When many people think of cosmetic wrinkle reduction, there’s almost always one name that comes to mind: BOTOX®. Nashville’s Maxwell Aesthetics explains that despite the neuromodulator’s popularity, it is actually just one among many treatments designed to restore a youthful look to an aging face.
With so many injectable options available, choosing one can initially seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, you don’t have to make the decision alone. In fact, a board-certified plastic surgeon can help to clear up any confusion as to which option is best at a consultation, as well as make a professional recommendation based on your specific goals.
And let’s face it: You do have goals. Wrinkles, lines, and other telltale signs of aging can lower our self-confidence. After all, no one wants to look “tired,” “angry,” or older than they feel inside.
A good place to start is with the two most well-known injectables: neuromodulators and dermal fillers. These minimally invasive treatments have their own unique properties and work on specific cosmetic concerns. In some cases, they can even be combined for optimal results.
When the face is animated, facial muscles contract, and the overlying skin stretches to accommodate the motion. Young skin is elastic and quickly snaps back to its original position when the muscles return to rest, but older, weakened skin doesn’t bounce back as readily after these repetitive movements. This is why many people begin to notice signs of aging known as dynamic wrinkles: those pesky crow’s feet, elevens, and horizontal forehead lines that can start to appear on people as young as their 20s.
BOTOX® is a solution for this problem. It has FDA-approved applications for smoothing out creased and crinkly parts of the upper area of the face, but is also sometimes used around the mouth, neck, and chin, among other areas. Once injected into the treatment area, BOTOX® temporarily suppresses the muscle activity that causes the skin to bunch together on the surface. In less than 15 minutes, patients can get a treatment that leads to a more relaxed, refreshed, and more youthful face.
This injectable is also being used as a preventative measure in the early stages of wrinkle formation to stop lines from becoming worse later in life. The idea is to relax muscles in a person’s younger years, “training” them to stay more at rest for an ultimately unlined look.
There are other neuromodulators, such as Dysport® and Jeuveau™, that work in a similar way. These injectables all share a common active ingredient, but have subtle unique qualities that set them apart.
Dynamic wrinkles represent just one aspect of aging. Not all facial cosmetic changes are linked to muscle activity. Intrinsic and extrinsic aging also play a part, causing lines to form in areas where contractions are not as prevalent.
Intrinsic aging refers to skin changes that start on the inside. For example, levels of collagen and elastin (the connective framework of fibers that keep our skin strong and pliant) are depleted over time, moisture and fat levels drop, and fewer skin cells are regenerated with each passing decade. On the other hand, external factors—such as the weather and climate, pollution, sun exposure, the force of gravity, and harmful habits like drinking and smoking—also do a number on our complexion by further hastening these elements’ breakdown.
Together, these factors culminate in weakened, dull, and sagging skin. For these signs of aging, you may need to consider a dermal filler, such as JUVEDERM®. This injectable contains hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring sugar that restores large quantities of moisture to the skin.
Some of the issues JUVEDERM® works on include static wrinkles (caused by sun exposure, volume loss, and prolonged dynamic wrinkling) and gravitational folds (jowls and sagging that are caused by gravity and reduced elasticity). JUVEDERM® consists of a family of products, some of which are used to smooth wrinkles, while others are intended for adding volume for contour changes. There are also other popular lines of fillers, such as Restylane®. All are generally applied to the middle and lower parts of the face, commonly used for reducing the appearance of nasolabial folds, smoker’s lines, and sunken or droopy areas of the face.