Botox is the trade name for botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin created by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum toxin is one of the most dangerous poisons in the world, and small to moderate amounts that are injected or inhaled can kill a person.
So how is it that Botox is now the number one cosmetic treatment in the world, with nearly 5 million Americans undergoing Botox injections in 2017, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery?
The difference is in dosage. While a small amount of botulinum toxin can kill you, the tiny, miniscule amounts used in Botox injections will not harm you at all. They will only paralyze the immediate area where the toxin is injected, and that’s good news for you (and bad news for your wrinkles).
Botulinum toxin was first used to effectively treat spastic muscle disorders of the eyes and eyelids, otherwise known as strabismus and blepharospasm. Botulinum toxin, when used in minute amounts, was found to be very effective at relaxing these spastic muscles, thereby improving the disorders.
This led two enterprising dermatologists from Canada, Drs. J.A. and J.D. Carruthers (a married couple), to wonder: If it’s good enough to weaken muscles in the eyes and eyelids, why can’t it be good enough to weaken the muscles of the face that cause wrinkles?
They decided to test Botulinum toxin’s effects on the wrinkle-causing muscles in the face and discovered that when the tiniest quantities of botulinum toxin were injected into the muscles that caused wrinkles in the glabella (vertical frown lines between the eyebrows and above the nose, otherwise known as the ‘11 sign’), it caused them to weaken, resulting in a temporary smoothing of wrinkles.
And voila! Botox was born .
Now, Botox is one of the favorite and most effective anti-age treatments available. It is used in minute quantities, injected into the muscles that create these wrinkles. Within a week or so, these muscles weaken and even become temporarily paralyzed. This causes the muscles and the wrinkles to relax and look smoother.
Botox typically wears off within three to four months, after which time it needs to be repeated. Otherwise, the wrinkles return like they were before.
People worry about Botox because they know it is a toxin. It even sounds a little scary to those who aren’t familiar with it. However, Botox is extremely safe and in the hands of a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist, you are extremely likely to have excellent results.
Prior to Botox, plastic surgeons and dermatologists used lasers and chemical peels to improve forehead wrinkles. The results were minimal at best, since the wrinkles are caused by muscles, and these treatments only affect the skin on top of the muscles.
If you’re considering Botox, but are nervous that the treatment might make you look like a mannequin, a Disney cartoon, or even worse, a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, then start small. Try treating either your crow’s feet or the 11 Sign. If your doctor treats one of these areas conservatively, it’s very unlikely you will look strange or ‘done.’
Give it a couple weeks after the treatment to get used to the results. If you’re happy with it (which almost everyone is), then return to treat another area (or two).
Just be careful when getting your forehead Botox’d. When Botox is improperly injected into the forehead, it can cause the dreaded ‘frozen forehead’ appearance where your eyebrows don’t move. Or even worse, you can get Frozen Forehead’s horrible cousin, the Evil Eyebrow. This is when your brows become overly arched, making you look like the cartoon version of Sleeping Beauty’s wicked Maleficent .
Before we finish covering Botox, here is a question: What do Botox treatments have in common with smoking cigarettes and drinking booze?
No, not in the unhealthy way that our body becomes chemically addicted to the toxins nicotine and alcohol. Millions of people are “addicted” to the way Botox smoothes their lines, reduces their wrinkles, and relaxes their stern expressions. Once you see how a conservative amount of Botox can make you look, you may become addicted too. We have many return clients.
To learn more about having Botox at Youn Plastic Surgery, click HERE.