Botox and the other convenient skin treatments
There are numerous methods of treating wrinkles. These range from the debilitation of muscles (botulinumtoxin) to filler injections (hyaluron acid, polylactide, endogenous fat) or chemical renewal (AHA, TCA, etc) through to face lifts.
Botulinumtoxin is a highly effective protein-based poison which functions at nerve level in the body, predominantly targeting the transmission of signals from the brain to the muscles. Depending on the dose, the contraction of muscles is weakened, or becomes completely debilitated. Other synonyms widely used for the designated botulinumtoxin are BTX, botox or botulinustoxin. The use of the substance botox to combat wrinkles has become so common and has been publicised so freely in the media that the term ‘botox’ is now used independently of the actual drug and has become widely known to represent the entire treatment procedure.
Botox injections have now become a recognised salon procedure. This said, botox is not an undisputed method and, all things considered, is also not entirely innocuous in character, as: given that botulinumtoxin is a strong poison, every batch produced is first tested on mice in order to establish the optimal dose. It is injected into the abdominal cavity at varying levels of concentration and half of the mice die as a result of respiratory paralysis. Disturbing don’t you think?!
Face-lifts or ‘lifting’ were first practiced in the 1970s and became known as surgical or ‘cosmetic’ procedures or ‘cosmetic surgery’, performed on the face of a patient usually under general anaesthetic. The skin on the face along with the underlying tissue is tightened to increase firmness. The procedure aims to give the patient a younger appearance. An incision is first made behind the hair-line on the head just above the forehead or behind the ears. The skin is thereby shortened, leading to an immediate firming of the skin. The tissue beneath the skin can also be shortened and thus tightened via this incision. The same principle is used to eliminate wrinkles around the neck area (neck lifting).
3. Other Methods
A further option available for patients wishing to achieve a firmer facial appearance, is facial implant surgery. Synthetic implants in the form of strips or tubes of a material such as GoreTex, or threads of metal (such as gold) are placed under the skin.
With the help of fine needles, the GoreTex or gold threads are placed under wrinkles or loose tissue and are left there. With this procedure, creases on the forehead are filled from underneath. Thin threads are netted under the skin to support weakened muscle structures and to enable the skin to recover its elasticity and smoothness. Thicker threads are inserted beneath deep creases and require 2 stitches. The theory is that the production of collagen and elastin is stimulated through the body’s natural reaction to the foreign material, with the result that the symbiosis of natural connective tissue with the threads and the newly constructed connective tissue will lead to a smoothing out of the wrinkles.
The procedure is applied under local anaesthetic and takes at least 30 minutes. The patient may experience some swelling which should disappear after two days. An additional after-effect may also be a blueish discolouration which can last for up to seven days.
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