What Is Botox® and Is It Right For Me?Editor
Botox is a neurotoxin derived from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. While technically a poison, Botox is right for you if you have certain muscular disorders or want a cosmetic treatment that reduces lines and wrinkles by temporarily weakening the underlying muscles.
Botox is safe, but there are alternatives for those who want to get rid of lines and wrinkles, especially in the face. Here’s a closer look at Botox and its uses for cosmetic procedures.
Why People Use Botox
Over time, people develop lines and wrinkles on their skin from years of facial expressions caused by smiling and squinting. With age, the skin loses some elasticity and these lines may become more pronounced. Botox is a safe method for reducing those lines and making the skin appear smoother and more youthful.
How It Got Started
Researchers first developed Botox to treat muscular disorders. In the proper dosages, Botox can paralyze the muscles under the skin temporarily. It used to treat muscle spasms in various parts of the body, including the eyelids, head, and neck, as well as for those suffering from past-stroke muscle spasms. It also can help those who have excessive sweating.
How It Works
Botox is injected into the muscles under the skin where a patient has lines or wrinkles they wish to reduce. The full effect of the injections is not seen for about four to seven days. Then, the smoother effect will last for months for most patients.
There are few side effects of using Botox. A very small percentage of patients (about 1%) may develop antibodies in reaction to the injection that make further injections not work as well. Some may experience headaches. But the vast majority have only minor, if any, side effects.
Types of Treatment
Botox is the best-known type of treatment that is based on the bacteria. However, there are other products that also reduce facial lines and wrinkles that cosmetic doctors can use.
- Dysport. This injectable treatment is also made from botulinum toxin type A, as is Botox. While approved in the United States in 2009 as a treatment for wrinkles, it’s been used in places like Europe and South America for many years.
- Xeomin. This is one of the newer cosmetic treatment drugs, approved by the FDA in 2011, that is used to relax facial muscles.
- Kybella. This is used specifically to improve the appearance of moderate to severe fat below the chin (often referred to as the “double chin”). This is the only FDA-approved injectable treatment designed to destroy fat cells under the chin.
Deciding which treatment to use is a highly personal decision. The best advice is to consult with a doctor and find out what treatments are available that can safely address your specific issue.