When mentioning cosmetic treatments, it’s not unusual to instantly think we’re talking about Botox. This signature therapy is so well-known that it’s become, well, commonplace. But we have another weapon in our arsenal of age-fighting treatments, one that works very similarly to Botox but isn’t as widely recognized. It’s Xeomin, and at Timeless Laser & Skin Care in Westlake, OH, we think you’ll like what you’re about to read.
What Are the Differences Between Xeomin and Botox?
Most people assume these two injectable neurotoxins are the same, and it’s easy to see why. They both contain botulinum toxin type A as their main ingredient and are used to temporarily stop targeted muscle contractions. This prevents expression lines and wrinkles from showing in response to the repetitious muscle contractions you make every day when you smile, squint, or raise your eyebrows.
Those movements, which we don’t even think about, cause lines to develop on our faces. But neurotoxins relax specific muscles and hence smooth away wrinkles. All of this might suggest the two injectables are more alike than different, but they indeed have several distinguishing traits.
Perhaps the greatest difference is the way in which each neurotoxin is formulated. Xeomin is described as “naked,” an attribute owed to the fact that it is the purest modulator on the market. Its ingredients include botulinum toxin A (BoNTA) – as described above and without a complex protein structure, human serum albumin (a protein found in human blood), and sucrose (plant sugar).
We say it’s naked because it contains no additives and is manufactured in such a way that accessory proteins get removed. Sometimes, it’s said that Xeomin contains just one ingredient, but this is not completely accurate. Instead, we should say its formula is more simple than that of Botox, which we’ll explain momentarily.
The Un-Naked Formula
Botox, on the other hand, is made with these ingredients:
- BoNTA complex (meaning it contains a complex protein structure)
- Human serum albumin
- Sodium chloride (salt)
You might have noted the presence of a protein in the BoNTA contained within Botox. This inactive structure clusters around the active molecule to facilitate its absorption. Mostly negligible, complexing proteins play no role in the mechanical action of neuromodulators, nor do they equate to more adverse complications or health effects.
What these proteins can do is stimulate immunologic activity against the BoNTA, meaning they may explain why some patients develop resistance or tolerance to Botox. It doesn’t happen often, but it is a consideration when patients must choose which neuromodulator they prefer. Here’s what happens: the patient’s immune system creates antibodies against the protein that, in turn, neutralize the therapeutic effects of the BoNTA.
As a result, that patient may see underwhelming results, a very short-lived effect, or no effect at all. In the past, before we discovered that Botox resistance does in fact happen, the solution was to simply administer more Botox. Now, however, we know that an alternative therapy, Xeomin, can be injected in place of Botox. It is the least likely of all neuromodulators to induce a tolerance because it does not contain a complexing protein.
Variations in Onset
Results from these injections also have different onsets. It’s generally reported that Xeomin may take up to four days for full results to develop, whereas Botox usually requires around 72 hours. But one randomized, double-blind study revealed the former took effect more quickly than the latter. The study assessed 180 patients for six months and suggests different people may experience different onsets.
We mentioned that full results won’t immediately develop after either treatment, but it’s important to know you will instantly see some improvements. This is especially true of smaller treatment areas. Then, as the injected serum continues to sink into muscles in the coming days, additional results will become more visible.
While both injectables can be effectively used on different facial areas, Xeomin has shown to work especially well in erasing fine lines between the eyebrows. These are often referred to as “11” lines and make themselves known when you frown or express surprise. Botox is FDA-approved for treating these same lines as well as forehead lines and crow’s feet around the eyes.
Behind the Scenes
Although this doesn’t impact usage, Botox must be refrigerated before use to preserve its integrity. Its counterpart, on the other hand, does not need to be kept cold because of its pure formulation. This makes it easier to distribute and store.
Botox has been around longer and therefore is more widely-known among patients. It received FDA approval for aesthetic treatments in 2002, eight years before its counterpart, and is today one of the most recognizable brands of all cosmetic therapies. For this reason, many patients aren’t even aware that other neurotoxin treatments exist.
A Few Similarities
Both injectables deliver temporary results, meaning their effects fade. Nerve impulses start to once more prompt muscle contractions that, in turn, cause wrinkles to reappear. We therefore recommend periodic maintenance sessions to continue enjoying the same results: most patients schedule repeat treatments every three to six months.
These neurotoxins are also similarly dosed so that 30 units of one equal the strength of 30 units of the other. This is not always the case with other neurotoxins. Dysport, for example, needs twice as many dosing units as Botox to achieve the same effects.
When They Shouldn’t Be Used
These two treatments require that you avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours prior to your session. Once inside the body, alcohol can thin the blood and engender unwanted side effects. With injectables, for example, it can cause swelling or bruising around the treatment site, so it’s best to skip your nightcap and sip water instead.
These treatments generally aren’t recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Although they’re administered locally, a small risk of fetal harm does exist. To accurately determine your candidacy, it’s best to come into our office for a consultation. We’ll decide at that time if therapy is right for you.
Preparing for Treatment
We recommend that with either injectable, you schedule your session at least two weeks before a special event or occasion. This will give the serum plenty of time to settle and yield the expected results. You should also stop using all retinol products for two days before and after treatment.
What to Expect
These treatments are fairly turnkey in that the injection process itself takes 10 minutes or less. We’ll numb the treatment site and then begin therapy. The number of injections you need is based on the treatment area size; those “11” lines we mentioned earlier, for instance, usually require four or five pokes.
It’s important to remember that with these treatments, less is better. We can always administer more at a later date if you’re not completely satisfied with the outcome, but we cannot remove the serum once it’s in place. The goal is to smooth lines and wrinkles without changing your appearance; we only want to restore a more youthful canvas. And you’ll retain full use of your facial muscles, meaning you’ll still be able to express emotions just as you’ve always done.
Which Is Better?
This is a question we hear often, and the answer is always the same: neither injectable is “better” than the other insofar as results are concerned. They’re equally effective and both highly convenient, especially when compared to surgery and other invasive procedures. The decision to have one over the other, then, comes down to patient preference.
Patients who have developed resistance or tolerance to Botox commonly turn to Xeomin as an alternative treatment, as explained earlier. The latter is also appealing to those who appreciate a less complex formulation. Botox, on the other hand, sometimes gives results more quickly and is well suited to treating small sites that require precision. We can therefore assist in choosing the treatment best suited to your needs.
Benefits of Botulinum Toxin Injections
These therapies are the most popular of all aesthetic treatments in the United States. They address the early signs of aging without hassle, inconvenience, or downtime and deliver dependable results. Hence, we’ve already listed the foremost benefit these injectables provide: keeping the face youthful.
We’d like to circle back to the idea that our faces are constantly in action. Even talking and eating creates endless opportunities for collagen and elastin to break down. When coupled with the natural deterioration of these proteins over time, the skin eventually loses its ability to spring back from repetitive activity. Neurotoxins help by:
- Relaxing facial muscles
- Allowing the skin to rest
- Relieving the appearance of lines and wrinkles
Preserve Youthful Skin
An emerging trend among patients in their 20s and 30s is to seek treatment as a preventative measure. Some already notice thin lines on their face, while others don’t yet see lines and don’t want to. In other words, these young patients have elected to make neurotoxins a part of their ongoing skincare regimen, a practice we agree with. Preventing wrinkles is easier than treating them.
You already know the wrinkle-busting capabilities of these injections are second-to-none. But they’re sometimes used to address concerns like a gummy smile, in which patients believe their smiles expose too much gum. Neurotoxins can also be used along the jawline for resculpting, to revive a naturally drooping smile, or resolve additional aesthetic concerns independent of wrinkles and lines.
Quick and Convenient
We already mentioned neurotoxins can be injected in under 10 minutes; in total, most appointments take just under an hour to complete. You can therefore schedule your session on a lunch hour, between other appointments, or while running errands. And because they don’t require downtime, you can immediately get back to the task at-hand.
Can Be Personalized
Of all these benefits, the ability to customize your treatment may be the most important. We do not use a one-size-fits-all approach with neurotoxins. Instead, we’ll listen to your concerns and address them in the most practical and efficient manner possible. Some patients want to erase all evidence of wrinkles, whereas others desire more subtle enhancements. We’ll discuss your expectations prior to treatment and craft a plan that’s right for you.
Say Hello to a More Youthful You
Xeomin, similar to and yet different than its Botox adversary, can whisk away fine lines and wrinkles with a few quick, painless injections. It’s proven effective and delivers some immediate results, with the rest developing in about seven days. To learn more about this easy treatment and how it can help achieve your aesthetic goals, contact Timeless Laser & Skin Care in Westlake, OH, today.