Friday, May 20, 2011

Botox or Better Wrinkle Injections for the Neck

Wrinkle Injections for the Neck Overview

Aging of the skin is caused by genetic factors or by external influences, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. During aging, thinning of the skin and slower production of collagen and elastic fibers cause wrinkles to develop. External factors that speed aging of skin include sun exposure, repetitive facial movements and smoking. The skin on the face and neck is especially prone to wrinkles because it receives more sun exposure than other body parts.


Collagen is a fibrous protein that makes up 80 percent of the total volume of the skin. It helps attach skin to the underlying connective tissue and bones and it keeps the skin supple and firm. Collagen does not last forever but turns over slowly with new collagen replacing the old. As we age, collagen breaks down more quickly and gets replaced more slowly. As a result, a smaller supply of collagen exists in older skin. This makes older skin more likely to sag and to form wrinkles.

Collagen Injections

One approach to remove wrinkles from the neck or face is injection of collagen to fill out the skin and smooth its surface. Collagen fillers contain either human or bovine collagen and both of these are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this use, according to the FDA. A dermatologist performs collagen injections in the office with a local anesthetic added to the collagen to minimize pain. Discomfort is minimal, according to the Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery, and any swelling should disappear within two days. Results are apparent right away and typically last two to three months.

Other Cosmetic Fillers

Several other injectable fillers might improve the appearance of the neck. These include restylane, a hyaluronic acid gel that is a natural product that binds water, and calcium hydroxyapatite, another natural filler used in gel form. When injected, each of these compounds plumps the skin and relieves wrinkling. Another approach is injection of synthetic micro-spheres that are biocompatable, according to the FDA, and are not absorbed by the body so they remain permanently in place.

Botox for Wrinkle Injections:

Contraction of muscles under the skin can also cause wrinkles. Botox is an injectable drug that paralyzes muscles and reduces wrinkling in the overlying skin. According to the Consumer Guide to Cosmetic Surgery, Botox reduces wrinkles by 80 percent and the effect lasts up to five months. Botox injection is an office procedure and several injections are sometimes performed. Botox is also injected to relax vertical bands of muscle that appear in the neck of an older person. Although the FDA has only approved Botox for treatment of wrinkles between the eyebrows, doctors nevertheless use it often for other purposes such as injections into the neck.

Risks and Side Effects

Injection of a cosmetic filler or of Botox carries a risk of infection, bruising or an allergic reaction leading to a rash. Occasionally bumps of skin called nodules may form that might require surgical removal. Rarely, injection into a blood vessel may cause skin death and some disfiguring. Anyone with a known allergy to cow proteins or to the anesthetic lidocaine should avoid collagen injections. In addition, Botox carries a risk of headache, nausea or flu-like symptoms. The FDA warns of a potentially serious, life-threatening risk if Botox spreads too far from the injection site. However, it states that typical use of Botox for cosmetic purposes is generally safe.


American Academy of Dermatology: Causes of Aging Skin

MedlinePlus: Botox

FDA: Wrinkle Relief--Collagen

Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery: Botox Injections

Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery: Collagen Injections

"USA Today"; Patients Take a Shot in the Neck

image by Ragne Kabanova from

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