What Is Botox?
Botox is a toxin that was originally isolated from the Clostridium botulinum bacteria to treat strabismus, a problem with the eye muscles that causes one or both of the eyes to ‘cross’. The toxin relaxed these muscles. Doctors began using Botox to treat spasms in face muscles. During this treatment the doctors noticed that patients had less wrinkles in the face over the injection site. Eventually doctors started to offer Botox injections for people that wanted smoother looking skin.
WHEN DID THE FDA APPROVE BOTOX FOR USE?
The first use of Botox was in 1977 for strabismus. The FDA did not approve Botox for this application until 1989. The approval for using Botox in cosmetic applications did not come until 2002, though doctors had been offering it for cosmetic use since 1996.
WHERE IS BOTOX USED?
The most popular use of Botox is to reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the forehead and between the eyebrows. Small wrinkles by the corners of the eyes, called crow’s feet, is another popular injection site. Wrinkles by the sides of the nose and even chin are now being injected to reduce lines and wrinkles. Some doctors use Botox to help with lines around the mouth, though this is a delicate procedure.
HOW DOES BOTOX WORK?
The toxin is actually causing paralysis. When it is injected into the muscles, Botox destroys the connections between nerves and muscles. When the muscles are not moving, wrinkles are not being created on the dermis. Over time the wrinkles become less visible – the dermis grows thicker, reducing the depth of the wrinkle.
By repeatedly injecting Botox, the muscles are kept from recovering. During long term use some people may become resistant to Botox. If and when this happens, larger doses must be used or combined with another similar medication.
HOW LONG DO THE EFFECTS LAST?
This depends on the individual. The body begins to fight the action of Botox quickly, as the muscles and nerves want to recover. The point of the injections is to defeat the muscle repair, causing the skin to remain relaxed. Effects after injections can last for several months, and even longer in people that have had repeated doses.
The more injections, the more muscles are kept from moving and causing more wrinkles. Again, some people may become resistant to the effects and need a different treatment. This resistance is caused by your body creating antibodies that fight the toxin Botox is comprised of.
WHEN WILL I SEE RESULTS?
Results are not seen immediately after injection. No matter the hype – it takes a few days before results are apparent for most people. The nerves and muscle junctions take time to feel the effects of the toxin. Full results can take a week or more to appear for some patients.
The injection is placed near the bone in the upper parts of the face, such as the browline, and spreads about a half inch in all directions. This is one reason that injections near the mouth can be difficult. If you have injections that are near the wrong muscles, the medication can cause drooling, speech problems, and asymmetrical mouth position.
Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see results right after injection. Remember that it takes time for the Botox to work. You will begin to see results soon and should enjoy them for months. If you become resistant to the injections there are other similar injections that can help continue the anti-wrinkle effects. Just ask Dr. Michael Horn of Chicago if Botox is right for you and your needs.