Botox is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large amounts, this toxin can cause botulism, which you probably associate with food poisoning. Despite the fact that one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered a way to use it to human advantage. Small, diluted amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles causing controlled weakening of the muscles.
The FDA approved such usage in the late 1980s upon the discovery that Botox could stop ailments like blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking) and strabismus (lazy eye). Cosmetic physicians have been using Botox for years to successfully treat wrinkles and facial creases. In April 2002, Botox gained FDA approval for treatment of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows – called glabellar lines. However, Botox is often used for other areas of the face as well.
The use of Clostridium Botulinum A exotoxin, commonly known as botulinum toxin (BTX), is one of the most popular method of combating cutaneous signs of aging particularly the dynamic wrinkles of face.
How does Botox work?
Botox works by blocking the release of acetylcholine, so muscle contractions are reduced. This temporarily decreased muscle activity helps reduce the appearance of moderate to severe wrinkles. Botox can be effectively used for:
- Prevention of wrinkles
- Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating
Botulinum toxin is helpful for dynamic wrinkles and prolonged use may prevent wrinkles in motion from becoming wrinkles at rest.
Areas which are most commonly treated include
- Forehead wrinkles
- Glabellar lines
- Around the eyes (crow’s feet)
Before treatment the area is given local or topical anesthesia to reduce pain. Then botox is injected into the desired area.
There is no recovery period after Botox injections. Patients will be allowed to go home immediately afterward and should remain in an upright position for a few hours afterward to prevent swelling. The area can be washed and maintained according to normal face washing routine.
Results typically take 12 to 96 hours to appear and that the optimum effect develops within 7 days of the procedure. Results last for approximately 6 to 12 months.
Hyperhidrosis or Excessive Sweating
Hyperhidrosis is the condition characterized by abnormally increased sweating in excess of that required for regulation of body temperature.
It results in awkward social situations for those who are affected. This condition can be effectively treated with botox. Areas which are treated include palmes, soles, webs of the hands and feet and axilla. The results last approximately four months.