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‘Masseter Muscle Botox’ unpacked

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A TikTok cosmetic tweakment doing the rounds is that of ‘Masseter Muscle Botox’, which supposedly slims the jawline.

It is also said to help those struggling with bruxism (teeth grinding) and jaw clenching, resulting in a reduction in pain and headaches. This treatment is accomplished by placing muscle relaxing injections, such as Botulinum toxin, into the masseter muscle – a facial muscle connecting the mandible (lower jawbone) to the cheekbone.

“The masseter muscle is a large facial muscle that plays a significant role in chewing,” explains the senior medical injector at the UK’s largest network of specialist skincare clinics, SK:N Clinics, Dr Asha Chhaya. “There are instances when this muscle can become overdeveloped, resulting in a bulky appearance of the lower part of the face and symptoms such as headaches and jaw pain, commonly known as Temporomandibular disorder.

“Placing injections that act as muscle relaxants into these muscles can help to ease these symptoms, while also treating hypertrophy,” continues Dr Chhaya. “When treatment is maintained over a period of time, usually 12-18 months, a slimming effect on the lower face can be seen.”

Social media reviews, some with hundreds of thousands of views, have been mixed though. Some individuals praise the procedure’s ability to slim the face, reduce headaches and alleviate jaw clenching. However, others suggest it gave them jowls and affected their smile.

“Certainly, muscle relaxing injections are effective in slimming the face, but only if the masseter muscle is overdeveloped,” reveals Dr Chhaya. “If you clench your teeth and notice these muscles become more visible, muscle relaxing injections treatment could help. However, for anyone considering this treatment, I recommend consulting with a medical injector who has expertise in treating masseter muscles so they can accurately determine the suitability of this treatment."

The doctor notes that if this treatment is administered without a clear indication, or when there is an indication, but the muscles are over-treated, the muscles may become too relaxed and cease to support the structures above them, making jowling appear worse.

”Moreover, in comparison to the upper face, the lower face has many overlapping muscles, so treating this area can be a bit more challenging, as inadvertently injecting the wrong muscle can result in an asymmetrical smile,” states Dr Chhaya.

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