Is Botox A Prescription For More Wrinkles?

Botulinum toxin injections, in the form of Botox and Dysport, have become the most popular cosmetic procedure in the US. But as more and more people discover their ability to make frown lines fade away, an Ivy League expert is observing the ultimate ironic side effect: new wrinkles.

"Paralysis of a set of muscles might lead to recruitment of other muscle groups in an attempt to reproduce the conditioned activity being blocked, resulting in more prominent muscle activity in adjacent regions," explains Dr. David Becker, Weill Cornell assistant professor of dermatology, in a recent edition of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

In other words, when the muscles that cause frown lines are immobilized, muscles that can create other kinds of expression lines may overcompensate.

Specifically, some Botox and Dysport patients get exaggerated lines at the bridge of the nose-often called "bunny lines"-after ongoing treatment to smooth their foreheads. Keen-eyed wrinkle spotters have noticed them on celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Kim Cattrall and Renee Zellweger.

Although there's no way of knowing who's likely to get prominent bunny lines from using denervating agents, there is a way to combat them if they appear. Yep, you guessed it: Botox or Dysport along the bridge of the nose. However, this is an off-label use, so it's even more imperative than usual to go to an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist.