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We get asked about using Botox to treat static lines a lot, so what are static lines? Lines and wrinkles on the face that appear on movement or facial expression are commonly referred to as “dynamic lines”. Static lines are those present at rest.

There are different causes for static lines – those caused by movement, and now etched on the skin even at rest, and those caused by extrinsic factors. Extrinsic causes includes damage by pollution, smoking, the sun, etc. and positional lines caused by things like sleep position. So can we use botulinum toxin to treat all of these different lines and wrinkles? No.

Is there any hope?

As much as we all LOVE Botox, it does unfortunately have some limitations! The official party line is that botulinum toxin is used to treat DYNAMIC lines. Having said that, there is a glimmer of hope for static lines that were originally formed by movement. Botulinum toxin treatment can soften, and sometimes even eradicate these lines too. Take a look at these before and after photos from one of our patients. Both photos are of her forehead at rest, the second photo is 2 weeks after treatment with Botox. Even though these lines are “static”, there is a vast improvement after just 1 treatment. We will always advise our patients that static lines require more than one treatment, and if they are very deep, they may require more than Botox can offer.

Forehead lines present at rest before (above) and 2 weeks after (below) Botox.

The limitations

Other “static” lines such as those caused by extrinsic ageing (from the sun, smoking, pollution, etc.) or the face being squashed into a position by sleeping, helmets, etc. cannot be managed with botulinum toxin. This is because botulinum toxin works on the neuromuscular junction to prevent muscle movement. Quite simply, if lines/wrinkles have nothing to do with this movement, they will not be affected when the movement stops.

All hope is not lost however, there are other treatment options out there to help tackle these lines. The best treatment however is to stop the causative agent – change your sleeping position if you can, stop smoking, wear a broad spectrum SPF every day, etc.

So, what is our take-home message? Prevention is better than cure! Start having your treatments before the lines are deep at rest.