Botox providers now tout an array of new uses for the popular wrinkle reducer. Two areas that are currently being subjected to Botox injections are the jaw and neck. Whether or not you are satisfied with the results of Botox treatments to these areas will probably hinge on your expectations.
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Botox Cosmetic is a purified form of the botulinum toxin. During a Botox treatment, injections of the toxin are instilled into specific muscles. According to Botox maker Allergan, the toxin then binds with nerves and inhibits the transmission of nerve impulses. This results in a localized decrease of muscle activity. Relaxation of the muscles can minimize the appearance of prominent muscle lines and reduce the severity of lines and wrinkles. In studies, lines were reduced for up to 120 days.
Because Botox acts directly on the muscle, this tends to be where the best results are seen. Treatment to the “V” shaped platysmal neck bands that run vertically from chin to lower neck can help them to become less prominent. Similarly, thickened masseter muscles in the jaw line often relax and soften. Botox to the masseter muscles, the muscles active in chewing, can also subtly contour the sharp angles of a square jaw line.
Botox does not directly affect the skin. It only relaxes muscles. In some areas, the forehead for example, temporarily paralyzing the muscles in the brow allows the skin to relax and eliminates wrinkles. The neck and jaw are different though. Often the skin is loose and has lost much of its elasticity. Decreasing the movements of muscles in the jaw or neck may or may not result in smoothing jowls and neck wrinkles. Botox cannot pull up sagging skin.
Make sure you know exactly what you are looking for before you decide to pursue Botox for your neck and jaw. If you are looking for subtle sculpting of your face or a decrease in prominent neck bands, this may be the perfect course for you. However, if you're looking to eliminate hanging jowls or tighten sagging skin, another type of treatment may be more appropriate. Consult a board-certified dermatologist, plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon for a detailed evaluation of your expectations and treatment options.
While injecting Botox Cosmetic into the jaw and neck is legal, it is not an FDA-approved use of the drug. Research the drug, the procedure and the person who is going to administer the injections thoroughly. Information about Botox, its mode of action, contraindications and potential side effects is available at both the Allergan and FDA websites. Ask about the credentials, experience and track record of any Botox provider you consider. Whenever possible, have a board certified dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon or plastic surgeon perform the procedure.