What are Neuromodulators and how do they work in facial aesthetics?

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Finding treatment options to look good is one of the primary objectives of aesthetic medicine, but it is increasingly common to seek solutions that do not involve entering an operating room. In the case of wrinkles or expression lines, there is a very effective option: neuromodulators. neuromodulatorsbut but what are they and how do they work in facial aesthetics? Keep reading and you will find the answer here!

What are neuromodulators?

Neuromodulators are chemical substances that have a direct effect on the nervous system, regulating the activity of neurons. In the field of aesthetic medicine, when talking about neuromodulators, reference is made to botulinum toxin used for skin rejuvenation, which works by eliminating expression lines and reducing wrinkles.

Origin of neuromodulators

In the 1920s, acetylcholine, considered one of the first neuromodulators, was discovered. Then, between the 1950s and 1960s, scientists managed to identify other neuromodulators such as dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. 

In the 1970s, botulinum toxin was discovered when scientists of that time were researching and testing the properties of some toxins. However, it was between 1980 and 1990 that its use became widespread, and this neuromodulator began to be applied in areas of aesthetic medicine.  

Main types on the market

There are a variety of facial surgeries to improve various aspects of the face, but if we talk about eliminating wrinkles and expression lines without resorting to surgery, you should be aware that the main botulinum toxins used for this purpose are Botox, Dysport, Jeuveau and Xeomin. Let's review each one in detail.

  • Botox. It is composed of botulinum toxin type A, specifically Onabotulinumtoxin. It works by paralyzing the muscle for a certain period of time, helping to reduce wrinkles and prevent the appearance of new ones. It is widely used around the eyes and between the eyebrows.
  • Dysport. It is also known as Abobotulinumtoxin A, and acts on the muscle in the area where it is injected relaxing the muscle temporarily, making the skin that covers it smooth. It is used especially in vertical wrinkles on the forehead, between the eyebrows and crow's feet.
  • Jeuveau. It is a purified botulinum toxin with a relaxing effect on dynamic wrinkles.
  • Xeomin. This neuromodulator contains no additives or preservatives and is ideal for those who have experienced adverse reactions when using any of the other neuromodulators on the market.
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How neuromodulators work in esthetics

Mechanism of action on the skin

Neuromodulators are derived from the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum, and when injected into the body they are placed in the areas where the nerves communicate with the musculature. In the case of the face, neuromodulators prevent, for a limited time, the muscles from releasing acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter whose function is to contract the muscles.

As a result of this action, the facial muscles that receive the neuromodulator begin to relax, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and dynamic wrinkles caused by repetitive muscle movements, which in the case of the face can appear by constantly frowning or by the action of closing and opening the eyes. By preventing muscle contraction and smoothing wrinkles and expression lines, it is possible to have firmer skin and a rejuvenated face.

Unlike a facelift, this type of procedure eliminates wrinkles and expression lines without resorting to a scalpel.

Treatment areas and applications

Among the aesthetic problems of the face, which can be treated with neuromodulators, we find:

  • Horizontal lines that form on the forehead, as a result of raising the eyebrows.
  • Vertical lines located between the eyebrows, usually caused by frowning. 
  • Thin lines that appear around the eyes, also known as crow's feet, which occur when smiling or squinting.
  • Wrinkles on the sides of the nose or bunny lines. Also caused by soonreír or by making faces that involve moving too much or wrinkling the nose.

Benefits of neuromodulator treatments

The benefits of using neuromodulators to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles become evident when the patient achieves a more youthful appearance.

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Immediate and long-term effects

Neuromodulator injections, such as botulinum toxin, are a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure, which represents a great advantage in terms of immediate results and rapid recovery.

From the first day of treatment the changes can be seen, and after a few days the patient can see the definitive results, which can be maintained for up to 4 months.

Prevention of signs of aging

When the facial muscles relax thanks to the effects of neuromodulators, it is possible that the formation of new wrinkles can also be prevented.

One of the functions of neuromodulators is to prevent the formation of dynamic expression lines. These, with time and the absence of any preventive treatment, can become static wrinkles, i.e., those that are visible even if the person is not making any movement.

Neuromodulators: Not just for women, growing popularity among men

Contrary to popular belief, treatments to treat wrinkles and expression lines are not exclusive to women. More and more men are undergoing procedures such as the placement of neuromodulators, in search of solutions to facial aging. 

As in women, this treatment is effective and safe in men, reducing the appearance of the effects of aging.

Dosage and treatment considerations

Duration and frequency of sessions

Sessions can be completed in a short time, approximately 30 minutes, as it does not require any type of hospitalization or anesthesia, which makes it an excellent option even for those with a busy schedule.

Since the results are maintained for about four months, it will be necessary to schedule 3 sessions per year to maintain the effects.

Personalization of treatment

An experienced professional is able to adjust the treatment according to the particular needs of each patient. The neuromodulator injections allow adjusting the doses and treatment areas, to achieve a personalized result, equally effective, but taking into account realistic expectations that allow obtaining a natural result.

Results and expectations

Time to see results

After the neuromodulator injections, the effect is visible for the first 4 days, but it is not until after day 10 that the definitive results can be observed.

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Duration of effects

As mentioned earlier in this article, the results of neuromodulator placement can be maintained for about four months, although this may depend on the product, the dose used and the area treated. 

We must remember that this type of substance is gradually absorbed by the body. For this reason it begins to lose effect.

When applied periodically, there is a possibility that the duration of the effects may increase, and could be maintained for more than six months.

Safety and side effects

The application of neuromodulators is a safe and effective cosmetic procedure, but must be administered by a qualified professional to minimize risks and complications.

However, there are possibilities, although reduced, of redness, swelling, bruising, headache, general malaise and nausea. In less frequent cases, the patient may experience drooping of the eyelid (ptosis), double vision or difficulty in swallowing. 

There is also a risk of allergic reaction to the product, infection or nerve damage.

Choice of a professional for treatment

As with any medical treatment, taking the time to choose the right professional is essential to ensure the success of the procedure.

The right practitioner for neuromodulator placement should be qualified and experienced in similar treatments. In addition, this expert should be able to create a personalized treatment plan that is tailored to each patient's specific wishes.

If you wish to have a surgical procedure such as a bichectomy to change the appearance of your face, consult with the specialist about the compatibility of both treatments. 

If you are considering neuromodulator injections, don't hesitate to contact trained professionals who will create a customized treatment plan for you, ensuring you get the rejuvenated face you desire without the need for surgery.

Conclusion 

Although aging is normal for all human beings, there is a reality in today's world, in which many seek to look better and better. And, for this reason, aesthetic treatments to eliminate wrinkles and expression lines have become so popular. 

Neuromodulators represent an excellent alternative. An effective and safe treatment, that both men and women can use, and that has the advantage of showing results almost immediately and with effects that last for several months. 

Dr. Miguel Fernández Calderón - Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Miguel Fernández Calderón - Plastic Surgeon


Degree in Medicine from the University of Castilla-La Mancha, with training in Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University Hospital La Paz. Member of the Spanish Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (S.E.C.P.R.E).

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