Frequently asked questions
What is botulinum toxin?
Botulinum toxin is a toxin which is used in small quantities in anatomically specific sites to achieve paralysis of muscles with the aim of reducing the appearance and development of wrinkles. There are a number of brand names including Bocouture®, Botox® and Azzalure®. It is commonly used in the following areas:
- Forehead (frontalis muscle)
- Brow (glabella complex)
- Eyes for ‘crow’s feet’ (orbicularis oculi)
Other areas treated include:
- Neck (platysma muscle)
- Jaw for teeth grinding and softening of jawline (masseter muscle)
- Armpit to treat excessive sweating
Do botulinum toxin treatments hurt?
It is very well tolerated by the vast majority of patients, without the need for topical anaesthetic cream.
How long do botulinum toxin treatments take to start working?
This can vary between patients, but in general the effect starts to become apparent in 5-7 days, with the maximum effect visible at 14 days.
How long do the effects of botulinum toxins treatments last?
Again, variable between patients but in general the effect lasts around 3-4 months.
Are there any risks involved?
Yes. Like any medical or surgical treatment, there are risks which must be discussed in full as part of a consultation with an appropriately trained practitioner. With botulinum toxin treatment, general risks include bruising and headache, while other important risks concern the specific area being treated. Always ensure your practitioner has the appropriate qualifications and training so that risks pertaining to the specific treatment you are wanting can be adequately discussed.
What are dermal fillers?
Dermal fillers, also known simply as ‘fillers’, encompass a wide range of products of which the majority are hyaluronic acid-based. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring molecule in the body. Dermal fillers are injected in anatomically-defined areas in order to aid in the recontouring and rejuvenation of the face. In addition to providing immediate structural support, they also stimulate the body’s own production of collagen where injected.
Common areas treated include:
- Cheek bones
- Tear Troughs (under eyes)
- Nasolabial lines (smile lines)
- Marionette Lines
- Jaw line
Do dermal filler treatments hurt?
This can vary depending on the area being injected, but generally a local anaesthetic cream applied 30 minutes before the treatment is effective in reducing most discomfort, making it well tolerated overall.
How long do dermal filler treatments take to start working?
Results are visible immediately, however swelling can take some time to fully subside, so optimal results can often be seen days later.
How long do the effects of dermal filler treatments last?
This is dependent on the product used – but as a rule anything from 9 months to over a year. Your aesthetic clinician should be able to provide you with detailed information on how long different products are expected to last.
Are the any risks involved in dermal filler treatments?
Yes. As previously alluded to, with any medical or surgical treatment the risks must be discussed in detail. Regarding fillers, there are some important issues that must be covered as part of the consultation with your clinician. General risks include bruising, temporary discomfort and post-procedure swelling. Serious risks must always be discussed, and these vary depending on the area of the face being treated. There exist parts of the face which are known as ‘danger areas’ given their blood supply. These include the nasolabial region (smile lines), the nose and the brow. However, any area where filler is injected can result in serious complications. The most important of these are tissue necrosis (death of tissue) leading to significant cosmetic consequences, and blindness, an extremely rare but devastating complication. The importance of discussing your treatment and potential complications with a suitably trained practitioner is therefore crucial.
How are aesthetic treatments regulated in the UK?
There is currently little regulation of aesthetic treatments in the UK. Most practitioners are trained in a healthcare profession (doctors, dentists, nurses). Always check the qualifications and registration status of the practitioner, ask which products they use, and seek detailed information about the treatment including risks associated. The person providing your treatment should also examine you, discuss the options and present the treatments recommended for you. You should not be picking off of a menu a la carte – treatments should be individual to you based on an assessment by your clinician.