‘Bunny lines’ have become a big topic in the media – with many so-called celebrity watchers claiming they can tell exactly who in the spotlight have had Botox – simply from the wrinkles either side of their nose.
But elsewhere, some beauty experts claim that freezing some of the facial muscles can bring out others. Not so, says Dr Fulvio Urso-Baiarda, our go-to consultant plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon.
He says: ‘So-called “bunny lines” occur naturally – everyone has them, unless you Botox them away. The only issue arises from Botoxing away the frown muscles without doing the same to the “bunny lines”. This is because they usually activate at the same time. Having one move without the other looks very odd – it doesn’t happen naturally.’
So, his solution to avoid abnormal-looking ‘bunny lines’ is either preserving some ability to frown – or Botoxing both!
‘We should never completely remove one without the other.’ he says.
‘The “Does Botox cause more lines?” question has been doing the rounds for a while and has entered popular mythology – I get asked it a lot. The answer is that it doesn’t. If you protect your skin from repeated movement damage, static wrinkles that would have formed at those particular sites do not emerge (static means they are there even when you’re not moving the area).
‘If you start Botoxing after static wrinkles emerge, then you can even reverse them if you do it soon enough. Wait too long though, and the static wrinkles won’t totally recover even by “resting” the skin with Botox. There’s always filler for those… but that’s another story!’
So, why this rumour that Botox causes more wrinkles?
Apparently, it’s simply that there is more than one cause of wrinkles – movement, gravity, sun exposure and weight fluctuations each produce different kinds of wrinkle, but Botox only helps those caused by movement.
So, even someone who has been Botoxed to the hilt three times a year will, eventually, start to develop those other wrinkles. The Botox hasn’t caused them – it just hasn’t prevented them either.
In which case, are “bunny lines” a tell-tale sign of Botox? The short answer is yes!
Dr Urso-Baiarda says: ‘If you see “bunny lines” with no frown you can pretty much bet your mortgage that the person carrying them has been Botoxed, and you’d almost always be right. Almost. Now and again you’d double your mortgage though, because there are “rare-as-hens-teeth” exceptions.
‘Certain, very uncommon, nerve injuries could affect the frown whilst preserving the “bunny lines” – and some plastic surgeons rip out (at medical school they teach you to say “avulse”, but you get the point) the muscle that causes frowning during certain kinds of nose job, so those patients might be able to produce “bunny lines” without a frown. But, these days, with Botox treatment being as popular as it is, you are pretty safe to consider “bunny lines” an almost absolute “tell”!’
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This article was updated on 6th January 2020.