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How Does Botox Work?

Botulinum toxin treatment eliminates wrinkles and fine lines by temporarily relaxing the facial muscles. This article explains how botulinum toxin works, its uses, risk and side effects.It also addresses the frequently asked questions about botulinum toxin injections.

Most clients have been choosing Botulinum toxin treatments for medical and cosmetic use. The anti-wrinkle treatment is considered safe. It is also a non-invasive procedure. The botulinum toxin treatment should be done by a professional doctor and used in small amounts. The treatment reduces the presence of creases and wrinkles in the face and treats some conditions related to the muscular and nervous systems. Moreover, it offers many benefits. Read this article to understand how botulinum toxin works.

How Does Botox Work?

According to Liu et al. (2021),botulinum toxin treatments are done in the facial muscles. The toxin interferes with the nerve signalling mechanisms that cause the contraction of muscles, relaxing them. According to Ahmed, Venugopal & Jung (2021), the nerves release acetylcholine (chemical messenger) at the point where muscle cells meet nerve endings. Botulinum toxin injections prevent the release of the chemical transmitter, which prevents the contraction of muscle cells.

Botulinum toxin makes the muscles flexible. Most forces are not linked to bones but to soft tissues; when they contract, they tug on the skin to offer facial expressions. Botulinum toxin is used in aesthetics to reduce wrinkles around the mouth, crow’s feet, horizontal forehead creases, nasolabial folds, glabellar frown lines, smooth cleavage, and neck wrinkles. Additionally, it may be used to raise eyebrows and cure conditions like acne vulgaris, pompholyx, lichen simplex and hyperhidrosis (Satriyasa, 2019). The anti-wrinkle treatment cannot stop ageing signs like pigmentation disorders and dry skin despite the potential benefits. However, it can control them. Some patients experience hyperhidrosis. According to Park et al. (2021), Botox injections can help reduce hyperhidrosis, characterised byintense sweating. Cosmetic doctors inject botulinum toxin into the regions which sweat copiously, like the palms of hands, back of knees and underarms. The anti-wrinkle treatment inhibits the discharge of acetylcholine around the sweat glands, which leads to intense sweating.

What Is Botulinum Toxin?

According to AlAhmary et al. (2020), botulinum toxin is a healing agent from clostridium Botulinum bacteria in the soil. It is produced in a regulated laboratory environment and initially specified in very low healing dosages for treating strabismus and blepharospasm. The treatment is safe when small amounts of the botulinum toxin are used. When taken in large quantities, it can lead to Botulism. Most clients prefer botulinum toxin treatment since it helps them improve their appearance by eliminating superficial wrinkles and fine lines, making the face look radiant and younger. Some patients experience signs of ageing at an early age. Botulinum toxin treatments may help restore their look.

What is Botulinum Toxin Treatment Used For?

The anti-wrinkle treatment is used for cosmetic and medical purposes. It is considered safe when used in small quantities and conducted by a professional cosmetic doctor.

Cosmetic Uses

Botox has gained popularity. Botulinum toxin is mainly used to reduce facial wrinkles. The anti-wrinkle treatment results last three to six months. However, this depends on the kind of injection. 

Medical Uses

Cosmetic doctors use botulinum toxin to treat various medical conditions. The anti-wrinkle treatment can potentially treat neurological movement disorder that leads to neck pain, which can affect the head(Jabbari, 2016). It also helps patients whose headaches occur more than 15 times a month, causing migraines.

Some patients suffer from intense sweating. Botulinum toxin injections can help reduce this condition by inhibiting the discharge of acetylcholine around the sweat glands. Cosmetic doctors inject anti-wrinkle injections into the regions which sweat copiously, like the palms of hands, back of knees and underarms. Some patients use the anti-wrinkle treatment to treat eyelid spasms, crossed eyes, upper limb spasticity and overactive bladder.

The Procedure of Botulinum Toxin Injection

Cosmetic doctors dilute saline powder and inject it directly into the neuromuscular tissue. It may take twoto three days for the toxin to be effective. This varies from patient to patient. It may take some patients five days or even a week to see the full impact. Depending on the treatment, it lasts three to six months. Cosmetic doctors advise clients to stop receiving botulinum toxin injections while breastfeeding or pregnant. Allergic patients are also advised not to undergo anti-wrinkle injections.

Risks and Side Effects of Botulinum Toxin Treatment

Most patients withstand the anti-wrinkle injections well. However, botulinum toxin can result in some side effects like cardiovascular events, spatial disorientation, urinary problems, temporary eyelid drooping, headache, bruising, swelling and mild pain, numbness, stomach upset and dry eye. Patients with allergies or sensitivity to botox should not receive this injection since it may bring complications to the body.

Frequently Asked Questions about Botox

How Does Botox Work?

Botox is injected into the targeted region using a fine needle. It operates by inhibiting the nerve signals required for facial muscles to relax, leading to the expression of wrinkles and lines.

Is Botox Painful?

Botulinum toxin injection is not painful. However, some patients report discomfort, bruising and swelling after the procedure. This is very common, and clients should be reassured since they disappear quickly. However, if the side effects persist, clients should take immediate action and see the doctor as soon as possible.

Is Botox Safe?

Botulinum toxin treatment is safe when used in small amounts and when a licenced cosmetic doctor conducts the procedure. Nevertheless, breastfeeding clients, pregnant or with neurological diseases, should not undergo Botox injections.

Should I Do Anything to Prepare for the Treatment?

One week before the procedure, cosmetic doctors advise clients to avoid taking alcohol or blood-thinning medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin. This will aid in reducing bruising and bleeding during the treatment.


When botulinum toxin is used in small amounts, it offers many benefits to the body. The anti-wrinkle treatment works by inhibiting the signal nerves that cause the contraction of muscles. For any contraction of powers, the nerves discharge acetylcholine at the point where muscle cells meet nerve endings. Clients should seek aesthetic services from a licenced cosmetic doctor to enjoy optimal results.


Ahmed, M. A., Venugopal, S., & Jung, R. (2021). Engaging biological oscillators through second messenger pathways permits the emergence of a robust gastric slow-wave during peristalsis. PLoS Computational Biology17(12), e1009644.

AlAhmary, A. W., Alqhtani, S. M., Alshahrani, B. A., Alkaram, W. A., Alhadad, B. S., & Elmarakby, A. M. (2020). Clinical Applications of Botulinum Toxin in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Clinical Applications of Botulinum Toxin in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences8(F), 260-271.

Jabbari, B. (2016). History of botulinum toxin treatment in movement disorders. Tremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements, 6.

Liu, J., Ting, J. P., Al-Azzam, S., Ding, Y., & Afshar, S. (2021). Therapeutic Advances in Diabetes, Autoimmune, and Neurological Diseases. International journal of molecular sciences22(6), 2805.

Park, J. H., Kim, R., Na, S. H., & Kwon, S. Y. (2021). Effect of botulinum toxin in stellate ganglion for craniofacial hyperhidrosis: a case report. Journal of International Medical Research49(3), 03000605211004213.

Satriyasa, B. K. (2019). Botulinum toxin (Botox) A for reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles: a literature review of clinical use and pharmacological aspect. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 12, 223.

Marie Salbuvik