Lets start with the BIG question, What are the potential problems with Botox?
Here it is:
The bacterium Clostridium botulinum is responsible for botulism, a horrific and potentially fatal disease that is mercifully rare in today’s society. The neurotoxic protein that the bacterium releases is known as botulinum toxin.
It’s the most acutely lethal toxin to human beings. And yet people are having it injected into their faces.
Why? For beauty’s sake, of course!
Botulinum toxin type A has been marketed under the brand name Botox since 2002, after some daring dermatologists experimented with using it to treat frown lines between the eyebrows. Since then, type B has also been approved by the FDA, under the brand name Myobloc.
B has been shown to have a faster onset of action and to diffuse through a larger area of the face, and is now used to treat cervical dystonia, which causes painful muscles spasms in the neck.
Botulinum toxin is now one of the most popular cosmetic treatments, used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles or completely eliminate them. But with such a dicey origin, is it really safe?
Read on to learn about the potential benefits of Botox, and some of the problems it can cause.
How Botox Works:
The muscular paralysis that botulism causes is harnessed for cosmetic purposes in commercial Botox.
The signals that tell muscles to contract are blocked by the toxin, meaning that the face remains rigid in the areas treated by Botox, thus reducing and preventing wrinkling in these areas.
While it doesn’t permanently remove wrinkles, its effects are quite noticeable, and can last from 3-8 months.
When used to treat the muscle spasms caused by cervical dystonia, it relaxes the muscles of the neck, helping patients to achieve healthier neck positioning.
It’s also used to treat problems like crossed eyes and uncontrollable blinking.
The Advantages of Botox:
The cosmetics industry makes billions of dollars selling products that purport to prevent and delay the effects of aging, but few of the products they push can promise to achieve as dramatic an effect as Botox. After all, a lotion is no match for a neurotoxin!
It promises quick results, as the smoothing effects of the injection can be seen in a matter of hours or days, and it works in almost all cases, so however deep your crow’s feet are, Botox will likely have an effect.
It works on smile and laugh lines as well as wrinkles.
It’s a temporary treatment, meaning you can have it once and decide not to repeat the process if you don’t like the effects, and has not permanent effect on your skin.
The procedure is extremely quick, taking only 5-10 minutes. It’s far cheaper and quicker than cosmetic surgery and you aren’t stuck with the results forever.
Disadvantages of Botox:
While the impermanence of Botox is a good thing for some, it means that if you do like the effects, you’ll be stuck going back every few months-and the costs add up over time. Although “preventative Botox” is trendy among youger people, dermatologists say there’s no evidence for its efficacy. Although Botox is safe for most people aside from pregnant women, there is a risk of an allergic reaction, particularly in patients who are on antibiotics.
There’s also the very real problem of the “Botox frown” or “permasmile,” a rigid facial expression that some patients develop, caused by the paralysis of their facial muscles.
You may end up looking surprised all the time, as your eyebrows will be suspended higher than normal, and some people experience ptosis, causing one or both eyelids to droop.
Despite its sketchy origins, Botox is not particularly dangerous or risky, but that doesn’t make it the best choice for everyone.
Consult with your dermatologist and decide if it’s right for you.
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