Botulinum toxin is a powerful chemical agent and its use and administration is restricted to
prescription by a doctor on a named-patient basis. There are 5 known types of Botulinum
toxin, and we use type A. It should only ever be administered after careful medical
examination of the patient.
Essentially, Botulinum toxin and fillers are used for the cosmetic treatment of facial lines, and
the rejuvenation of skin and underlying tissues. However, from a purely functional perspective,
Botulinum toxin can be used to control muscle spasm, pain and excessive sweatiness, and in
these cases may be available to patients on the NHS.
In its more common cosmetic usage, Botulinum toxin works by stopping the transmission of
nerve impulses to the facial muscles that contract and cause wrinkles, such as frown-lines
between the eyebrows and crows’ feet around the eyes. Unable to frown or perform other
basic muscle contractions, patients find that about a week after a Botulinum toxin injection
their facial wrinkles smooth out, giving them a more relaxed and youthful look. This effect
begins to wear off after two-to-three months, at which point the facial muscles start to work
again. This is usually the time when most patients come back for a top-up.
Fillers work by bulking up facial tissue, and can be used to fill in lines and contour dips in the
face. Most fillers are temporary, lasting between six months and two years. You should be
very careful if considering permanent fillers because they often have undesirable late
complications which are very difficult to treat.
2. Where should I go for more information and support?
BAPRAS’ cosmetic surgery checklist
Department of Health – Cosmetic surgery
BAAPS - British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons