Facial exercises could speed up the wrinkle-reducing effects of Botox by one day, a new study says.
Researchers say raising the forehead as if surprised or knitting the eyebrows together gets faster results in banishing frown lines and crows’ feet.
Botox can give patients a more youthful appearance that lasts for several months, but it can sometimes take as long as a week for the effects to be noticeable.
‘Patients often leave getting their Botox to the last minute,’ said lead study author Dr Murad Alam, a professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
‘If people get their [injection]right before a social engagement or important work event, they may worry it won’t start working in time. Speeding up the effects could be important to people.’
Botox is the brand name of a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinim.
In high concentrations, the neurotoxin can lead to botulism, which is a rare but serious form of poisoning in which toxins attack the body’s nerves.
But, when diluted in saline solution and injected in very small concentrations, it merely prevents signals from reaching muscles, which paralyzes them.
Although mainly used to treat the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, Botox can also be used to treat excess sweating, migraines and leaky bladders.
According to Medical News Today, there were 6.3 million botulinum toxin procedures performed in 2013.
For the study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the team looked at 22 adult women who were treated with Botox for forehead wrinkles.
Half of the women were asked to exercise their facial muscles four hours post-injection and the other half were not.
Exercises includes furrowing the eyebrows and raising the forehead up and down in three sets of 40 repetitions, with 10 minute breaks in between.
Six months later, after the injections’ effects had worn off, participants were treated again.
The participants and the dermatologists rated the appearance of forehead wrinkles after both sets of treatments.
Both groups said wrinkles were improved between two and three days after injections were given when followed by facial exercises.
When the Botox was followed without exercise, wrinkles were rated as having improved between three and four days later.
However, two weeks later, there was no difference in ratings between participants who exercised their muscles and those who had not.
The exercises also did not make a difference in how long the treatment lasted before it wore off.
More than two-thirds of participants, or 68 percent, believed muscles relaxed and wrinkle reduction occurred faster with facial exercises.
‘Botox binds to receptors on nerve cells to relax muscles, and it is possible that exercise speeds this binding process,’ said Dr Alam.
‘For patients who need quick results, the exercise may be worth the effort. Patients appreciate having more control over their care.’