Everyone knows Botox treats wrinkles of course. Chances are, these injections are the most popular treatments at your medical spa as men and women, young and old, choose botulinum toxin to correct, and prevent, their facial wrinkles. As great as botulinum toxins are for easing the look of glabellar lines and other muscle-based wrinkles, this versatile substance can do so much more, with the list of cosmetic and medical uses ever expanding. If you offer wrinkle injections at your medical spa, it could be time to consider offering clients these other treatment options, if you have not already.
1. Rhinoplasty Alternative
Nose jobs can involve major surgery, but there are other options. In certain cases, botulinum toxin injections may be able to adjust the look of the nose. In those whose depressor muscle pulls down on their nose, turning their nose down as they smile, injections into that muscle can adjust the nose to a more relaxed, lifted position. Although this makes for a less-invasive alternative to a nose job, not everyone is suitable for this treatment. If the client’s nasal tip is low no matter their facial expression, these injections will not help.
2. Lip Balancing
If you have a client who shows too much of their gums as they smile, they may be in luck. Some doctors inject botulinum toxin into the upper lip, relaxing the retractor muscles. This lowers the lip line to cover more of the gums, allowing clients to show off their pearly whites without the gummy smile.
3. Jawline Softening
Some clients grind their teeth when they are angry, some clients grind their teeth in their sleep. Either way, all that grinding can build up the jaw muscles, causing the jawline to become more square and masculine. Not only that, grinding can cause pain and tooth damage. By injecting botulinum toxin into the masseter muscle, doctors help relax the jaw, softening its shape to a more feminine look.
4. Breast Lift
Just as botulinum toxin injections help ease wrinkles, they may also help with another consequence of aging and gravity: sagging breasts. Some doctors in the U.K. have been performing “Breastox” injections, helping perk up sagging breasts after childbirth or aging. The procedure involves injecting botulinum toxin into particular pectoral muscles. With these specific muscles relaxed, other shoulder muscles contract to pick up the slack. This helps subtly lift breasts for a perkier look. However, the treatment is not for everyone. Women who would most benefit would be a C cup or lower with only minimal sagging. Although the procedure may be catching on in the U.K., some plastic surgeons remain skeptical. The Breastox injections only give a subtle lift and are temporary, so in the long term, it may actually be more cost-effective for clients to choose a more traditional breast lift.
5. Neck and Decollete Lift
Lines can form on the neck and decollete area with aging and sun damage, not just the face. Doctors may apply a “Botox necklace” above and below horizontal neck lines, helping relax muscles and smoothing the look of skin. Neck muscles may also pull on facial muscles, so injections to relax neck muscles can help act as a face lift.
While sweating is a normal bodily function, some clients sweat more than usual, and others are just concerned about visible sweat stains. Whatever the case, botulinum toxin injections can help reduce excessive sweating. The injections seem to block the chemical signal for sweat glands to produce sweat. With no signal to sweat, the injected area remains drier. The procedure involves injecting the botulinum toxin near the sweat glands, just under the skin. For seven months, treated clients can find themselves free of embarrassing sweat stains. Although doctors may inject the toxin into underarms, palms, and feet, some clients instead opt for forehead or scalp injections. Injections into those areas can help prevent hair from becoming sweaty and wet, allowing blowouts to last longer.
6. Hair Loss
Speaking of hair, some doctors noticed a strange effect of botulinum toxin injections: they seemed to help reverse thinning hair. Some believe botulinum toxin injections help relax muscles, which in turn enhances blood flow and brings more nutrients in to nourish the growing hair. If the hair follicle is still in good enough condition, this could help improve hair growth. That said, there is little research into botulinum toxin injections for hair growth. This one use may be filed under wait-and-see.
Acne can be tough on teens, but many of your clients likely still struggle with acne breakouts well into adulthood. Some doctors have tried botulinum toxin injections as an alternative acne treatment. Although large doses of the toxin could relax facial muscles to the point of non-function, a few tiny, superficial injections on the forehead could help reduce acne in this area. Botulinum toxin may be acting to reduce sweat, helping clear pores, or as some research suggests, it may be limiting oil production. Whatever the case, some doctors have found the injections to be helpful for acne control, giving clients another option in their acne battle.
Some doctors treating clients for forehead wrinkles noticed a strange side effect: clients with migraines claimed to have fewer headache days per month. Studies seem to support this effect, with various injections on the head and neck helping give clients some migraine relief. Although the injections will not completely get rid of the annoying headaches, fewer days without a migraine can be a big draw for migraine sufferers.
Some studies have suggested botulinum toxin treatments may have an unexpected effect: they may help alleviate depression. The idea is based on facial feedback theory, in which facial expressions can effect emotions, instead of just the other way around. Injections into the corrugator supercilii or procerus can help relax these frowning muscles, giving a client’s face a less negative look. Since they are no longer effectively frowning, their mood may feel uplifted thanks to facial feedback. Clinical trials are looking into this effect, with Botox as a potential depression treatment.
Other Botulinum Toxin Uses in Medicine
Botulinum toxins have a wide range of medical uses that go well beyond the cosmetic. One of the original uses for this wonder drug was eye disorder treatment. By relaxing muscles, the injections can help ease eyelid spasms and allow crossed eyes to return to a normal position. Doctors have also long used the toxin to treat neck spasms and other muscle spasms and stiffness. Injections into the bladder can help treat incontinence and overactive bladder, easing the overactive muscles that trigger the urge to urinate too much. When babies are born with a cleft lip, their doctor may inject botulinum toxins to relax muscles in the area, limiting movement and allowing the lip to heal properly after surgery. Some doctors are experimenting with botulinum toxins to treat cold hands, relaxing muscles around constricted blood vessels. When these vessels are allowed to enlarge, blood flow improves, reducing the feeling of cold. Allergan itself, the maker of the brand name Botox, is experimenting with using the injections after heart surgery to prevent abnormal heartbeat patterns. The injections may even help with sexual disorders, such as premature ejaculation or female painful sex, taking advantage of the toxin’s muscle-relaxing properties. By relaxing penis muscles, the injections may help delay ejaculation, and Allergan is even looking into using the injections to treat erectile dysfunction. For women with pelvic floor muscle spasms or vaginal contractions, the injections help relax muscles to ease symptoms. It seems that someone, somewhere, is always looking into more ways to use botulinum toxins in medicine.
Not all these botulinum toxin uses may be approved by regulatory authorities in your area. Always be sure you have the appropriate knowledge and training before attempting these or any other approved or off-label treatments.
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