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Is Botox worth the pain?

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Botox might have become as ubiquitous as Vegemite in the past few years but there are still plenty of people who dislike syringes even more than frown lines. Four in five people think wrinkles are the most ageing feature on women, according to a 2011 survey by the Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australia, and line-freezing injections continue to be the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment. But treatment with botulinum toxin involves multiple injections and that's a deal-breaker for many. But what if there was a high-tech, highly effective and instant wrinkle treatment that involves no needles, no ''discomfort'' or bruising? Might you be tempted?

New anti-wrinkle treatments that produce results instantly or without the need for injections could be approved for use in Australia within a decade, according to doctors from the Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australia. 'As technology improves we are seeing more research into how anti-wrinkle treatments can be administered,'' the CPSA's Dr Susan Austin says.

Botulinum cream avoids using injections entirely. Recent trials found the cream can reduce crow's feet when applied to small wrinkles around the eyes. Trials are yet to determine its effectiveness on forehead frown lines. "Cryo-neuro modulation" uses a probe to freeze specific nerves in the forehead so that the muscle cannot be activated. ''Unlike Botox this will only affect specific nerves for frown lines,'' says Dr Austin. ''Continued research into possible nerve damage means this treatment is not yet available.''

In fact both treatments are at the developmental stage and not available commercially in Australia. ''Only time will tell how effective these new treatments will be but the developments with existing cosmetic medicine treatments have been met by an increasing demand from people to treat wrinkles,'' Dr Austin says. ''The absence of a needle delivery system may also prove popular with patients.'' She says Australians are enthusiastic adopters of new cosmetic procedures and these new treatments show huge promise.

Do they appeal to you? Do you have Botox, like the results, but are not so thrilled with the procedure? Do you look ''refreshed'' after treatment and how long does it last? We hear so much about the ''age-defying'' benefits of anti-wrinkle injections but are there downsides? Are the needles worth the result?