If you’ve noticed that your anti-wrinkle injections aren’t giving you the same result that they used to, or if your results are wearing off earlier than before, it can be tempting to blame the doctor or question the clinic, but there is such a thing as anti-wrinkle resistance.
According to the company that produces a popular anti-wrinkle injectable brand, about 1-3% of people develop resistance to anti-wrinkle injections. Considering how popular these treatments have become (the Australian College of Cosmetic Surgery says that Australians spend around $300 million on anti-wrinkle injections annually) immunity affects a sizeable portion of the population.
The same anti-wrinkle injectable producer says that the people who are most prone to developing immunity are those who receive regular treatments in high doses for medical purposes (such as muscle spasms) or people who receive frequent treatments with the same product over a long period of time.
The signs of anti-wrinkle resistance develop slowly. You may notice a less potent result from the same number of units, and the effects may wear off sooner than before.
How do you develop immunity to anti-wrinkle injections?
The active ingredient in the product used for anti-wrinkle injections is made with a protein complex. As the product temporarily reduces movement in the muscles where it’s injected, your body may recognise it as a foreign substance. In response, your immune system may create antibodies to block the biological effects of the protein.
What can you do if you become immune to anti-wrinkle injections?
You cannot undo anti-wrinkle resistance once it’s developed, but you can try using a different brand or taking steps to prevent resistance from developing once you notice the early signs. Your first port of call should be to speak to your doctor to confirm that you’re receiving the same number of units and ask for a professional opinion.
Producers of a popular anti-wrinkle injectable brand recommend using as few units as possible and leaving slightly longer intervals between treatments if you start to notice resistance.
Normally, our Clinical Director, Dr Garry Cussell, recommends coming in every 3 months to achieve a cumulative effect, which should result in fewer units being required over time. If you belong to the estimated 1-3% of the population who show signs of developing resistance, then this recommendation may not apply to you. Hence why it’s so important to go to a clinic where you can consult with your doctor or nurse and get a personalised treatment plan.
In addition to adjusting the frequency of your treatments, you can try an alternative brand of anti-wrinkle injectable product. There are three major brands of anti-wrinkle injectable products in Australia (due to TGA restrictions, we are not allowed to publish their names on our website, but you can contact us to find out more). The most popular brand is made from a protein complex. If you develop resistance to this protein complex, you may not be immune to other products with a different makeup.
Another well-known brand with the same protein complex as the most popular brand contains smaller molecules, so some people who develop some resistance to the more popular brand may find that they do not resist this one. This brand costs less per unit, but it also has a lower concentration, so you’ll likely require more units for the same result.
The third brand of anti-wrinkle injectable product shows more promise for people who are at-risk of developing resistance. This third brand is somewhat newer than the other brands; it became available in Australia in 2014. It was developed and produced in Germany with the specific goal of decreasing your risk of developing resistance. The company has developed a means to separate many of the proteins from the active toxin during production. Without the protein complex, they claim that your risk of developing resistance will be much lower.
This third brand has a similar potency as the most popular brand (which means you’ll likely require the same number of units), but patients who develop resistance to the more popular brand can still enjoy results from this third brand.
Non-Invasive Alternatives To Anti-Wrinkle Injections
Although anti-wrinkle injections are the most effective way to keep your wrinkles at bay, there are non-invasive options to slow the ageing process. We normally recommend a combination of medical grade skincare and professional treatments to protect your skin and stimulate collagen.
Collagen and elastin are the natural fibres that keep your skin youthful-looking and prevent creases. As we age, the collagen and elastin in our skin wear down. Ultrasound skin tightening (also known as Ultraformer or Ulthera) and RF Needling are two of the most popular and effective treatments for stimulating collagen to restore a more youthful strength and elasticity for your face, neck or décolletage. That being said, everyone is different, so you should speak to a professional for a recommended treatment plan for your concerns.
We recommend a combination of professional treatments and skincare because skincare will help improve and maintain the effects of your treatments, and professional treatments will help build on the results you get from your skincare.
An incredible, new ingredient to look out for is Acetyl Octapeptide 3 (also known as SNAP-8), which helps to prevent wrinkle formation by safely reducing the muscle contractions that cause dynamic wrinkles. In theory, it’s like anti-wrinkle injections in a topical cream. Products containing this ingredient won’t be nearly as powerful as anti-wrinkle injections, but studies have shown some reduction of wrinkles after 28 days of twice-daily use.
Long-running, highly trusted skincare ingredients that help to reduce the signs of ageing are Vitamin A and Collagen Peptides. Vitamin A has been used in the skincare industry for over 50 years and both ingredients have been shown to help promote collagen in your skin and reduce the signs of ageing.
There are plenty of other effective ingredients, such as resveratrol (which comes from red grapes) and Vitamin C (which helps to synthesise collagen). The information out there can be a little overwhelming, but a good Dermal Clinician can help you put together a skincare routine that works for you and your skin type.
As our Principle Nurse Robyn Cussell always reminds us, the most effective and least expensive anti-aging product you can use is sunscreen. So much ageing is caused by sun damage, so if you want to prevent wrinkles, always remember to slip, slap, slop.