How do Neuromodulators like Botox®, Dysport® and Xeomen® Reduce Wrinkles?


Ever wonder how neuromodulators like Botox®, Dysport® and Xeomen® reduces wrinkles? I did, hence why I set out to research this topic in detail. Until recently, we all knew that these medications worked by stopping your facial muscles from moving. So you can imagine if you can’t move a muscle that causes a wrinkle, you will see the wrinkle less. This makes perfect sense, but what doesn’t make sense is why, with repeated treatments with these neuromodulators, do people’s wrinkles fade? Is this skin changing in some other way?

Recently, I conducted a large research project in which I assessed people’s skin elasticity before treatment, and 2 weeks and 2 months after a treatment with Botox®. To measure elasticity I used a device called “The Cutometer (pronounced Cue-tom-eter).” This devices applies a suction to your skin and has infrared lasers that measures your skin stretching and then how it relaxes after the suction is removed, thus providing us with information on skin elasticity.

After treating patients with the medication, at two months we saw a 20% increase in skin elasticity at all three sites on the face. This is important as we know that as people age, their skin elasticity decreases and thus more wrinkles form. Therefore, the neuromodulators are doing more than simply stopping the muscles from working.
Other scientists have also published research which may point to reasons why this is happening. In 2012 Dr Oh grew fibroblasts (cell’s responsible for much of the material in your skin) in either a neuromodulator (Botox) or salt-water (saline). Interestingly, those fibroblast cells that were in the medication produced more collagen and more elastin as well as other materials that are present in more youthful skin.
This is a very interesting field of study and one that crosses both the cosmetic world into the medical work. Researchers are using neuromodulators and their effects on skin to treat everything from fine facial wrinkles not caused by muscle motion to abnormal scarring after surgery.

I (along with two cosmetic surgeons in Toronto) am starting a new study addressing some of these interesting questions.

Currently, we are injecting small diluted amounts of medication into the cheeks of patients who have very prominent wrinkles when they smile. This study may allow us to use these medications to reduce wrinkles in other areas of the face that in the past required aggressive laser treatments.

Article by
Ottawa Facial Plastic Surgeon