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The million dollar question!

Everyone would like their anti-wrinkle treatments to last as long as possible, but unfortunately it will eventually wear off. The average duration of a Botox cycle is 3-5 months, so how can we get it to last as long as possible?

Why does Botox wear off?

When Botulinum Toxin is injected, the protein attaches itself to the nerve ending of the targeted muscles (eg your frown or crows feet). This means that these nerves no longer stimulate the target muscles to contract. Gradually these blocked nerve endings are replaced by new ones, which in turn stimulate the muscles to contract. We perceive this nerve regeneration as the anti-wrinkle injections “wearing off”. So what can we do to slow down this process? Here are my top 5 tips:

1) Protect your skin from the sun & avoid sunbeds

UV rays shatter the collagen bonds in our skin and destroy elastin. These rays cause inflammation at a cellular level to cause permanent skin damage. Botox is ineffective against these “static wrinkles” so always wear a high strength, broad spectrum mineral sunscreen, such as Alumier Sheer Hydration SPF 40 to protect your skin against harmful UV damage. This should be worn all year round during daylight hours, even indoors, as UV rays are always present summer and winter.

2) Reduce stress and stop smoking

Stress negatively affects the body and accelerates the signs of ageing. You may scowl or frown more when stressed, which activates the very muscles the Botox is trying to relax. Smoking massively ages your skin as the chemicals in tobacco damage your collagen and elastin, while the nicotine reduces blood flow and nutrients to your skin so it begins to wrinkle and sag prematurely.

3) Use an effective medical-grade skincare regimen

Ingredients like retinol stimulate cell turnover and collagen production, which makes the skin smoother with fewer fine lines. Medical grade skincare like Alumier MD contains clinically proven, medical grade ingredients that penetrate the skin deeply to effectively enhance its cellular function. Anti-oxidants such as Vitamins C & E protect the skin from cellular breakdown due to free radical damage. Effective moisturisers that hydrate the skin while still allowing it to breathe, leave the skin more healthy so reducing inflammation. Reduced inflammation decreases the speed at which your body breaks down proteins, enabling the Botox to last longer.

 4) Only ever use a highly trained, experienced practitioner

Effective anti-wrinkle treatment requires exact reconstitution and precise dosing of the Botulinum Toxin. It must be a bespoke treatment, administered correctly to the appropriate injection sites to maximise the effect but minimise the risk of side effects. Botox treatments are an easy skill to learn but extremely difficult to perfect. Unfortunately Aesthetic medicine is completely unregulated so anyone can train how to carry out Botox, but very few are experts. As a rule of thumb, good treatments aren’t cheap and cheap treatments aren’t good!

5) Have regular maintenance treatments

The best way to prolong the life of your Botox is to repeat the treatment at regular intervals. With repeated treatments, the muscles become “retrained” so they do not contract as strongly and will reduce in strength, therefore fewer treatments are needed in the long run. Regular treatments every 3 months or so also prevent the muscles returning to full strength, this means they cannot wrinkle the skin as effectively. It is important not to overdo it though, as “freezing” the muscles too much can lead to unwanted side effects. Build a relationship based on trust with your injector, so your treatments and outcomes can can be monitored over time and your long term results will continue to improve!

At my Fresh Aesthetics clinic in Portadown, my long term goal is to help look after your skin as you age, supporting you in your treatment choices with honest advice and expert care!