic or using a filler that contains lidocaine. Improvement is visible right after the injections. Results are never permanent with the effect lasting up to two years, depending on the filler.

Dr. Gidon explained that most of the fillers available today contain hyaluronic acid. Juvéderm®, Restylane®, Esthélis™ and Teosyal® can be used in different areas, and because of their smooth texture, don’t create any bumps.

“The most popular types of fillers are synthetic hyaluronic acid products, which consist of a sugar and water structure that retains water in the skin and slowly dissolves with time,” Dr. Gidon noted. “Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in skin, and with aging, it diminishes and causes skin to lose moisture, firmness and volume.”

Other fillers contain calcium-based microspheres, stimulating collagen growth, which is necessary for ensuring the strength and elasticity of the connective tissues of the skin. Fillers, such as Radiesse®, are based on those particles, which, regardless of the benefits, may cause unevenness or firmness in the treated areas.
Injectable fillers have been used worldwide for over 15 years. They are generally safe with a possibility of temporary side effects, such as tenderness, bruising, swelling, bumps and redness.

“To reduce the risk of bruising, avoid Aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, alcohol, green tea, fish oils, vitamin E and garlic one week before the treatment,” Dr. Gidon recommended. “Rare complications include allergies to the filler, infection, stroke and blindness. Avoid strenuous exercise for 24 hours after treatment. Make sure to call your physician if you experience any problems.”

According to Dr. Gidon, one of the contraindications for this treatment is a history of severe allergies. If an individual is allergic to lidocaine, a filler that does not contain this topical anaesthetic can be used. Injectable fillers are not to be used in pregnant or breastfeeding women and should not be injected into inflamed or infected areas.

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