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A recent study may have found evidence that Botox Cosmetic treatments not only have an effect on the muscles that are treated but also a direct anti-aging effect on the skin.

We know that Botox Cosmetic diminishes the appearance of fine lines and the strength of the muscles in which it is injected, resulting in more relaxed dynamic wrinkles.

We also know that with repeated Botox Cosmetic treatments, at the recommended interval of 4 months, unwanted lines and wrinkles eventually fade.

However, an unexpected, yet desirable effect that is often observed with repeated Botox Cosmetic treatments is that, not only do wrinkles fade but in fact, the skin overlying the areas treated takes on a more youthful overall appearance ie. pores are smaller, the skin is more radiant, fine lines are less apparent, etc…

Until recently, the scientific explanation behind this phenomena was still not understood. But a new study*, recently published in JAMA Facial and Plastic Surgery, may have found part of the puzzle.

In this study, 43 women were injected with Botox Cosmetic in the forehead, between the brows and in the crow’s feet. The researchers then measured the skin elasticity in these areas at different intervals over the course of 4 months. Their measurements clearly demonstrated that the skin elasticity of these 43 women was increased post Botox Cosmetic injection.

What the researchers are proposing is that Botox not only acts on the the muscle cells but also directly stimulates skin cells, known as fibroblasts, to produce more collagen, elastin and other substances that act to tighten the skin.

If correct, these findings have important implications for anti-aging medicine and for the role of Botox Cosmetic in the fight against aging skin. It may well be that in the near future, we will develop new Botox treatment protocols, where Botox Cosmetic will be injected much more superficially, i.e. at the skin level, with the direct goal of increasing the skin’s collagen production and elasticity.

I believe this study further solidifies the role that Botox Cosmetic has as a non surgical treatment option in the pursuit of maintaining a younger looking skin.

* Alterations in the Elasticity, Pliability, and Viscoelastic Properties od Facial Skin After injection of Onabotulinum Toxin A, James P. Bonaparte, MD, MSc, FRCSC; David Ellis, MD, FRCSC

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