The many uses of anti-wrinkle injections

uses of anti-wrinkle injections

Anti-wrinkle injections have become synonymous with eradicating wrinkles and continues to be the most requested anti-ageing treatment around the world.

Anti-wrinkle injections use a neurotoxic protein that prevents the release of neurotransmitters that cause the muscles to relax and contract. Put simply, when injected it results in temporary paralysis of the muscles below the surface, which then gives a firmer, smoother effect to the appearance of the skin.

Although it is widely used within the cosmetic industry as it is effective and low risk for patients, there are many other uses for anti-wrinkle injections, some of which might surprise you…

Anti-wrinkle injections can help scars to heal

This is an interesting one, as when formed scars can be challenging to treat and can greatly affect people’s self-confidence. The body is very good at healing itself, but as a scar forms, it is often put under pressure from the body’s natural movements, particularly in areas such as the face. Anti-wrinkle injections have the ability to cause temporary paralysis of the target area makes it ideal for helping scars to heal. By creating a paralysed area around the area of trauma, anti-wrinkle injections give the tissue some uninterrupted time to heal, which can speed up the healing process and result in a ‘better’ scar.

New research published in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery evaluated the effectiveness of this use of anti-wrinkle injections. In a clinical trial carried out at a Shanghai University, use of anti-wrinkle injections during the healing of a facial scar was compared to a placebo and the treated scars were lower and narrower than the placebo ones.

Anti-wrinkle injections can help treat hyperhidrosis – overactive sweat glands

Over time, surgeons noticed that patients who were having facial anti-wrinkle injections as an anti-wrinkle treatment were noticing a welcome side effect, they were no longer sweating as much in the areas where the anti-wrinkle injections were administered. The short-term paralysis was affecting the sweat glands as well, which prompted a wave of medical testing to see just how effective anti-wrinkle injections could be as a treatment for hyperhidrosis. Tests provided effective and safe for patients, so anti-wrinkle injections are now used as a treatment for problem areas such as under the arms, on the palms of hands and soles of feet.

It can help prevent teeth grinding

This last one is still in its infancy in terms of research and a clear understanding of how anti-wrinkle injections really help here, but a recent study has shown that injecting this product into the jaws of patients who suffer from the involuntary grinding of their teeth, can reduce the problem.

Teeth grinding often happens overnight and patients regularly don’t realise that they are doing it until a partner becomes aware of the sound or they experience the side effects of nightly grinding. It can be really painful – headaches, jaw ache and damaged teeth can all result from grinding our teeth in our sleep, and the causes of it are usually psychological – often caused by underlying stress.

The ability of anti-wrinkle injections to smooth away lines and wrinkles was originally discovered as a side effect to its initial application to treat muscle spasms and it seems that the applications for this product continue to evolve.

What is the ribbon zone and why should it be the focus of anti-ageing treatment?

facial ageing concerns

Most of us may not have heard of the ‘ribbon zone’ as it is a term that’s been recently created by a Korean skincare brand to denote the area of the face under the eyes, around the cheeks and down the sides of the mouth. This is the area they believe is where most of the signs of facial ageing are located – and, therefore, it is now the focus of different treatments that can help make the effects of ageing less visible.

As we age we lose volume in the midface area and this is the cause of accelerated ageing – flattened cheeks, hollows under the eyes, folds forming between nose and mouth, a downward turn to the mouth and loss of definition on the jawline. This is because over time, fat and collagen cells deplete in number, leaving the skin covering shallower areas. According to researchers, the ribbon zone ‘loses elasticity and plumpness quicker than any other part of the face’ which is why it is prone to showing wrinkles and defects more so than other facial areas.

Anti-ageing creams and regimes may feel like something that many of us will happily embrace as we get much older, however, this new research suggests that the ribbon zone can begin to lose its elasticity from as young as age 30.

How can we best look after the ribbon zone?

There are many creams and moisturisers that can help skin retain moisture, which is a key component for helping preserve your skin’s elasticity and natural buoyancy. Applying creams regularly can help, and there are different creams that can help during the day compared with those that are designed to be applied before bed. Using a day cream that has a sun protection faction (SPF) within it is also advised, as this can help protect against harmful UV rays from the sun which accelerate loss of collagen.

Considering cosmetic surgery alternatives

If you’ve exhausted your creams, lotions and potions and feel that more technical intervention is required to help the appearance of the ribbon zone, there are a variety of options available that are specifically designed to help tackle problems in the ribbon zone.

Facelift – this popular operation focuses on the midface, and it helps reposition tissue, replaces lost volume and produces a more youthful look. The facelift procedure is designed to leave you with the most natural-looking results possible, and the treatment can remove wrinkles, fine lines and spare skin, as well as helping reduce the impact of any lost volume in the cheeks and wider ribbon zone.

Dermal fillers – temporary dermal fillers can restore lost volume as well as fill nasolabial folds (often referred to colloquially as smile or laughter lines) or fill tear troughs.

Muscle relaxing injections – as well as treating dynamic wrinkles in the upper third of the face, muscle relaxing injections can be used to correct a drooping mouth or restore definition in the jawline. Also administered by injection, muscle relaxing injections causes temporary paralysis of the areas under the skin, which can mask the appearance of wrinkles and last for up to four months.

For more information on treatments that can target ageing in the ribbon zone, call us on 020 7118 6887 to arrange a consultation.

The importance of trust in cosmetic surgery

trust in cosmetic surgery

Earlier this month, we saw the 16th Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine World Congress (AMWC) in Monte Carlo, Monaco, which showcases the latest developments in the aesthetic world. Leading aesthetic brand Allergan announced the findings of its global survey into the tricky topic of trust in medical aesthetics.

The survey was completed by 18,360 respondents – comprising 18,000 consumers and 360 medical aesthetics professionals. The survey participants came from 12 different countries, so a variety of perspectives is reflected in this research.

Three-quarters of those interviewed suggest that trust is important when considering having an ‘injectable toxin’ and 61% of practitioners believe that using ‘trustworthy’ products allows them to achieve the best results. However, although the majority of people interviewed wanted to look good, only 14% actually spent time researching products.

The survey reiterates what we have seen a lot of in terms of the decision-making process for cosmetic surgery – the practitioner themselves is the driving force for how trust is gained and maintained. Following that, there is an element of trusting the brands of products that they work with.

We know that it is vital to choose the right cosmetic surgeon for you – so just how can you ensure you get it right?

Run a check on publicly available databases

The General Medical Council (GMC) holds a list of all registered Specialist Plastic Surgeons. These are surgeons who have undertaken specific training in the field of Plastic Surgery. As well as this, there are a number of professional bodies who authorise and regulate medical professionals working in this field, such as the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).

Practitioners who are registered with these bodies are allowed to display their logo on their website – and if you are in any doubt you can also contact them to double check whether or not your preferred surgeon is bona fide.

Trust those who have experienced them first hand

Recommendations from other patients are important to read and will give you valuable insights about what to expect from the surgeon, the procedure and the aftercare. A number of reviews will no doubt be available on the surgeon’s website, and also on more public forums. You could even ask a surgeon if you can be put in touch with former patients, who might be willing to talk to you privately (assuming they are comfortable to be contacted).

Make sure you’re being given the full picture – if it sounds too good to be true, this could set alarm bells ringing

One of the most important aspects of the doctor/patient relationship is integrity. It is the surgeon’s responsibility to ensure you know all the pros and cons, and risks and rewards, of the surgery you’re considering. If you’re hearing all the good things, and none of the risks, then you may not be in the best position to make a fully informed decision, and it is a sign of a good surgeon if they are giving you the full picture before you progress with any treatment/operation.

More than just aesthetic? Why a tummy tuck can have health benefits you’re not aware of

tummy tuck benefits

It’s no surprise that the tummy tuck remains one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in the UK as a new study has just revealed that its benefits for women extend far the tummy tuck.

In 2016, the cosmetic surgery industry saw a slight dip in the UK, as reported by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), yet the tummy tuck was one of the few procedures for women that held strong with a 1% increase on the previous year.

Yo-yo dieting, rapid weight gain and loss and pregnancy can all take their toll on the ability of the stomach muscles and skin to bounce back. Eventually, their natural elasticity will wane, and both the muscles and skin will sag. Diet and exercise can help to a point, but for some, surgery is often the only feasible operation.

What does a tummy tuck entail?

A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgery procedure that tightens the muscles and removes loose skin and fat from the abdomen so that it appears flat and toned. It has been growing in popularity over recent years and has received a lot of interest due to the marketing of so-called ‘mummy makeovers’, designed to help women look better and feel more confident following childbirth.


Mr Paul Tulley will make an incision from hip to hip, low on the abdomen and access the muscle wall that extends up the abdomen. During pregnancy, these muscles separate to accommodate the growing baby and often they do not return to their normal position and women find it impossible to tone their abdomen up post pregnancy. After the stomach muscles have been tightened up, any excess skin can be removed and the belly button moved to a natural position on the reshaped abdomen.

A tummy tuck is a significant operation and full recovery can take a couple of months, but patients are typically highly satisfied with their results and receive a huge boost to their self-confidence.

There may be even more benefits to the tummy tuck

A recent study of over 200 women in Australia has found that as well as improving the visual appearance of the women’s abdominal area, it also brings a number of medical benefits as well. The study looked at women who had opted for a tummy tuck, combined with stomach muscle repair.

Interestingly, as well as reporting improvements in how patients regarded the look and feel of their tummy, they also reported less back pain following the surgery. Not only that, women have suggested that improved posture, greater abdominal tone/contouring and reduced ‘stress urinary incontinence’ – bladder weakness caused by strained muscles – have all been welcome side effects of going under the knife for this procedure.

To arrange a tummy tuck consultation at the Clarence Clinic in central London, call us on 020 7183 1559.

Understanding the psychological impact of cosmetic surgery

psychological impact of cosmetic surgery

There has been a lot of talk in medical circles in recent years about ‘joined up services’ and multidisciplinary approaches to tackling patient care. The theory behind the concept is that with greater collaborative working of the service providers needed at the different stages of medical processes, all contributors can work together more effectively, creating better overall care for the patient. Data protection legislation, staffing and budgetary restraints have, at times, made these processes less than easy to embed effectively, but the benefits of this way of working are clear to see.

According to an article published recently by the British Psychological Society, there needs to be a greater focus of embedding psychologists into the pre- and post-operative care for those undergoing cosmetic surgery. “Psychology is to plastic surgery what physiotherapy is to orthopaedics – you wouldn’t give someone a joint replacement without being clear you had physiotherapy lined up and someone engaged in their aftercare.”

That’s absolutely right and managing patient’s expectations, before, during and after a cosmetic surgery procedure is an extremely important part of the process. Media coverage of the cosmetic surgery industry has meant that we all know a lot more about what is available, and the highs and lows will always make the best stories to report. It’s the day-to-day expectations of the healing process and how you will feel once everything is completed, that is much more of an unknown: “The media tends to sensationalise cosmetic procedures… you hear about the success stories and also the botch jobs, but we know very little about what happens in the middle.”

How to get your mind and body prepared for the changes ahead

Supporting the need for other medical contributors such as psychologists, to help patients on their cosmetic surgery journey, is the need for greater information for patients about what to expect during their recovery. At the moment, the focus can often lean towards the physical elements, whereas the emotional elements are also extremely important.

The effects of anaesthetic are not always very well-known by patients and can have detrimental side effects during recovery. Patients are not always aware that the residual anaesthetic in the body can cause negative thoughts/feelings and also can make patients feel that they have little or no energy. Some pain relief medications can also leave patients with similar depressed feelings. Understanding the reasons for these feelings makes them much easier to rationalise, and much easier for patients to feel suitably optimistic about how the will be feeling once the side effects of the surgery have worn off and they are fully healed.

There is a real shift of perspectives now, and we’re seeing more and more that cosmetic surgeons are able to collaborate with different health professionals and are in a position to choose the right patient for the right procedure. This approach ensures greater chance of patient satisfaction as the surgeons are able to look out for the warning signs of patients who might be opting for cosmetic surgery in a hurry or who are motivated by factors which may not lead to the desired outcomes. Working cooperatively with other health professionals and ensuring open dialogue between the patient and the surgeon throughout, has a much greater likelihood for a satisfactory outcome on both sides.

Social media selfies driving facial cosmetic surgery

facial cosmetic surgery in selfies

Social media is all around us; from our phone and tablets, to computers and laptops, from articles in newspapers and reports in the news, we are constantly interacting with images and posts from social media.

Most of us also choose to actively engage with at least one social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and, for some of us, it is the first thing we do when we wake up in the morning and the last thing we look at before bed. Love it or hate it, there’s very little chance you can escape it.

Social media gives us access like never before to friends, peers and celebrities, showing off what they regard to be their best assets. Throw in some flattering camera angles and a filter or two, and you have the perfect storm of trying to create the perfect look.

Continued growth in procedures inspired by the selfie

Cosmetic surgeons are really noticing the difference. They are seeing many more patients citing the desire to look better in ‘selfies’ (the popular arm’s length photos typically taken with your smartphone).

Interestingly, according to a report published recently by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), this has grown exponentially, with 55% of facial plastic surgeons reporting patients in 2017 wanting to look better in selfies. This is a trend that has been growing year on year, and all indications suggest that this is likely to continue.

This craze is really appealing to the younger market too. Previously, facial surgery tended to be favoured by older people who were keen to try and mitigate the ageing process. Nowadays, if people desire a certain look they are keen to get it – and cosmetic surgery can be the solution.

Designing the perfect look – but maintaining a ‘natural’ appearance overall

So which procedures are people looking for in their pursuit for looks that they feel are more desirable? From fuller lips, to a smoother forehead, more defined cheeks to less visible wrinkles, the younger generation is keen to achieve the perfect ‘selfie’ look, but interestingly, they still wish the end result to look natural.

The report by AAFPRS suggests that “no matter the treatment, a natural-looking outcome is paramount for patients, with 33 percent stating a fear of looking unnatural as their top concern”.

The latest cosmetic surgery craze: belly button surgery

belly button surgery

There are few areas of the body that you can’t nip, tuck, tweak or smooth, but the latest cosmetic surgery trend focuses on a body part that typically receives less attention… the belly button.

Thanks in part to social media and its effect on the perceptions of perfection, the humble belly button can now be altered so that it looks more ‘flawless’ in the eyes of the beholder. There’s even a name for it; the cosmetic surgery procedure to modify your belly button is known as an umbilicoplasty.

There is a growing awareness that this type of procedure is available and acceptable, and surgeons are reporting a rise in demand for this new operation. They say that typically people consider this type of operation in spring/early summer, when the prospect of getting their midriff out becomes a reality again.

So, who has the type of belly button that others are keen to replicate?

Surgeons report that celebrities such as Jessica Simpson, Erin Heatherton and Emily Ratajowski have enviable belly buttons, the characteristics of which appear to be a ‘hooded, oval-shaped belly button’. Demand for a perfect button is growing, with surgeons in the UK reporting a 12% increase in demand in the last year.

Innie or outie?

The current trend appears to lean towards an ‘innie’, (hence the interest in Jessica Simpson and Emily Ratajowski) but there are some who favour a more discrete ‘outie’, as seen in Victoria’s Secret catalogues courtesy of Erin Heatherton. The crux though, according to plastic surgeon Dr David Shafer, a US board certified plastic surgeon and RealSelf contributor, is that the belly button is ‘midline’ or centred.

This operation is quick and straightforward, usually only taking around 30 to 40 minutes to complete, and the subsequent recovery time is fast as well.

Nevertheless, despite that fact that this is a relatively quick and easy operation (compared with some of the more complex cosmetic procedures available) you should ensure that you’re visiting a legitimate plastic surgeon, one that is authorised and regulated by professional bodies such as BAAPS (The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons). 

What happens if your weight fluctuates after a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck can help those who are struggling to shift excess fat from the abdominal region or who have found that they have an abundance of loose skin, from significant weight loss, the natural ageing process or multiple pregnancies. The tummy tuck procedure is well known and has helped many people achieve a smoother, firmer abdomen.

Before undergoing this type of procedure, surgeons will recommend that you reach a weight that you are happy with and that you’re not still working towards. The reason for this is that dramatic weight changes following a tummy tuck operation can affect how effective the results are.

What happens if weight creeps back up once the operation has been done?

Gaining a little weight won’t cause major problems following a tummy tuck, so there is no need to worry unduly if you over-indulge on holiday or over Christmas, for example. If you gain a significant amount of weight then this will affect the look of your abdominal region, as the surgery will be tailored to your weight and body mass at the time of the operation.

If you do notice that you’re gaining weight and work to address this reasonably quickly then you’ll soon notice that the results you were seeing post-operatively return. The longer you carry excess weight, the harder it will be to bring your body back to how it looked when you were the weight when the operation was newly undertaken.

If you gain a significant amount of weight then you are at risk of stretching the skin again, which could put you back to square one. Falling pregnant after having had a tummy tuck will undoubtedly affect the operation, so it’s sensible to ensure that your family plans are complete before choosing this type of surgery.

And what if I lose weight?

The same principle applies to weight loss. If you lose a bit of weight then this will not affect the results of the operation, but significant weight loss is not advised. If you begin or continue, to lose weight once you’ve had a procedure like this, your skin can loosen and become less tight/firm.

Losing weight is not as risky as gaining weight when considering your op’s longevity, but neither is ideal and both should be avoided if possible. The best advice following this type of procedure is to maintain a good diet and undertake a sensible amount of exercise to remain fit and healthy while keeping your weight as stable as possible.

Tummy tuck vs lipo? Which is the best option for me?

If you’re unhappy with the girth and/or appearance of your abdominal region and have reached the furthest you can go with diet and exercise, then it may be time to consider surgical options.

There are three main options that can be considered to help smooth out and firm up your tummy:

Tummy tuck

• Liposuction

• A combination of both

Choosing a tummy tuck

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is an operation where skin and muscles can be tightened up, leaving a smoother, firmer look and feel. A tummy tuck is ideal if you have got sagging skin, caused by factors such as ageing, weight loss or pregnancy. Some people have better skin elasticity than others. If your skin has lost some of its natural elasticity, commonly after pregnancy, or didn’t have a great deal in the first place, you may find that no amount of exercise is helping affect the look of your tummy.

Tummy tucks don’t just address weakened skin, they deal with weakened abdominal muscles too. Often following pregnancy, the abdominal muscles become weaker and the abdomen may bulge. While exercises can help strengthen these muscles, depending on the amount of damage that has occurred, these may only fully recover with a surgical helping hand.

Choosing liposuction

For people who are suffering with stubborn pockets of fat, liposuction may be the best option. Via a series of small incisions, surgeons are able to extract fatty tissue from under the skin, leaving a smoother, leaner appearance. If there is sufficient skin elasticity, the skin should shrink to fit the newly contoured region in the weeks following the liposuction.

Considering both body reshaping procedures

It may be that a hybrid approach of liposuction and a tummy tuck represent the best fix for you. In many cases, surgeons will recommend undergoing liposuction first and waiting to see what benefits this brings. By around three to four months following liposuction you should be able to assess whether or not the results are satisfactory enough. If you still feel that this has not addressed your concerns, then a tummy tuck can be considered as the next step.

Some patients will not wish to stagger this and may choose to have both done at the same time. During your initial consultations, you’ll be able to talk to your surgeon in depth about your preferred course of action and they will offer guidance accordingly.