We hear a lot of fuzz regarding Botox being a wonder product in the cosmetic world. It is one of the safest non-surgical cosmetic treatments: it takes only a few minutes and it doesn’t require anesthesia. It is injected with a fine needle into specific muscles with only minor discomfort.
How Does Botox Work?
Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle can’t contract. That makes the wrinkles relax and soften. This is most often used on forehead lines, crow’s feet (lines around the eye), and frown lines, though wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity will not respond to Botox treatment. It works by interrupting the signals between nerves and muscle tissue and causes temporary paralysis of the injected muscles.
What is Botox?
Botox is actually a brand name of the toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and there are other brand names for botulinum.
What should you do if you’re having Botox treatments done?
It is best to avoid alcohol starting at least one week before the procedure. You should also stop taking aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications two weeks before treatment to reduce bruising. Botox treatment takes three to seven days to take full effect.
Botox’s other uses
Botox, though famous for its use in cosmetic procedures, is also used to treat other conditions:
Botox can treat leakage of urine (incontinence) in adults with overactive bladder due to neurologic disease who still have leakage or experience too many side effects after trying an anticholinergic medication in people 18 years and older
- Botox can prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraine who have 15 or more days each month with headache lasting 4 or more hours each day in people 18 years or older
- Botox is used to treat increased muscle stiffness in elbow, wrist, and finger muscles in people 18 years and older with upper limb spasticity
- Botox can also treat abnormal head position and neck pain that happens with cervical dystonia (CD) in people 16 years and older
- Botox can treat certain types of eye muscle problems (strabismus) or abnormal spasm of the eyelids (blepharospasm or excessive blinking) in people 12 years and older
- Botox can treat the symptoms of severe underarm sweating (severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis) when medicines used on the skin (topical) do not work well enough in people 18 years and older.
- Botox can reduce the pain caused by temporomandibular joint disorders.
- Botox also helps lessen excessive salivation.
Danger and side effects
In large amounts, this toxin can cause botulism, a paralytic illness, which most people associate with food poisoning.
Botox treatments for migraine may caused the following side effects:
- Skin infection
- Allergic reaction
- Back or neck pain
- Pain at the injection site
- Eyelid drooping
Not everyone gets those side effects, but they still can appear. These side effects usually disappear within a day or two of the injection. More serious side effects include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Respiratory infection
- Temporary drooping of the treated muscles
These symptoms are rarer but they do happen to some patients. The drooping of the muscles is to be expected if your skin and muscle tone isn’t at its best. It will go back to normal in a few days in most cases. If the side effects do not disappear within a day or two or if you feel like you have an adverse reaction to the injection, contact your provider immediately. He or she will evaluate your situation and advise you on the best way to deal with the problem.
To reduce the risk of side effects, ensure that your provider is a trained, trusted and reliable practitioner. Plastic surgeons usually receive the best training and are the most specialized doctors for Botox. Discuss your health history with your doctor freely and openly, as some medication can counteract or react negatively with Botox. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Do not start any new medicines until you have told your doctor that you have received Botox treatments in the past.
The more treatments you have, the less effective they will be, because, just like any other medication, Botox treatment builds up antibodies in your system. Be aware that too much of this toxin in the body, can lead to botulism, which can be life threatening.
Is it here to stay?
Botox is known to be used by moviestars,what with all those ridiculous frozen faces, fixed smiles and immovable foreheads? However, recent advances in the technology and application have had patients achieving a much more natural look. Some doctors are even looking even further into the future with the possible use of a cream version of Botox, which is currently at phase two of medical trials in the US. and so far, according to Dr Susan Mayou, a consultant dermatologist in New York, “The results look promising.”
Indeed. The future of Botox looks promising.