Botox has become a household name in recent years primarily due to its popularity in cosmetic usage. Botox has been used in the medical field for many years to treat medical conditions such as cervical dystonia, chronic migraine, eye twitching and lazy eye. In this article, we are going to focus on cosmetic usage of Botox.
Before we go into the details, we need to be clear that “Botox” generally means Botulinum toxin A. As of now, there are 4 approved brands of Botulinum Toxin A to be used in Singapore for medical and cosmetic purposes – Botox, Dysport, Xeomin and Neuronox. For the purpose of discussion, we will use the term Botox because it is a common household name. It is like how we refer to all portable cassette devices as Walkman (if you are old enough to know this) and all diapers as Pampers.
What can Botox do?
Improve Facial Wrinkles
Botox works by blocking certain chemical signals from nerves that cause muscles to contract. By doing so, it can reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles caused by excessive facial expressions. The most common use of Botox injections is to temporarily relax the facial muscles that cause wrinkles on the upper part of the face.
Some examples of commonly treated areas are:
Forehead wrinkles – Lines that appear on your forehead when you raise your eyebrows.
Frown lines – Wrinkles between your eyebrows that make you appear unfriendly or unhappy.
Crows feet – Wrinkles that appear at the corner of your eyes when you smile.
Bunny lines – Fine lines that appear when you scrunch up your nose.
Chin wrinkles – Wrinkles at your chin that make your chin appear to have multiple small dimples.
Marionette lines – Wrinkles at the corner of your mouth that make you appear sad.
Perioral lines – Fine lines around your mouth (google Helen Hunt for an example).
Each treatment result with Botox can typically last for about 3-4 months, after which repeated treatments will be required.
Botox is commonly used in the cosmetic field to improve the appearance of a squared or broad jaw. Treatment is also sometimes known as jaw reduction or jaw slimming. This treatment is more commonly done for women. However, due to the popular K-pop culture, we are also seeing a rise in male patients having this treatment done. In K-pop culture, a smaller or more feminine male’s face is perceived as looking more attractive.
If you dislike the fact that you are blessed with a broad muscular jaw due to large jaw muscles (also known as masseter muscles), Botox treatment can help reduce the broad jaw appearance.
Once Botox is being injected into the masseter muscles, it will reduce the muscle activity and muscle contraction. The muscles will then shrink in size gradually over a few weeks, the same way as how your biceps shrink over time if you do not work out. This way, you will observe a gradual reduction in your broad jaw appearance.
Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
Botox has the ability to temporarily block the secretion of the chemical that is responsible for activating the sweat glands. This way, it can “switch off” sweating at the area where it has been injected.
Areas that are commonly treated with Botox for excessive sweating are underarms, palms and forehead. After injection, improvement can be seen within 1-2 weeks. The effect of sweat reduction can last for about 4-6 months, after which repeated treatment will be required to maintain the efficacy of the treatment.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Botox can be used to improve excessive teeth grinding, the same way as how it helps with jaw reduction.
Most people with bruxism have no symptoms and are not aware they are doing it. Some may experience facial pain and headaches especially when they wake up in the morning. If you wake up every morning with a headache, you may well be suffering from bruxism. By injecting Botox into the masseter muscles, it reduces the muscle contraction and shrinks the muscles over time. This way, it also reduces the severity of bruxism.
Botox, in particular Dysport brand of botulinum toxin A, can be used for a skin lifting procedure known as Dysport dermalift. Dysport dermalift is a unique non-surgical face lifting technique invented by a renowned plastic surgeon in South Korea, popularised by its efficacy, immediate and long lasting result.
This treatment involves multiple micro-injections of Dysport into the skin at specific points on the face. This stimulates the fibroblast cells in the skin to produce more collagen. It also stimulates cellular cytoskeleton of the skin cells to bind to more elastin and collagen. These changes result in an instant skin tightening and face lifting effect which improves in the next 1-2 weeks.
Body Parts Slimming
Although not popular in this part of the world, Botox can be used to slim body parts such as calves and upper arms. Botox, when injected into specific areas of calf or upper arm muscles, can effectively shrink the bulk of the muscles and make the calf or upper arm appear slimmer over a period of time. The slimming results can usually last for about 4-6 months.
However, this procedure can only be performed by highly trained doctors because of the risks involved.
In summary, besides treating wrinkles, Botox can also be used to treat many other conditions. It is very important to note that in Singapore, Botox can ONLY be administered by professionally trained doctors. Botox treatment is safe but is not without risks. Therefore, if you wish to get Botox treatment done, please remember to discuss with your doctors in detail before the treatment.