Ever since the invention of Botox in the 1980s, women and men everywhere have been obsessed with the injectable to cheat the ageing process—aesthetically, at least. How does it work?
Botox is a neurotoxin that temporarily prevents the communication between your nerves and your muscle. In other words, Botox paralyzes the injected muscle, usually for a period of three to six months. “Therefore, if you try to frown, you won’t be able to, which is not a bad thing. Some studies have actually shown that regular treatments with the neurotoxin can For anti-ageing purposes specifically, doctors use Botox to treat dynamic. Dynamic wrinkles are only visible as you’re making a facial expression. The goal of treatment is to prevent the formation of static lines altogether.
Here’s the thing, though: Because the drug has only been around for 30 years, there aren’t a lot of stories about the long-term effects of Botox.
Curious about the effects that Botox can have on your skin after 10 or more years of use?
Firstly, let’s start with the biggest protagonist for our skin and face: Gravity
We should think of Gravity as something you delay but you can not avoid. Unfortunately, aging skin has it’s signature saggy look due to the 9.8m/s2 pull, and Botox is here to help us counteract the premature sagging process.
Your facial muscles will learn not to frown naturally
After using Botox continuously for years, your muscles will become trained not to make wrinkle-forming expressions as aggressively. This works two ways: First, Once you are used to the feeling of having less movement in the forehead after neurotoxin, you will be more aware of making the move when the toxin wears off.
The muscles will weaken from lack of use
If you didn’t move your legs for 20 years, eventually those muscles would shrink and become quite weak. The same thing can happen to the muscles in your face. If used regularly, over a prolonged period of time, without interruption, eventually the muscle will atrophy from lack of use. That’s not to say your entire face will atrophy. As the Botox is injected in discrete locations on the face, eventually only those treated muscles will atrophy, leaving other muscles to maintain full volume.
So, no, your face isn’t going to look stone-cold. There are plenty of muscles that are working full time to allow for normal facial expression. If given a break from Botox, muscles will regain strength.
Mild discoloration or a “Wavy” texture could appear
Again, not typical, that with the skin thinning, some patients notice a visible waviness of the skin overlying the muscles treated, as well as discolouration. On expression, the forehead may even appear like hills and valleys.
Luckily, this side effect is totally preventable. It can be avoided by changing the pattern of injection to give smaller amounts of toxin in a more uniform distribution to get an identical effect without this problem, or stopping the toxin for an extended period of time.
You may need less Botox over time
Years of Botox use may mean you’ll need less and less for maintenance over time. With appropriate frequency and amount, your muscles become less strong and you may not need as much Botox or need it as frequently. When your muscles are ‘trained’ not to move, it helps with the ageing process and preventing wrinkles.
You’ll still look years younger even if you stop
Many people fear that their faces will become dramatically wrinkled when they stop Botox. If you choose not to continue those muscles staying out of use while Botox is active can delay the ageing process; it reduces movement when injected, slowing the formation of wrinkles. In other words, your skin won’t develop lines overnight to make up for a lost time—you’ll still enjoy looking years younger relative to your age, depending on how long you kept a Botox regimen.
Skin will look brighter and less wrinkled
Aside from what can happen after long-term use of Botox, one thing is for sure: If you continuously get Botox for 10+ years you will certainly look much younger and have fewer wrinkles. Your skin will look much smoother and the appearance of fine lines and deep wrinkles will be greatly diminished.
You can age gracefully without having any wrinkles on the forehead, glabella, or around the eyes, when you may have had the propensity to develop them. That’s the beauty of Botox. (FYI, the glabella is that smooth part of your forehead above and between your eyebrows.)