Botox is among the most popular treatments for cosmetic and medical uses. This article will discuss in detail what Botox does, including, what it is, how it works, and frequently asked questions about botulinum toxin injections.
Botulinum toxin is a protein neurotoxin from bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When used correctly, botulinum toxin is an effective treatment for various issues, including cosmetic and medical conditions. Cosmetic botulinum toxin is commonly used to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and make the skin smooth and young-looking. Botulinum toxin is an approved treatment for various health issues, including cervical dystonia, chronic migraines, eyelid spasms, and severe underarm sweating, among other conditions. Cosmetic botulinum injection has become the most preferred method to address aging signs and help patients achieve a youthful appearance. The treatment is temporary and lasts 3 to 6 months, depending on several factors. Certified aesthetic practitioners should administer the anti-wrinkle injection to produce the desired results. Patients should also follow suitable aftercare practices for optimal results.
What Is Botox, and How Does It Work?
Botox is a brand name for botulinum toxin, derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum). The bacterium is found in lakes, soil, forest, some foods, and the intestinal tracts of animals. Botulinum toxin is a very poisonous substance. Studies show that a single gram of the toxin could kill more than one million people. Its Manufacturers use minute doses of highly purified botulinum toxin to make safe therapeutic products. The anti-wrinkle injection is used for cosmetic issues related to muscle cell contraction. It is widely known as an anti-wrinkle treatment; it reduces facial wrinkles, such as deep forehead wrinkles, glabellar lines, and crow’s feet.
Botulinum toxin injections reduce dynamic muscle movements and contractions that cause skin wrinkling. The botulinum neurotoxin works by disrupting nerve signaling functions which stimulate muscle contractions. The toxin blocks the release of a neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine; the neurotransmitter is responsible for muscle contraction. Acetylcholine binds to the receptors in the neuromuscular junctions causing the surrounding muscle cells to contract. Constant muscle contractions and movement results in skin wrinkling and other health issues linked to the neuromuscular system. Botulinum toxin stops this process by inhibiting the release of acetylcholine, causing muscle cells to weaken and relax temporarily. As a result, the appearance of facial wrinkles and creases at the injected area gradually reduces until the skin becomes smooth and refreshed. The wrinkles and fine lines at the injected area begin to reappear once the effects of the injection begin to wear off. Patients can schedule top-up treatments to maintain their desired looks for longer.
Cosmetic Uses of Botox
In their 2016 report, the American Board of Plastic surgeons estimated that more than 7 million people receive Botox injections for cosmetic purposes. Different patients sign up for botulinum toxin treatments to address issues in the forehead, lips, nose around the eyes, chin, and mouth corners. However, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has approved Cosmetic botulinum toxin injections for deep forehead lines, crow’s feet, and glabellar lines.
Park &Ahn (2021) investigated the aesthetic uses of botulinum toxin type A (Botox). They concluded that botulinum toxin is used cosmetically to treat facial wrinkles with skin rejuvenation and to contour the lower face, calf, mandibular and neck-shoulder lines. It also treats local hyperhidrosis in the axilla, palm, forehead, and scalp. However, more research is needed to provide evidence supporting these claims.
Medical Uses of Botox
Healthcare providers also use botulinum toxin injections for medical linked to the neuromuscular system. According to Padda &Tadi (2021), the FDA has also approved botulinum injections for the following medical conditions;
- Hyperhidrosis or extreme underarm sweating
- Upper limb spasticity
- Overactive bladder
- Blepharospasm or eyelid spasm
- Strabismus or crossed eyes
- Chronic migraine
- Cervical dystonia
- Hemifacial spasms
According to Lewandowski (2022), numerous promising reports are based on off-label botulinum toxin usage, indicating its potential effectiveness in other diseases, which remains unknown to many. Among them, dermatological conditions such as rosacea, annal fissure, Raynaud phenomenon, androgenetic alopecia, plaque psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, Hailey-Hailey disease, eccrine nevus, oily skin, pompholyx, hydrocystomas, nostalgia paresthetica, linear immunoglobulin A bullous dermatosis (LABD), and hypertrophic scars and keloids. Azariah et al. (2022) also investigated the non-cosmetic uses of botulinum toxin. The results indicated that spastic disorders, dystonia, and migraine were the most commonly treated conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions on Botox Injections
What Are the Dos and Don’ts After botulinum toxin treatment?
- Make faces (facial expressions) for about an hour after the treatment to accelerate the anti-wrinkle uptake into the facial muscles.
- Sit upright for the first 4 to 5 hours after treatment
- Sleep on your back with your head elevated for the first night after the treatment.
- Touching or massaging the injected area.
- Sleeping on the side that got the injection.
- Strenuous activities and intense workouts.
- Facial treatment for at least 2 weeks after the anti-wrinkle injections.
- Overexposure to sunlight and other forms of intense heat, such as saunas, tanning beds, hot tubs, and hot shows, for two weeks after treatment.
What Is the Difference between Botox and Dermal Fillers?
Botulinum toxin injections and dermal fillers are used to address aging signs. However, anti-wrinkle injections reduce the activity of muscles that cause facial wrinkles. In contrast, dermal fillers add and restore volume to certain parts of the skin wasted through aging or environmental conditions.
Botulinum toxin injection has cosmetic and medicinal uses. It can freeze out facial wrinkles and treat various medical issues, most of which are linked to the neuromuscular systems. Cosmetic botulinum toxin inhibits the release of a neurotransmitter responsible for muscle contraction. As a result, the appearance of facial wrinkles and fine lines reduces until the effects of the toxin start to wear off. Patients should ensure that they receive their anti-wrinkle injections from a board-certified cosmetic doctor to minimize the risks of side effects and complications.
Alzarah, S. A., Alabasi, H., Alanazi, L., Aldawsari, M., Aldawsari, E., & Iqbal, S. (2022). Physicians’ Practice of the Non-Cosmetic Uses of Botulinum Toxin: A Cross-Sectional Study in Saudi Arabia. Cureus, 14(1).
Lewandowski, M., Świerczewska, Z., & Barańska-Rybak, W. (2022). Off-Label Use of Botulinum Toxin in Dermatology—Current State of the Art. Molecules, 27(10).
Padda, I. S., & Tadi, P. (2021). Botulinum toxin. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.
Park, M. Y., & Ahn, K. Y. (2021). Scientific review of the aesthetic uses of botulinum toxin type A. Archives of Craniofacial Surgery, 22(1), 1.