Today Botox is the number one cosmetic procedure in the United States, with millions of treatments being undertaken annually. With the spotlight on cosmetic benefits, Botox has quickly become a popular alternative to face lift surgery. First introduced in the late 1980s by ophthalmologists for treating optic muscle disorders, it was then approved by the FDA for cosmetic use in 2002, to help millions of patients get rid of those nagging facial lines and wrinkles.
Botox® is a trade name for botulinum toxin A
In this way, Botox is related to botulism which is a form of food poisoning that occurs when someone eats something containing a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum toxin A is one of the neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum. Botox is derived from botulinum toxin. In large doses, botulinum toxin can be life threatening.
The most serious symptom of botulism is paralysis, which in some cases has proven to be fatal. Botulinum toxins block the signals that would normally tell your muscles to contract. If it attacks the muscles in your chest - this could have a profound impact on your breathing. When people die from botulism, it is usually because the respiratory muscles are paralyzed so it's impossible to breathe. However, when used for medical purposes in small amounts, Botox prevents the muscles from unnecessary contraction which result in creases in the skin.
Removing creases in the skin
This is why Botox is a favourite method for diminishing crows’ feet, wrinkles around the brow, frown lines and smile lines. The cosmetic benefits of Botox were stumbled upon by accident during the 1990s. A doctor in Canada was using Botox to treat patients for blepharospasm, a muscle spasm disorder of the eyes. One of his patients requested to be kept on the treatment because of the wrinkle reducing benefits.
Botux quickly gained the reputation of being known as a non-invasive face lift treatment in spite of its connection to botulinum toxin and injecting a poison into your body. People are prepared to go this route because if an area of the body cannot move, it cannot wrinkle.
Botox is used to treat a variety of medical conditions
Migraines - patients suffering from migraines and severe tension headaches are now turning to Botox injections that block brain receptors from registering migraine pain. Muscles begin to relax, reducing tension.
Excessive perspiration - those with a condition known as hyperhidrosis are also finding some relief with Botox which can inhibit nerves in the body that control the sweat glands.
Muscle response disorders – Botox injections may lessen the symptoms in patients suffering from brain and spinal cord disorders. Such muscle disorders can be caused by injury and illness, such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke and injury of the spinal cord.
Enlarged prostate and bladder function - patients with over-active bladders can also benefit from Botox treatments. Botox relaxes the urinary bladder muscles, treating the symptoms of incontinence or pain during urination.
The big drawback for Botox is the temporal nature of the treatment. Botox alleviates symptoms of various illnesses, but does not actually provide a cure. But many patients, who find riskier alternatives unsettling, favour Botox. The Botox product, medically known as Botulinum Toxin Type A, is an injectable compound that disrupts the release of acetylcholine, which essentially paralyzes the muscle and stops the contraction.
Results are fully evident within 1 week after treatment and last between 3 and 5 months. Cosmetically, Botox typically reduces wrinkles by 80% and patients are usually between between the ages of 35 and 60. The results vary and as they are temporary, you would need to plan for additional injections, depending on your long-term treatment goals.
Use a board-certified plastic surgeon/dermatologist and consider:
- Review the doctor's credentials, education, training, type of certification held and number of times the doctor has performed the treatment.
- Find a doctor with extensive experience in performing the injection. One type of error that can occur is directing the injection at the point of the wrinkle, when it should be directed in the area of the muscle contraction.
- Find out the appropriate dosage that will be required to achieve a satisfactory result for your condition. For Botox injection, the FDA has approved the use of one syringe per patient.
- View before-and-after photos of patients with similar conditions who received Botox.
- Inquire about complication risks and possible side effects, including the impact that smoking and medications may have on your treatment.
- Ask the doctor to estimate the number of treatments required to achieve and maintain the maximum benefit and the costs involved. The cost for Botox may range from $125 to $400 per treatment area.
- Request a list of pre-op and post-op instructions. Following these instructions can reduce the risk of complications.
There may be alternative treatment options, depending on your condition
- Other minimally invasive procedures include collagen, Restylane, fat fillers or Gortex.
- For severe wrinkling, surgical procedures may be more appropriate, such as a facelift, forehead lift or eyelid surgery.
- Your doctor may recommend additional treatments for you to consider in conjunction with Botox. These might include chemical peel, laser skin resurfacing or microdermabrasion.
Avoid wrinkles and maintain a young looking skin with these basics
Above all do not smoke and don’t allow anyone else to smoke in the same room or your space.
- A twice daily regime of cleansing the skin of all impurities and make up. A special cleanser for eye make should be used. Use natural products so that you are not adding any toxins and chemicals to the skin.
- Avoid the use of soap on the face as this can be very drying.
- In the mornings, apply a natural moisturizer before the rest of your make up. It improves the water holding capacity of the skin.
- Use a natural eye cream for the delicate area round the eyes. Eye cream should always be applied with the 3rd finger because that digit has the lightest touch.
- Use a natural anti wrinkle cream at night with added nutrients.
- If you sleep on your back, you reduce the gravitational pull on the skin on your face and avoid puffiness in the morning.
- Drink your 8 glasses of water every day. The skin is the first organ to suffer if you are dehydrated.