Will wonders never cease? Ever since they arrived on the rejuvenation scene in the 1990s, Botox and it’s neuromodulator brethren have been redefining faces. But their powers don’t just stop at releasing the lines of movement for a few months; researchers keep finding out more benefits. Here are some biggies you’ll be happy to learn.
Question: Aside from ending in the letter ‘X’, what do Kleenex, Xerox and Botox have in common?
Answer: All are proprietary eponyms, that is, specific brand names that have become synonymous with their categories in common usage regardless of brand. For example, no one ever says, “I’m about to sneeze, please pass me the facial tissue” but “Hand over the Kleenex, pronto!”
For example, the term Botox® (a registered trademark of Allergan) has come to mean all prescription injectable neuromodulator wrinkle releasers in the minds of the general public. (Some people mistakenly confuse it for fillers too which it most definitely is not.) But for the record, at SKINFIVE, we also use the equally excellent neuromodulator Dysport® (a registered trademark of Ipsen Biopharm Limited). So for the sake of this posting, we’re going to refer to both by their scientific abbreviation BoNT (a benign derivative of the botulinum toxin) for their active ingredient.
For the last few decades, researchers have been busy looking into BoNT. The fact that it works to dry out hyperhidrosis (sweaty armpits, feet and hands) and treat cluster migraines, in addition to its original ophthalmological applications of treating tics and crossed eyes, got a lot of press. But BoNT has a few more effects on skin physiology that are intriguing too:
- It can work over time
According to the clinical study done in 2011, a series of BoNT injections over time offers a significant diminishment of existing wrinkles and helps prevent new ones in addition to delivering temporary smoothness; in other words, those getting regular touch-ups will require less and less material to achieve their desired result.
- It can help ease the mood
Oftentimes, the glabellar fold (aka the dreaded ‘elevenses’) between the brows can impart an angry look to the face even on those who are not angry. An intriguing study done in 2010, showed that after BoNT injections, a significant number of clinically depressed subjects felt somewhat less blue. This is likely due to a positive feedback loop rather than properties of the material itself. That is, a face that is pleasant and looks relaxed encourages a pleasant reaction in others as versus a sourpuss expression that triggers a negative response. The more positive reactions the depressed subjects experienced from others, the less depressed they felt.
- It may increase collagen production
A study done in 2012 showed that BoNT might have a stimulating effect on collagen formation, the connective tissue that gives spring its youthful spring and bounce. But the researchers posit that this tightening may be because of the needle pricks that cause micro-bruises that initiate growth factors leading to collagen synthesis. We’re not sure yet, but either way, those who have experienced this ‘mini-lift’ are mighty pleased.
- It can help clear acne
According to the study, conducted by Chicago dermatologist Anil Shah, M.D., BoNT injections can reduce pore size and lower sebum (oil) production just as it can dry up sweat gland production. Anecdotally, we’ve noticed this too at SKINFIVE. A client will come in to get her crow’s feet treated but then notice that blemishes on her forehead have cleared up. It doesn’t happen for everyone but often enough that we’ve noticed it.