They are the most popular cosmetic treatments in the world, magically erasing, and even preventing wrinkles with consistent use. They are also used to provide subtle, non-invasive nips and tucks that can make huge improvements to our appearance.
We are talking about neuromodulators, substances that temporarily change the way the nerve “talks” to the muscle. Neuromodulators block signals from the nerves to the muscles, preventing the muscle from contracting.
Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin are all trade names for botulinum toxin, which is a neuromodulator created from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botox was first created to treat eye spasms and twitching by relaxing the muscles around the eyes.
This led a couple of dermatologists to explore the cosmetic uses of Botox by asking the question, “if this works to relax the muscles of the eyes, could it also be used to weaken the muscles of the face that cause wrinkles?” We sure are glad they asked that question!
Neuromodulators smooth wrinkles and expression lines and can lift certain areas of the face because of how our muscles work together. We have what are called agonist and antagonist muscles that play “tug of war” with each other when we make facial expressions.
For example, we have muscles that pull the eyebrow up and muscles that pull the eyebrow down. By injecting the antagonist muscle (the muscle that pulls the eyebrow down) with a neuromodulator, we relax and weaken this muscle which allows the agonist muscle (the muscle that pulls the eyebrow up) to win, creating an eyebrow lift.
Neuromodulators have many different uses, most of which you have probably heard of, but there are a few that may surprise you! Below you will find the 14 cosmetic uses of neuromodulators.
There are two types of forehead wrinkles: the little vertical lines between the eyebrows called the 11-sign wrinkles (and also called the glabella area) that are caused by frowning or furrowing the brow, and the horizontal lines across the forehead that appear when you raise your eyebrows. A neuromodulator such as Botox or Dysport can relax the muscles that cause these forehead lines.
Crow’s feet are caused by years of laughing, squinting and smiling and are often the first wrinkles to appear on the face. They are caused by the contraction of a circular muscle around the eye area called the orbicularis oculi. Neuromodulators injected into this area weakens the orbicularis muscle, smoothing lines and wrinkles.
As opposed to a surgical brow lift which can leave a patient looking perpetually surprised or as if they had just seen a ghost, neuromodulators can give a subtle lift to droopy brows and even add an attractive arch.
How do you turn that frown upside down? With Botox of course! Gravity and genetics can cause the corners of the mouth to turn downwards, leading to a permanent frown and a grumpy appearance (also known as resting b*tch face!). Neuromodulators can relax the muscles that pull down the corners of the mouth which gives a slight lifting effect and a much more approachable look.
In some people, frown lines can stretch beyond the mouth and form deep grooves on either side of the chin, running straight downwards from the corners of the mouth. These are called marionette lines because they resemble the mouth lines on a puppet.
Marionette lines are caused by a loss of facial volume and creases caused by the repeated contraction of the depressor anguli oris muscle. Neuromodulators can relax this muscle, reducing the downward pull, while facial fillers can replace lost volume and fill in deep creases.
Neck Lines and Sagging
Do you have sagging skin under your chin or small bands in your neck that change when you talk or make different facial expressions? The platysma muscle is a sheet-like muscle in your neck that stretches with age and begins to droop. These effects also worsen with contraction of the muscle.
Neuromodulators can be injected into the platysma muscle, causing it to relax and the bands to smooth out. Relaxing this muscle also causes the muscles in the back of the neck to win the tug-of-war and take over, essentially creating the same effect as if you grabbed the back of your neck.
If the tip of your nose takes a nosedive every time you smile or make other facial expressions, Botox, Dysport or Xeomin can be injected into the depressor nasi septi muscle. By relaxing this muscle, your nasal tip will stay lifted when you smile.
Upper Lip Lift
Neuromodulators can be injected around the lips to soften vertical lip lines and subtly roll the top lip upwards. Relaxing the muscles around the lips also makes it more difficult to purse the lips, and pursing makes them appear smaller and contracted while creating lip wrinkles and lipstick bleed.
Conversely, Botox and other neuromodulators can be used to improve the appearance of a “gummy smile” by reducing the movement of the upper lip. This prevents the upper lip from retracting and exposing as much gum tissue when you smile.
Constant flexing of the chin muscle, called the mentalis muscle, can cause the chin to look bumpy and dimpled. This condition is often called pebble chin or orange peel skin. Neuromodulators can be injected into the mentalis muscle, smoothing everything out.
Unfortunately they aren’t as cute as they sound. Bunny lines refer to the horizontal lines across the top of the nose that is formed by scrunching up the nose and contracting the alaeque nasi muscle. Just a few units of your favorite neuromodulator is all it takes to make bunny lines disappear.
Botox, Dysport or Xeomin, injected across the hairline at the very top of the forehead, gives a subtle lift while smoothing and tightening.
Neuromodulators can be injected along the jawline to make it look straighter and more defined and to also reduce sagging.
And last but not least, if you sweat excessively, and by excessively, we mean you have to change your shirt every few hours because you sweat through it, Botox may be a great option for you. Botox can temporarily reduce excess sweating by blocking signals to the nerves that create sweat. The underarms are the most common area to be treated for excess sweating but neuromodulators can also be used on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
Neuromodulator injections typically last three to four months depending on how your skin responds to the treatment and the area being injected.
Injections are virtually painless and usually feel like nothing more than a tiny pinch. Neuromodulator treatments are non-invasive and you can resume normal activities immediately after treatment.
You may experience slight swelling or redness at the injection sites, but this normally doesn’t last for more than a few minutes. You may also have slight bruising at the injection site, but nothing a little concealer can’t hide.
Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin are safe for all skin types and skin colors. However, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or people who have any neurological diseases should not use these injectables.
U. Med Spa offers free consultations with our incredibly skilled and talented cosmetic injector, Carol Robinson, PA-C. Carol is locally renowned and has been featured in D Magazine and was even a cover girl for D Beauty!
Give us a call at 972.943.UMED (8633) to schedule your next appointment or your free consultation.
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