Introduction To Anti Wrinkle Injections (Wrinkle Relaxers)

As we age we begin to notice the formation of lines and wrinkles that occur with facial expression and movement, these are called dynamic lines. With the continued and repeated use of facial muscles combined with volume loss, loss of subcutaneous fat, changes to facial bones, and loss and damage to collagen and elastin within the skin these dynamic lines eventually form static lines which are present at rest.

Dynamic lines which occur with movement can be successfully treated with anti wrinkle injections which effectively and safely results in ‘wrinkle relaxation’ in the area of concern. Anti wrinkle injections (wrinkle relaxers) target the specific muscle group and work to temporarily reduce movement in the area resulting in less visible wrinkles.

Anti wrinkle injections (wrinkle relaxers) are a highly purified toxin which is derived from the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum. They work by blocking the transmitting messages between nerve and muscle cells meaning muscle cells are unable to contract. With the resultant reduction in muscle contraction the appearance of existing wrinkles the lessened and the formation of new ones is prevented.

Anti wrinkle injections (wrinkle relaxers) are useful wherever there are dynamic lines or areas of overactive muscle. Areas that are treated include:

  • Frown lines
  • Forehead lines
  • Crow’s feet  / periorbital lines
  • Bunny lines on the nose
  • Dimpling of the chin
  • Upper lip lines and corners of the mouth
  • Widened or square jaw
  • Platysmal or neck bands
  • Gummy smile
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Anti wrinkle injections (wrinkle relaxers) can also be used in conjunction with dermal fillers in areas such as the lips, chin creases and marionette lines to prolong the effects.

The safety and effectiveness of wrinkle injections has been well established and supported by medical evidence with use spanning back to the 1970s. It has been used to treat a number of medical conditions since this time and use continues to grow. Some conditions include:

  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) – Dr Kate also treats this condition
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Blepharospasm – uncontrollable blinking
  • Strabismus – malaligned eyes
  • Chronic migraine
  • Overactive bladder
  • Cerebral palsy

Anti wrinkle injections (wrinkle relaxers) have been used in cosmetic treatments since 1988. These medications can only be prescribed by a doctor.

Where do wrinkles commonly form?

Crows Feet

Lines around the eyes are commonly referred to as crows feet. They often form as small creases when you smile however can extend laterally and eventually spread down to the cheek area. Once these lines have formed and spread they can be quite difficult to treat. Softening the crows feet involves injecting wrinkle relaxer into the ‘orbicularis oculi’ muscle which is the muscle involved in opening and closing the eye. Injecting to the top part of this muscle can also result in a ‘chemical brow lift’.

The amount of units used for this area does vary but generally ranges from 8-12 units per side (brand A) or 20-40 units per side (brand B).

Frown Lines

Frown lines or the dreaded number ‘11’ between the eyebrows can often make you look mad or stressed if they are present at rest. These lines form from contraction of the eyebrows – squinting, frowning, starting at computer screens etc. The problem with these lines is that they can form quite deep static wrinkles as the muscles involved are very thick and bulky (especially in men). Softening the frown lines involves injecting wrinkle relaxer into two main muscles – the procerus and the corrugators which work to depress the eyebrow. People often report that once these lines have been softened they notice an improvement in headaches also (less frowning = less tension).

The amount of units used for this area does vary but generally ranges from 15-24 units (brand A) or 30-60 units (brand B).

Forehead lines

Forehead lines result from overactivity of the ‘frontalis’ muscle which works to elevate the eyebrow and is one of the most commonly used muscles of facial expression. The frontalis muscle often gets lots of small horizontal lines which many people start to notice once makeup gets caught in them at the end of the day. Everyone has very different forehead muscles also – some people get one or two deep lines, some get multiple smaller ones and some get many more due to a higher hairline and more prominent forehead. It is important not to over treat this area with wrinkle relaxers as this is the only muscle used to elevate the brow.

The amount of units used for this area does vary but generally ranges from 8-15 units (brand A) or 15-40 units (brand B).  A brow lift can also be performed for 2 -4 units each side (brand A). 

Bunny lines

Bunny lines are those creases that form when you scrunch up your nose. They are not a problem for everyone however can become more evident when the glabellar (frown lines) have been treated as there is smooth skin above this area during facial expression. People who suffer allergies often have worse bunny lines due to rubbing their nose and constantly scrunching and sneezing. Small volumes of wrinkle relaxer can be injected into the nasalis muscle on each side to soften the appearance of these lines.

The amount of units used for this area does vary but generally ranges from 2-4 units per side (brand A) or 5-10 units per side (Brand B).

Perioral lines/smokers lines

Lines around the upper lip are quite common, especially once a woman reaches menopause. They are often due to smoking (constant pursing of the lips) however can occur in people who have never smoked. The lines form due to the action of the orbicularis oris muscle and appear more evident once the skin loses its elasticity and collagen as we age. However using wrinkle relaxers in the orbicularis oris at very small volumes can soften this muscle (whist still allowing the lips to move – and kiss) and slow down the formation of smokers lines. The additional use of dermal fillers to fill the pre-existing lines works wonders in addition to anti-wrinkle injections. This adds in much needed support in addition to filling the lines and further slows down the ageing process. Diligent use of home care and in clinic treatments to simulate collagen such as Radiofrequency are also recommended. 

The amount of units used for this area does vary but generally ranges from 0.5-1 unit at 4-6 different injection sites (brand A).

The above are only a few treatment areas that can be treated with anti-wrinkle injections. More advanced injection techniques that are performed at Youth Lab include injections to the marionette lines (Depressor Anguli Oris muscle) to prevent a down turned smile, masseter muscles (for reduction of bruxism, TMJ dysfunction, clenching and jawline slimming), the platysma muscle for a neck lift (Nefertiti lift), the elevator muscles of the lip for a gummy smile and mentalis muscle for treatment of a dimply chin to name a few.

frequently asked questions

+ WHAT DOES THE TREATMENT INVOLVE?

The anti wrinkle injections (wrinkle relaxers) procedure generally lasts 10-15 minutes and involves the injection of small volumes of fluid into the target muscles using a very fine needle. The procedure is usually painless with some patient’s reporting a stinging sensation and discomfort which is easily reduced by applying an ice pack or numbing cream to the area before injecting.

Results become evident after a few days with the maximal effect at 2 weeks. A follow-up appointment is recommended to ensure you are satisfied with your results and to assess the need for any dose adjustments. This will ensure ongoing treatments are perfected with the right dose for your individual needs. No treatment will be performed prior to the 2 week follow-up.

+ HOW LONG DOES THE TREATMENT LAST?

Generally most people find the benefits of anti wrinkle injections (wrinkle relaxers) will last up to 3-4 months. After this time the muscles gradually return to their pre-injection state with the wrinkles returning, although many people state they still appear softer.

Repeated injections are recommended to maintain muscle relaxation and to prevent the formation of new wrinkles, which is why anti-wrinkle injections is the ideal ‘preventative’ treatment. With repeated treatments the effect is often longer lasting as the muscles weaken with time, this means longer intervals between treatments.

+ WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY TREATMENT?

Following treatment with anti wrinkle injections (wrinkle relaxers) normal activities can be resumed. You will be provided with full aftercare instructions. There are some general precautions that should be taken to reduce the risks of side effects and to obtain the best possible results

  • Ice can be applied to reduce discomfort, swelling and bruising
  • Do not rub or massage the affected area for 24 hours
  • Do not lie down, or do strenuous exercise for the first 24 hours

See the full aftercare instructions here.

+ ARE ANTI WRINKLE INJECTIONS (WRINKLE RELAXERS) SAFE?

Yes. These medications have been extensively researched for over 20 years with well established safety data.

With any medical procedure there are always risks involved and your doctor will discuss all risks and contraindications prior to performing any procedure.

Side effects are uncommon. Some possible after effects include:

  • Bruising
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Mild headache or pain

Some more uncommon side effects include:

  • Temporary dropping of the eyelids (ptosis) may occur. This occurs in less than 1% of patients and is temporary, generally lasts only 4 weeks.
  • Dropping of the eyebrows or a heavy forehead
  • Double vision in rare cases with treatment to the eyes
  • Difficulty swallowing, whistling, speaking and asymmetrical smile – with certain mouth treatments

Wrinkle relaxing injections cannot be given in people with underlying neurological conditions such as Myasthena gravis and in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

+ WHAT ARE THE COSTS?

At Youth Lab we charge by the unit, not the area. The main reason is that while charging by the area can seem cheaper, the dose is often too low to get the desired result.

  • Brand ‘B’ $15 per unit
  • Brand ‘D’ $5 per unit