Looks aren’t everything. Your inner quality and skills can make up for what you lack in appearance. However, if you don’t make a good first impression, you won’t get the chance to show those skills ever. And that’s why so many talented models, actors, and skilled corporate workers seek the help of Botox and Dermal fillers.
However, many people aren’t sure what Botox is or how it works. As a result, they hold certain prejudices against the treatment. It only makes them miss out on the benefits of this simple and easy cosmetic treatment. So, enrich yourself with proper knowledge and find out what Botox has to offer.
What is Botox?
Botox is essentially a toxin. The microorganism Clostridium Botulinum produces it. This substance can block nerve signals to muscles. Due to this quality, it has been used for various medical and cosmetic purposes.
The name ‘Botox’ is a brand name. It was given by the pharmaceutical company Allergan when they acquired the substance in the last decade of the 1900s. However, they were not the first to identify its potential.
FDA Approval of Botox
The microorganism that produces the toxin first came to light in 1895. Emilie Pierre, a Belgian scientist, was studying it after an outbreak of Botulism. However, it took another fifty years before scientists could extract the toxin from the organism and use it as a medicine.
The FDA first approved Botox as a treatment for crossed eyes and eyelid spasms. This was in 1989, shortly after which Allergan branded it. The cosmetic potential of the substance was something still to be established.
Discovery of Cosmetic Use
Jean and Alastair Carruthers, a Canadian doctor couple hold the credit for discovering the cosmetic use of Botox.
Jean was an eye doctor and Alastair’s specialty was skin. They had stumbled upon the possible cosmetic use of Botox when treating patients with it during the 80s. The doctors noticed that the wrinkles around patients’ eyes treated with Botox injections had disappeared.
The couple kept studying this aspect of the medication. They published their findings in the 90s. Finally, in 2002 FDA recognized Botox as a medicine that can serve cosmetic purposes.
Present Day Popularity
Over the last two decades, Botox has experienced unparallel popularity as a cosmetic procedure. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than seven million patients received Botox treatment for various conditions.
In the meantime, close to 5000 scientific articles have been written about the procedure and experiments are ongoing.
Patients suffering from neck spasms, eye muscle problems, overactive bladder, chronic migraine, and excessive sweating can benefit much from Botox treatment. On the cosmetic side, Botox reduces crow lines, frown lines, wrinkles, and signs of aging.
How does Botox work?
Muscle spasms and facial wrinkles have one thing in common. They occur due to hyperactivity of the muscles in that area. What is the reason for this hyperactivity? Well, maybe the neurotransmitters- the brain’s signaling chemicals- have overloaded.
The solution is to somehow immobilize the muscle but still retain other important functions in that part. Like blood supply and sensation. And that is the main idea behind Botox.
Botox Makes You Smile Less
After its extraction from Clostridium Botulinum, the Botulin toxin undergoes a purification process. The end product, Botox, is a medical-grade neurotoxin. This means it can affect the communication pathways between your brain and the body.
To treat someone with Botox, the doctor injects controlled doses of the toxin into the target muscles. Botox then blocks the release of Acetylcholine in that area.
Now, acetylcholine is the chemical that maintains signal transmission between nerves and muscles. So, when it is blocked the muscle doesn’t receive the brain signals that tell them to contract.
As a result, the muscle becomes essentially paralyzed. Thus, preventing unwanted contractions and wrinkles. For instance, when you get a Botox injection in your face, it reduces the number of smiles and unnecessary facial expressions.
It works the same way with sweat glands and pain receptors. The release of Acetylcholine is blocked by Botulinum. Consequently, the patient receiving Botox treatment gets relief from the symptoms of migraine or hyperhidrosis.
How Long Does Botox Work?
Botox doesn’t work like painkillers. In other words, you won’t experience lax muscles immediately after getting the injections. It usually takes several days to see the full effects of the treatment. Because the toxin gradually binds to the target nerve endings and ceases acetylcholine.
Sometimes it can take weeks for the effects to show. And once you get a Botox injection, the results can last up to 3-6 months. The durations vary according to dosage, treatment type, and body composition. (1,2)
What Are The Different Types of Botox?
If you shop for Botox and Dermal fillers, you will mainly find five types of Botox. Physicians and cosmetic surgeons are using them frequently. The results from applying these five types of Botox have been safe and satisfactory. Here are the five types-
The most well-known type of Botox. It contains type A botulinum toxin. Cosmetic specialists widely use it to treat wrinkles, frown lines, and crow’s feet. The toxin blocks nerve signals to the muscles responsible for these lines.
Additionally, Botox is used for various medical conditions. For instance, patients with cervical dystonia experience severe neck and shoulder muscle spasms. A Botox injection to the affected region can improve their symptoms.
Dysport also contains type A botulinum toxin. But the molecule size is smaller than Botox. Therefore, it spreads more easily through your system and acts faster. Dysport is used to treat Glabellar lines. These are the vertical wrinkles between your eyebrows.
Since Dysport is more diluted than traditional Botox, it requires more frequent dosing. But don’t worry, per unit of Dysport usually costs less than Botox. The effects of Dysport also wear out faster than its traditional counterpart.
This is a newer type of Botox. Xeomin, too, contains type A botulinum toxin. However, it is more purified. Manufacturers have removed the complex proteins from the toxin that can cause immune reactions in some patients. Xeomin’s major cosmetic use in treating frown lines.
One of the advantages of Xeomin over traditional Botox is that you are less likely to develop tolerance against it. Because compared to Botox, Xeomin has a lesser tendency to form antibodies in the patient’s system.
Approved in 2019, Jeuveau is the latest addition to the world of Botox. It contains the same ingredient and is used to treat glabellar lines. Due to its relatively recent arrival, some people also refer to Jeuveau as ‘Newtox’.
Usually, medicines that take fast action also leave the body early. Newtox is an exception. The effects of a Newtox injection can become noticeable 2-3 days earlier than traditional Botox. However, it can keep active for up to 6 months. In contrast, traditional Botox wears out within 4 months.
Neurobloc is different from all the above Botox types due to its ingredient. Instead of Botulinum toxin A, Neurobloc contains Botulinum toxin B. Its use is mostly for medical than cosmetic purposes.
Patients suffering from cervical dystonia (head-neck spasm) can greatly benefit from a Neurobloc treatment. Many patients receiving Botox injections for the management of spasmatic conditions might have become tolerant to it. For them, Neurobloc is highly recommended.
Areas of the face treated with Botox
Several different areas of the face can be treated with Botox injections. And there are dozens of procedures available. It all depends on the type of cosmetic effect you are trying to achieve. The three main sites are the forehead, between the eyebrows, and the corner of the eyes.
We flinch our forehead maybe a thousand times each day. Apart from conversations, we also tend to frown and squint our forehead when thinking or watching tv.
As a result, the forehead is one of the first sites where wrinkles appear. A Botox injection to the frontalis muscle forehead can reduce these movements and smoothen the wrinkles.
This is the area between the eyebrows where the ‘11’ lines appear. These lines usually appear when you are concentrating on something intensely. Ultimately, vertical wrinkles can appear in this area which can make you look exhausted and irritated.
The corrugator and procerus muscle is responsible for pulling the eyebrows together and also for these lines. A Botox injection can relax the muscles and therefore the wrinkles. Consequently, you start looking fresher and younger.
Droopy eyebrows make you look unmotivated and less energetic. There are muscles in that region of that face that pull the eyebrows down and create that sad saggy look.
A Botox injection to these muscles can partially immobilize them and lift your eyebrows. This can make you look more sharp and alert. Plus, it adds to your overall facial attractiveness.
Outer Corner of the Eye
Each time we smile with our eyes, the outer corner of our eyes contracts. Since the skin in this area is comparatively thinner, it is more prone to wrinkling. These lines, which look like the feet of a crow, can make rob your eyes of its youthfulness.
The muscle associated with movement and contraction of the eye area is Orbicularis Oris. A botox injection can relax the muscle, reduce the contraction and eventually correct the lines.
When we laugh or scrunch the face a line of wrinkles forms on the side of the nose. These are known as bunny lines due to their resemblance to a rabbit’s face. Sometimes the lines can go up as far as the lower eyelid.
The muscle responsible for these wrinkles is the nasalis muscle. It runs along the bridge of the nose and helps in the contraction of the nose. A Botox injection to the nasalis can relax it and smoothen the bunny wrinkles.
The mentalis muscle is associated with the contraction of the chin. Overactivity of this muscle can cause a dimpled chin. Plus, with age, this face area keeps losing collagen tissue. The combined effect is a permanently puckered chin which makes you look old.
To correct the condition, you can receive a Botox injection to the mentalis muscle. Relaxation of the muscle shall reduce the dimpling and make your face look youthful.
Corner of The Mouth
One of the hallmarks of old age is a sagging face. The Depressor Anguli Oris muscle pulls the corner of the mouth down. Hyperactivity of this muscle in addition to gravity and volume loss in the cheeks can create a visibly droopy face. Which instantly makes you look sad and old.
A botox injection to the target muscles around the mouth can prevent it from pulling the corner of the mouth down. Thus, you get a youthful look and smoothened wrinkles around the mouth.
Another area where the signs of aging first start appearing in the neck. Both vertical and horizontal wrinkles are common in this region. Horizontal wrinkles are mostly the result of the continuous tilting of the head in daily life. Meanwhile, the vertical lines are from the contraction of the platysma muscles.
Botox and Dermal fillers can be effective ways to rejuvenate your appearance. Which can, in turn, help with your success at job and social events. However, all Botox treatments should be received only under the supervision of a cosmetic medicine specialist.
Wondering if you are a good candidate for Botox? And if you are, how do you find the right specialist? Also, what side effects can you expect after the procedure? Find out in our next post.