Facial wrinkles and lines can be reduced with cosmetic injections into the skin. The two main types of injectable substances used are toxins and dermal fillers. To treat deep lines both types of injectables are used to achieve the best result.
Toxin injections to weaken muscles in the face and lessen the lines associated with facial expression. The toxin relaxes the underlying muscle and allows the skin to flatten out.
Dermal fillers are piped by injection along wrinkles and lines to plump the skin.
Uses for tox
Tox is injected into certain muscles of the face to soften facial lines, including:
- frown lines between the eyebrows
- lines across the bridge of the nose
- forehead lines
- ‘crow’s feet’ wrinkles extending from the outside corners of the eyes
- lines on the throat (‘turkey neck’).
A very fine needle is used to inject the toxin into selected facial muscles. Discomfort is minimal and brief. Most people describe it as an ant-bite sting lasting a few seconds. The wrinkle-smoothing effects of the injection may last for up to six months.
Don’t be shy about asking questions and discussing your concerns with your health practitioner. Make sure you get a full explanation of the anticipated results and what you can expect after the procedure.
Do not use toxin type injections if:
- you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed in the formulation
- you have an infection in the muscles where it would normally be injected
- you have any muscle disorders in other parts of your body, including myasthenia gravis, Eaton Lambert syndrome or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Precautions for botulinum toxin type A
Tell your health practitioner if you are taking other medications, including prescription or over-the-counter medications and any complementary medicines or supplements.
It is also important to tell your medical practitioner if you:
- are taking or are likely to take antibiotics, especially aminoglycoside antibiotics
- are scheduled to have surgery using a general anaesthetic
- have inflammation or severe weakness in the muscles where the product would be injected
- are pregnant or intend to become pregnant
- are breastfeeding or planning to start breastfeeding
- have ever had facial surgery
- have angle closure glaucoma
- have problems with your heart or circulation
- are taking drugs that may interfere with muscle function.
Complications of toxin
Side effects, if they occur, are usually temporary and around the injection area. They can include:
- drooping of the eyelids
- face pain
- swelling where you were injected
- skin tightness
- muscle weakness
- numbness or a feeling of pins and needles
- blurred vision.
Procedure for dermal fillers
A very fine needle is used to ‘fill’ the wrinkle, line or skin depression with a product. The wrinkle-smoothing effects of most dermal fillers are temporary and regular treatments are needed to maintain the effect.
Medical issues to consider for dermal fillers
Dermal fillers may not be suitable if you have:
- certain medical conditions, such as an autoimmune disease
- a history of keloid scarring (thick, raised scars)
- inflamed or infected skin
- severe allergies such as asthma
- food allergies, bee sting allergies
- ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
Precautions for dermal fillers
Tell your health practitioner if you are taking medications, including prescription and over-the-counter medications. Some medications, such as blood-thinning drugs, may increase the risk of complications after the procedure.
Complications of dermal fillers
Serious, commonly reported complications of dermal fillers include:
- vascular occlusion – this occurs when filler is injected into or around an artery, causing blood flow to be reduced or stop. Skin may look pale (blanched) and start to turn blue over a period of 24 hours. This is usually painful and, if untreated, the skin may start to ‘die’ and turn black
Any of these can occur shortly after an injection has been administered; all require urgent ‘reversal’ treatment by a health/medical practitioner to reduce the risk of death or long-term complications.
Additional possible side effects and complications may include:
- swelling and redness where you were injected
- lumps (nodules) forming under the skin
- allergic reaction
- haematoma (a collection of blood under the skin or in the deeper tissues)
Self-care suggestions after cosmetic injectable treatments
General self-care suggestions for the first few days following cosmetic injections include:
- not exposing the treated skin to extremes of temperature (such as saunas)
- keeping the treated skin areas clean
- not touching or rubbing the treated areas
- using paracetamol for pain relief
- seeing your health/medical practitioner if you experience unusual symptoms or if you have any concerns.