You may have heard about BOTOX on a morning talk show, in a magazine, or on the internet. Since 2002, BOTOX has remained one of the most talked-about cosmetic procedures in the world, spawning legions of supporters and detractors alike.
Why is BOTOX such a permanently hot topic, and why is it so misunderstood?
The reason comes down to what BOTOX actually is. BOTOX is the FDA-approved injectable form of Botulinum Toxin A, a neurotoxin derived from the same bacteria that causes botulism. But notice the letter “A” at the end of BOTOX’s full name? There are eight types of Botulinum, types A through H. Indeed, types E, F, and H are highly toxic.
But types A and B are used in medical applications beyond the cosmetic, including the treatment of muscle spasms, excessive sweating, migraines, and spastic limbs. In fact, the usefulness of Botulinum Toxin A for cosmetic purposes was discovered by accident while it was being tested as a treatment for strabismus, or crossed eyes.
This accidental discovery revealed even more applications for this unique substance, Botulinum Toxin A, with an already long lineage in the medical community.
To understand how and why BOTOX works, it’s important to understand what causes wrinkles in the first place. When we feel certain emotions, such as surprise or disappointment, or when something makes us laugh, the muscles in our face produce facial expressions such as raised eyebrows, a frown, or a toothsome grin.
The simple fact is, the repetition of these expressions over a long period of time causes lines and wrinkles to appear. Similarly, some people sit in the same position for a long time every day, looking at a computer for example, under a good amount of stress, not realizing that they are raising their eyebrows all day, squinching up their nose, or squinting at a bright monitor screen. All of these repetitious, prolonged expressions cause the appearance of seemingly permanent wrinkles.
Unlike makeup, BOTOX doesn’t try to cover up the wrinkles. Instead, it goes to work at their source: the muscles of your face. When properly administered by a qualified medical professional, BOTOX effectively paralyzes the muscles in the face that cause the wrinkles themselves, resulting in a near-immediate fading effect.
After BOTOX has successfully suppressed the problematic facial expressions for a long enough time, the wrinkles themselves start to disappear altogether and the skin becomes smooth and younger-looking.
“But will I lose the ability to raise my eyebrows, or laugh, or look happy?” The answer is no! As long as it is applied by a qualified medical professional, BOTOX only targets the problematic facial muscles. Your face’s ability to respond naturally to stimuli is kept intact.
The main side effects of BOTOX include some swelling or bruising at the injection site. Occasional side effects include some drooping in the neighboring eyebrow or eyelid, slight dizziness, headache, or cold-like symptoms. All side effects generally pass within 24 hours. If side effects persist or intensify for longer than this, your doctor will work with you to treat them.
There is little not to like about BOTOX. It is safe, affordable, and effective with quick turnaround time and few side effects. That’s why it’s been so popular for nearly 20 years.