Having a long, elegant neckline could be harder to achieve than you thought. We all know the benefits of botulinum toxin when it comes to aesthetics, but did you know it can help reduce neck jowls too?
What is botulinum toxin?
Botulinum toxin is a refined excretory by-product that comes from bacteria, and is developed under controlled laboratory conditions. In South Africa, the only two types of botulinum toxin registered with the MCC are Botox and Dysport. Dr Cobus van Niekerk is a general practitioner with a special interest in aesthetic medicine and wellness. President of the Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine Society of South Africa, and owner of Wellnessthetics Weltevredenpark and Sundowner, he says: “Botulinum toxin works by relaxing the muscle itself so that you cannot actively use the muscle. This means that the skin on top of it will not fold as much, and wrinkles and lines will be less evident. It will also stop them from forming as much in the future.
Is it safe?
Botulinum toxin injectables can be extremely safe and effective, when used correctly by a certified and trained doctor. “In aesthetics, we always inject minute amounts of botulinum toxin. It gets placed either in a specific muscle or muscle group, and will spread about 1cm from the point of injection. South African law states that it can be administered only by a registered doctor, so beware of rogue injectors,” says Van Niekerk.
“The frozen-face look is very much from the last decade. Today, we still want to see some normal movement and expression when you administer botulinum toxin. So, it is important to analyse the face of each individual you treat and personalize how they should use it, for maximum effect and for their areas of concern,” he adds.
What causes neck jowls and sagging?
Lower-face muscles play an important part in facial aging. There are elevator muscles in the middle face and, when they are active, they give the lower face a more lifted look, which is important for smiling. Then, there are also depressor muscles, which make your lower face drop down, and become more active as you age. One of your depressor muscles is called the platysma, and it maked your jawline undefined and appear droopy over time, even while you sleep.
Additionally, your jawline is made up of many other structures that also age over time. Besides an overactive platysma muscle, your skin and subcutaneous tissue also lose collagen and elastin, causing laxity.
The Nefertiti Lift
The objective of the Nefertiti lift is to use botulinum toxin to relax the platysma muscle. By decreasing this depression activity, we allow our facial elevator muscles to be more active. The result: a more lifted and defined jawline.
“By applying botulinum toxin into the platysma bands along the neck, we create a smoother neck, resembling the one of Nefertiti,” says owner of 8t Sense Aesthetic, Dr Sly Nedic. “However, it is important to understand that Botox works to directly help your muscle by relaxing it, and not the skin around it.”
The Nefertiti lift should be used only under the following circumstances:
- younger patients who want to prevent their platysma muscle form becoming overactive.
- Older patients who have high depressor muscle activity, but no correlating signs of serious skin laxity yet.
- Patients with mild skin laxity that use a skin laxity treatment in conjunction with the Nefertiti Lift.
A Realistic Approach
The Nefertiti Lift is not without controversy. The original study done to prove its efficacy reportedly wasn’t followed through in the way it should have been. For this reason, it has never been clinically proven to be effective.
“Because of this, when treating my patients, I prefer to use the professional term ‘lower-face and neck Botox’ when using the Nefertiti Lift methodology. I also do not want to heighten every individual’s expectations of the treatment, because it doesn’t work for everyone. Patient selection is crucial for a successful Nefertiti Lift,” says Nedic.
Many patients do not know about lower-face botulinum toxin injectables, as a significant number of doctors in South Africa are not trained in this particular treatment. The majority are trained only in administering to the upper face, so it is also important to use a doctor who you know is qualified and experienced.
What you can expect
- The results are effective for only three months. This can be seen as both positive and negative. If you are not happy with the results, within three months they will dissipate. However, if you are happy with the results, you will need to keep injecting regularly to maintain the look.
- Usually, it takes a maximum of two weeks before results are seen. The benefit of having immediate results is that, if you need a quick fix for a specific reason, it is far more attainable than going for a permanent face-lifting treatment that can take up to three to six months to see results.
- A Nefertiti Lift can cost between R2 600 and R3 600 per treatment, depending on the practice and the number of units of botulinum toxin that the doctor is using.