Botulinum toxin injections and dermal fillers may seem similar, but they are two very different things. Although they are both injectable cosmetic treatments performed by aesthetic physicians, that’s pretty much where their similarities end. An expert in the field answers some frequently asked questions and tells us all we need to know about these two popular non-invasive procedures.
Tell us about the Botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin (BTX) is a type of protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are many different types and brand names of BTX that are registered as medication and are approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
In the medical field, BTX can be used to treat chronic migraines, muscle spasms (e.g. in children with cerebral palsy or in stroke patients who have lost control of their muscle movement), hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and more.
In the medical aesthetic industry however, BTX is mainly used to reduce wrinkles.
How is it used in the beauty industry?
BTX can be used to reduce dynamic wrinkles, which are wrinkles caused by repeated muscle movement associated with facial expressions, e.g. squinting, frowning and smiling. Common areas for injection are the glabella (frown lines), crow’s feet and forehead lines.
A popular procedure in Asia is using BTX for face reshaping—for example, reshaping a square face to a more feminine oval face via size reduction of the masseter muscle. With special injection techniques, BTX can also be used for face lifting.
BTX can help reduce the appearance of a “gummy smile”—a smile that shows gum excessively. This is done by weakening the muscles that strongly pulls up the upper lip. For men, many get BTX injections at the frown lines to get a more approachable, refreshing and “less angry” look.
Does it hurt?
The needles used for BTX injections are very fine. Additionally, the doctor may apply ice packs or numbing cream beforehand, so that you may only feel minimal discomfort during the injection.
However, after the treatment, you might feel a bit heavy in the injected muscle area. BTX works by blocking nerve signals in the muscles where it was injected. As a result, the injected muscle would be temporarily relaxed or “asleep”. Extra effort is needed to move the affected muscle, so that area might feel heavy. Don’t worry, the sensation only lasts about 1 to 2 weeks, and then you’ll adapt to it.
What is the after-care like?
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