What is botox? Is BOTOX® a Wonder Drug?

What does BOTOX do

In the beginning, BOTOX calmed twitching eyelids and reduced muscle spasms that caused people to have crossed eyes. Twenty-five years later, BOTOX injections are the world’s most common cosmetic procedure and treat a range of medical issues that seems to increase with each passing year.

Besides giving skin a smoother appearance around the eyes and forehead, BOTOX provides relief for migraine sufferers, curtails the embarrassment of excessive underarm sweating, and helps with incontinence. Swallowing difficulty and Bell’s Palsy syndrome, which can cause partial paralysis of the face, also respond to BOTOX treatments.

botox-before-and-afterPositive BOTOX side effects

What’s more, researchers now believe that BOTOX can help people with depression. Not bad for a drug that is made using the same toxin that can prove fatal in higher doses. In fact, it’s the muscle-relaxing property that scientists first discovered could be used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Last year, providers performed more than 6 million BOTOX procedures in the U.S. alone, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

How does BOTOX work?

Start with the fact that cosmetic and medical BOTOX doses are 1,000 times lower than what’s considered dangerous. Scientists first discovered in the 1950s that botulinum toxin injections can reduce muscle spasms, and researchers in the next 2 decades explored using the toxin to treat crossed eyes. It wasn’t until 1989, however, that the FDA first approved BOTOX to treat that condition, along with eyelid spasms. In 2000, BOTOX gained approval to treat neck pain caused by a rare condition called cervical dystonia.

But 2002 was the watershed year, when BOTOX Cosmetic — made with the same formula used in medical BOTOX but with specific dosing instructions — earned FDA approval to treat moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows.

BOTOX cosmetic uses for:

  • Improving the appearance of crow’s feet at the corner of the eyes
  • Reducing forehead wrinkles
  • Softening “worry lines” between the brows
  • Relaxing the muscles that cause neck bands

The fact that BOTOX Cosmetic is a minimally invasive procedure that can be completed in a matter of minutes boosted its popularity almost as much as how effectively the treatment reduced wrinkles. It quickly became the top treatment at many medical day spas started, such as the CaloSpa Rejuvenation Center, which started offering BOTOX treatments at its Louisville clinic combined with other procedures for a complete facial rejuvenation during the lunch hour.

BOTOX is now seen as an effective, if temporary, alternative to surgical procedures such as blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery. Plastic surgeons sometimes even pair BOTOX with cosmetic facial surgery to revitalize the face.

Another factor continues to help boost BOTOX’s popularity. An increasing number of men are getting BOTOX injections, according to the ASPS. Men got more than 385,000 BOTOX injections in 2013, an increase of more than 300% since 2002. BOTOX is an ideal treatment for men, who are often reluctant to undergo more invasive cosmetic procedures because of social stigmas. BOTOX doesn’t require downtime, and it is more discreet than plastic surgery.

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