Botox is the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment, with more than 6 million Botox treatments administered each year.
Botox is a neurotoxin derived from Clostridium botulinum, an organism found in the natural environment where it is largely inactive and non-toxic.
Botulinum toxin is used to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by paralyzing the underlying muscles. It works best in ‘dynamic’ wrinkles that appear while you’re moving your face, such as when you frown. If you don’t move the muscle too much, chances of you having wrinkle will be very low.
People also use Botox to treat excessive sweating, migraines, muscular disorders, and some bladder and bowel disorders.
How does Botox work?
Botulinum toxin can be injected into humans in extremely small concentrations and works by preventing signals from the nerve cells reaching muscles, therefore paralyzing them.
In order for muscles to contract, nerves release a chemical messenger, acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter), at the junction where the nerve endings meet muscle cells. Acetylcholine attaches to receptors on the muscle cells and causes the muscle cells to contract or shorten.
Injected botulinum toxin prevents the release of acetylcholine, preventing contraction of the muscle cells. Botulinum toxin causes a reduction in abnormal muscle contraction, allowing the muscles to become less stiff.
Medical and cosmetic uses of Botox
Botox is most commonly used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Botulinum toxin is predominantly used as a treatment to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and fine lines.
Beyond aesthetic applications, Botox is used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including eye squints, migraines, excess sweating, and leaky bladders.
How is the botox procedure performed?
Botulinum toxin is administered by diluting the powder in saline and injecting it directly into neuromuscular tissue. It takes 24-72 hours for botulinum toxin to take effect. In very rare circumstances, it may take as long as 5 days for the full effect of botulinum toxin to be observed.
Botulinum toxin should not be used in pregnant or lactating women, or by people who have had a previous allergic reaction to the drug or any of its ingredients.
What are risks and side effects of Botox
Injections with botulinum toxin are generally well tolerated and there are few side effects. In rare cases, an individual may have a genetic predisposition that results in a mild, transient unusual response to the drug.
Around 1 percent of people receiving injections of botulinum toxin type A develop antibodies to the toxin that make subsequent treatments ineffective.
Along with its intended effects, botulinum toxin may cause some unwanted effects. These can include mild pain, local edema (fluid build-up) and/or erythema (reddening of the skin) at the injection site, Numbness, Headache, Mild nausea, Temporary unwanted weakness/paralysis of nearby muscles, Flu-like illness.
However, needless to worry about these complications as they are short-lived and will dissipate completely in few months.