By Maria Llorente
What is Botox?
Botox is a trade name for botulinum toxin A. In this way, Botox
is related to botulism. Botulism is a form of food poisoning.
Botulinum toxin A is one of the neurotoxins (a neurotoxin is a
toxin that acts specifically on nervous tissue) produced by
The most serious symptom of botulism is paralysis, which in
some cases has proven to be fatal. The botulinum toxins (there
are seven -- types are A through G) attach themselves to nerve
endings. Once this happens, acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter
responsible for triggering muscle contractions, cannot be
released. A series of proteins are essential for the release of
acetylcholine. Certain botulinum toxins attack these proteins.
Basically, the botulinum toxins block the signals that would
normally tell your muscles to contract. Say, for example, it
attacks the muscles in your chest -- this could have a profound
impact on your breathing. When people die from botulism, this is
often the cause -- the respiratory muscles are paralyzed so it’s
impossible to breathe.
At this point, you may be wondering why anyone would want to
have a botulinum toxin injected into his or her body. The answer
is simple: If an area of the body can't move, it can't wrinkle.
Botox injections are the fastest-growing cosmetic procedure in
the industry, according to the American Society for Aesthetic
Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). In 2001, more than 1.6 million people
received injections, an increase of 46 percent over the previous
year. More popular than breast enhancement surgery and a
potential blockbuster, Botox is regarded by some as the ultimate
fountain of youth.
A little history
Botox was first approved in 1989 to treat two eye muscle
disorders--uncontrollable blinking (blepharospasm) and
misaligned eyes (strabismus). In 2000, the toxin was approved to
treat a neurological movement disorder that causes severe neck
and shoulder contractions, known as cervical dystonia. As an
unusual side effect of the eye disorder treatment, doctors
observed that Botox softened the vertical frown (glabellar)
lines between the eyebrows that tend to make people look tired,
angry or displeased. But until this improvement was actually
demonstrated in clinical studies, Allergan Inc., of Irvine,
Calif., was prohibited from making this claim for the product.
By April 2002, the FDA was satisfied by its review of studies
indicating that Botox reduced the severity of frown lines for up
to 120 days. The agency then granted approval to use the drug
for this condition.
How is Botox applied?
Botox is injected with a very tiny needle. After Botox
injection, the muscles will relax and the skin will smooth out
over about 5 days. The effect usually lasts about six months,
and can be repeated when needed.
There are very few side effects to this procedure. While
allergy to any medicine is possible, it is rare with Botox.
While a small amount of brow or lid droop is possible, it is
unusual and can usually be avoided by not treating the area just
above the outer portion of the brow. If it does happen, it goes
away by itself.
Originally used for treating nervous twitch of the eyelid
muscles, it was discovered that the crow’s feet, frown lines and
forehead creases can be flattened dramatically. Neck Bands can
sometimes be helped also.
Who Can Provide Botox Cosmetic Treatments?
Any authorized healthcare professional can administer BOTOX®
Cosmetic, but dermatologists, plastic surgeons,
ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat
doctors), or physicians specializing in cosmetic procedures are
generally more experienced.
Botox is one of the most popular cosmetic “mini-treatments”
today. This procedure can be done on a lunch break and requires
no anesthesia or recovery.
Choosing a Doctor
You want to find a doctor with experience—someone familiar with
injecting Botox Cosmetic. To make the selection process easier,
consider choosing a doctor from the Botox Cosmetic Physicians’
Network. Members of the Network have medical practices that
focus on facial aesthetics, as well as detailed knowledge of
facial anatomy and experience injecting Botox Cosmetic. Their
practices also offer other facial aesthetic treatments. At the
end of this article there is a link to finding a qualified Botox
doctor in Spain.
Here's what you might expect at the doctor's office from the
moment you arrive until your procedure is done. (Please note
that although this experience is typical, the routine at your
doctor's office may be different.)
• Your doctor will determine where to administer the injections
by examining your ability to move certain muscles in your brow
area. The location, size, and use of the muscles that create a
furrowed brow vary markedly among individuals.
• Your doctor will administer several tiny injections of Botox
Cosmetic directly into the muscles that cause those moderate to
severe frown lines between the brows.
• No anesthesia is required, although your doctor may choose to
numb the area with a cold pack or anesthetic cream prior to
injecting. Discomfort is usually minimal and brief. Most
patients compare the sensation to a pin prick.
You may resume normal activity immediately. You may see a
marked improvement in the moderate to severe frown lines between
your brows within days. Improvement may continue for as long as
a month, and could last up to 4 months.
About the Author: Maria Llorente is a qualified Make Up Artist
and beauty expert who writes on health and beauty subjects.