My wife would like to have botox injections. How often would she need to repeat the injections? Also, what is the difference between botox and fillers and is it safe during pregnancy?

Botulinum toxin is a purified protein that is used to temporarily relax facial muscles that cause lines and wrinkles. It can also be used to treat medical conditions such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). Botox is the original and best-known brand name and the most tested product on the market. It is the result of many decades of studies and has been used extensively in medicine.

It is important to note that you may encounter some slight bruising and swelling directly after treatment, due to the needle. This can easily be masked by makeup. There are no long-term side effects of having wrinkle injections, meaning patients can resume their usual activities — there are just some precautions to be taken, such as avoiding bending for too long and sleeping in a different position from what you had been right after having the Botox injection.

Treatment is not advisable for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. While there are no clinical studies to show that the injection is harmful to the baby or mother, medical professionals advise against having treatment under these circumstances.

How it works

The natural collagen and elastin in the skin lessens, as cells lose their ability to produce more of their youthful component. The skin becomes dryer, thinner and less able to fix itself. When we are born, we have plentiful amounts of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) in our body, but as we get older this store of HA diminishes, leaving the skin less well supported, and so lines and wrinkles develop. By lifting and smoothing targeted folds and wrinkles by adding subtle volume, dermal fillers can make a difference to a person’s appearance, giving them a fresher look.

The treatment of wrinkles with dermal filler will usually involve injecting HA through a tiny needle. The discomfort is minimal as the treatment does not take long to perform. The aesthetic outcomes of treatments with dermal filler are seen immediately after the treatment. Treating wrinkles with dermal filler is fast, leaving no scars.

Actually, the results of cosmetic injectables vary among patients. However, on average, the effects of Botox last between three and six months, and the effects of dermal fillers can last six months up to a year, depending on the formulation and where it is placed.

The variation in results happens for several reasons. Lifestyle, sun exposure, skin care regimen and genetics can all affect the result and effectiveness of injectable products. Some areas of the face that move very frequently – like the skin around the mouth — need to be injected more often. Certain people metabolise injectables differently. Larger or stronger facial muscles may cause Botox to wear off more quickly. Men, who tend to have stronger facial muscles, may require a higher dosage of the product or more frequent treatments.

The skill of the injector is important. A talented injector will know precisely where to inject the product and how much to use to maximise the results.

Dr Chadi Jaber is a plastic surgeon at Bloom Aesthetic and Laser Clinic, Dubai.

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