Neuromodulators help rejuvenate the face by minimizing wrinkles and fine lines so that one would look healthier and softer. Through the interference of the nerves and muscles, signals prevent the contraction of muscles, which, in return, smoothens wrinkles. Because they relax overactive muscles, the facial contours are also improved towards that look of a more rested and refreshed appearance.
Facial lines develop as time progresses since diminished collagen or damage caused by free radicals can become more evident as we get older. Deep wrinkles are commonly caused by facial expressions and contractions like frowning, squinting, or raising eyebrows. Many people start seeing these unwanted wrinkles and fine lines appearing in their mid-30s and 40s. The earlier you begin reducing facial lines and treating your skin, the better the chances of the permanent prevention of damage to your skin, saving your face from premature aging.
Today, we’re going to help explain precisely how neuromodulators work and the different types of procedures that involve neuromodulators.
What are Neuromodulators?
Neuromodulators are only one of the many cosmetic services that most clinics and medspas utilize to give patients a smooth, youthful appearance. If you’ve never heard of neuromodulators, we bet you’ve heard of Botox before, right? Botox is one type of neuromodulator, among others.
Neuromodulation, defined by the International Neuromodulation Society, is the alteration of the activities of our nerves by targeting the delivery of a stimulus like electrical stimulation or chemical agents. This process is specific to neurological sites in the body.
Essentially, neuromodulators are messengers released from neurons that affect the transmission of these electrical signals between neurons. This term is quite different compared to a neurotransmitter. Although neurons also release neurotransmitters as messengers, they are released to carry messages across specific junctions called synapses. Neurotransmitters diffuse across this junction and affect one or, at times, two or more postsynaptic neurons, muscle cells, or other effector cells.
Specific Use of Neuromodulators
Neuromodulators are typically used as wrinkle-relaxing injections made from botulinum toxin – commercially known as Botox Cosmetic, Dysport, Xeomin, or Jeuveau – that treat wrinkles and frown lines crow’s feet. A small amount of the neuromodulator gets injected directly into the muscles lying underneath the skin’s targeted area, which causes it to relax, gradually smoothing out the appearance of the overlying skin. Effects are typically long-lasting for about three months.
As the only neuromodulator that’s FDA-approved, Botox treats excessive sweating and crow’s feet – it’s been cleared by the FDA for its most treatment options. However, practitioners can still use any neuromodulator type for these treatments. Their application for these purposes is called “off-label” use, which means that they are being used in a way that was not part of their FDA clinical approval. A physician must inform you if any neuromodulator is being used “off-label.”
Common Types of Neuromodulators
This neuromodulator is an injectable treatment that’s FDA-approved and can improve the appearance of dynamic wrinkles and expression lines. By causing relaxation of the facial muscles, this treatment hopes to reverse this dire effect. In addition, it is one of the most popular neuromodulators that most clinics and medspas offer.
Botulinum Toxin A is the medical term for Botox. It is a compound produced by bacteria (Clostridium botulinum). As this compound gets injected into the targeted area underneath the skin’s surface, it binds to receptors in your muscle. This neuromodulator acts as a messenger by signaling to block the release of a substance called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is responsible for activating muscles. Thus by blocking this substance, the muscles become inactive. This neuromodulator type helps diminish the appearance of wrinkles that form due to repeated muscle contractions. Since Botox works by inhibiting nerve transmission, it is classified as a neuromodulator.
Dysport is another type of neuromodulator that works in much the same way as Botox. It is also a type of botulinum toxin A but has minor differences. For instance, Dysport has a slightly quicker onset (2 to 5 days versus 4 to 7 days for Botox), which means you’ll see results faster. Also, Dysport can diffuse more than Botox, meaning it spreads to a broader area. This neuromodulator can be either an advantage or a disadvantage depending on what body part is being treated.
Overall, like Botox Cosmetic, Dysport helps to smooth the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles for younger-looking results. Please schedule a consultation with board-certified dermatologists and practitioners to see which neuromodulator she recommends based on your unique needs and goals.
Uses of Neuromodulators
Neuromodulators treat body areas, such as the face, neck, and chin. They are primarily used to treat:
- Aging skin
- Crow’s feet around eyes
- Excessive sweating
- Frown lines and forehead furrows
- Horizontal lines across the forehead
- Laugh lines around the mouth
- Marionette lines around the mouth
- Sagging skin
- Skin lines around the neck
- Smile lines
- Vertical lines between nose and mouth
- Worry lines or furrows
Who are NOT Good Candidates for Neuromodulators?
Neuromodulators are not for people who are not in good overall physical, mental, and emotional health and may not be good candidates for the procedure.
How to Prepare for the Neuromodulators
Before the procedure, doctors or healthcare providers will review the patient’s medical history. This time is perfect for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks, and outcomes of the procedure for neuromodulators. Patients should tell their doctor if they use, have recently taken, or have had:
- Allergy or cold medicine
- Antibiotics by injection
- Blood-thinning drugs
- Drooping eyelid
- Mild bruising
- Muscle relaxants
- Over-the-counter medication and supplements
- Previous neuromodulator therapy
- Sleep medicine
- Temporary weakness of surrounding muscles
Are Neuromodulators Painful?
With the use of neuromodulators, pain is minimal. Practitioners can apply a topical anesthetic or ice pack before the treatment. Virtually no recovery time is required after neuromodulator injections. Patients should not rub treated areas, which could cause them to migrate to another location.
Takeaways on Neuromodulators
Neuromodulators are injectable medications used in treating facial wrinkles and other conditions. Both brands are made from similar forms of botulinum toxin. While Dysport is meant for use on the vertical lines that form between the eyebrows (glabellar lines), Botox, on the other hand, is intended for use on glabellar lines, forehead lines, and crow’s feet (laugh lines) around the eyes. However, both are considered safe for most people, but it’s important to talk with a qualified medical specialist before you get either treatment. If you’re interested in these treatments, schedule a consultation with a qualified dermatologist.