When we hear about looking young, one of the treatments that come to mind is Botox. This treatment was introduced a long time ago, yet the hype surrounding it still has not died down. Botox is a type of protein from a known neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum. In typical situations, this toxin can be dangerous and may cause botulism. But the amount of toxin used in the treatment is very small, making it safe for cosmetic and medical use. In fact, the FDA or Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Botox in treating several health issues such as excessive sweating, migraines, some bladder disorders, and even eyelid spasms. For cosmetic purposes, Botox is most commonly used in reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Botox: an in-depth lookAs mentioned, Botox is derived from C. botulinum bacteria, which are a type of bacteria commonly seen in nature. They can be found in lakes, soil, forests, and the intestines of fish and mammals. In general, naturally occurring forms of the said bacteria are harmless. However, it could be deadly when the bacteria start to produce a neurotoxin. It may seem scary, but Botox used in cosmetic and medical practices amounts to very small doses and has no to minimal side effects. Since it is a neurotoxin, it disables the function of the nerves, therefore, benefiting people with nerve or muscle disorders. Many injectables are from the same strain of bacteria, but they differ in the preparation. For example, Botox is on botulinum toxin A, Dysport is a bo botulinum toxin A, and Xeomin is in Co-botulinum toxin A. A lot of people refer to all these injectables as “Botox.” Still, it is essential to note that Botox is a registered trademark for Botulinum toxin.
How does Botox work?Neurotoxins are substances that disrupt the signaling processes of the nerves. These signals are needed to stimulate the contraction of muscles in the body. Thus, causing temporary muscle paralysis. For muscles to contract, the nerves need to release acetylcholine. This chemical messenger tells the muscle cells to either shorten or contract. Botox prevents the release of this messenger, stopping the contraction of the muscle cells. In this mechanism, the toxin helps make the muscle less stiff.
Botox and its cosmetic useBotox is primarily known to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Based on the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery data, Botox is the most popular choice for cosmetic treatments nationwide. In fact, in 2016, the US recorded over seven million people who had Botox treatments. Depending on the type of Botox treatment, the effects can last from 3-4 months and are only temporary. Usually, people request treatment in the following facial areas:
- Wrinkles around the eyes (crow’s feet)
- Horizontal lines in the forehead
- The wrinkles in between the eyebrows which are also known as glabellar lines, frown lines, or eleven lines
- Cobblestone-like skin on the chin
- Fine lines in the mouth corners