Life Etches the Line-Botox Eases ‘Em

Los Angeles Times – May 1, 1997

Botox injections are hot among 30- to 50-year-olds, according to the American Academy of Dermatology in Schaumburg, Ill. Approved by the FDA to treat eye twitches and ticks by temporarily paralyzing the muscles responsible, dermatologists soon began co-opting Botox for use on crow’s feet, the vertical “scowl lines” between the brows, and on the horizontal “surprise lines” across the forehead. By stopping the constant contraction of those muscles (orbicularis oculi, corrugator and frontalis, respectively), which pull on the skin, Botox smooths out expression lines and may even prevent their formation in younger patients. Fans of the treatment say Botox is cheaper than collagen injections and lasts a bit longer, although the two don’t really compete. Botox is used only on the upper half of the face, while collagen works well on the lower, filling in laugh lines and grooves around the mouth. They’re both part of a larger trend toward procedures that can be done in a doctor’s office on a lunch hour. Botox is part of a broader picture that includes the use of Retin-A, Renova and glycolic acid, products that soften skin texture and smooth fine wrinkles.

An actor in his 40s sought out Dr. William Binder, a facial plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, at the urging of his TV director boss. The patient’s nervous habit of raising his eyebrows had created deep forehead creases that appeared even deeper on camera. “Collagen wasn’t helping much,” Binder says, “and the patient didn’t want a forehead lift to weaken the muscle. So we tried Botox, which absolutely wiped out those horizontal lines. It was a godsend for his career.”