Botox or botulinum is a neurotoxin that is extracted from Clostridium botulinum, which is a bacterium. This neurotoxin is quite lethal, and is therefore used in very small dosage, when it is used for treating muscle spasms.
The therapeutic properties of Botox came to light in 1960s, but it was only in 1980s that Botox was officially acknowledged for its medicinal usefulness. That this potent substance could also be used in cosmetology came to light much later.
What does Botox do?
Basically, Botox reduces the muscular activity. This is achieved by type-A of the toxin. The neurotoxin prevents the neurons from releasing Acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter in both central as well as peripheral nervous systems. Acetylcholine is held in a vesicle, or a sac within neurons. This vesicle binds on site of the muscle’s membrane and the neurotransmitter is released into that membrane. Botox blocks the vesicle from binding to the membrane, because of which, the neurotransmitter is not released into the muscles. This makes the muscles stay taut. The toxin effectively paralyzes the muscles.
How is Botox used in medicine?
FDA has allowed this toxin to be used in medications for treating problems like excessive salivation, diabetic neuropathy, healing any injury, and central nervous system problems like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, etc. The effect of this compound can last 3 to 4 months or possibly a little longer in some people.
When used for cosmetic purposes, the effect may last for a short duration, about 2 or 3 month period. Cosmetic treatments with Botox primarily involve reduction of movement in facial muscles, or other muscles connected with them. The cosmetic usage includes treating certain types of squints, treating people who sweat too much, treating migraines, stopping too much of blinking, and cervical dystonia (neurological dysfunction causing twitching or twisting of the muscles in the neck area) .
For cosmetic effects, the neurotoxin is injected below the skin instead of being injected deeper into muscles as is the case in medicinal applications. Due to the muscular tautness, the skin looks as if it has no wrinkles. Effectively, the skin on face appears much younger.
Botox injections have become very popular among many celebrities. To look younger is a necessity for them; you might be correct in thinking that staying young looking is part of the job description, even if it is only implied. Some of them have also paid price. In fact, a few of them have undergone series of such Botox injections hoping to correct the problems that surfaced with the previous one, but only managed to look awkward.
Before you undergo any Botox injections, educate yourself on the possible things that could go wrong. Make an informed decision. Most people are very satisfied with their Botox procedures, but there are those who weren’t so fortunate.
A recent study by Dr. Becker, from New York’s Weill Cornell Medical College has more disturbing news related to Botox. According to Dr. Becker, people who opt to look younger by using Botox are actually harming themselves as the compound results in the patients getting more wrinkles than before. Dr. Becker is the assistant professor (dermatology) at this college. He found that Botox does paralyze a few muscles, but the adjacent muscles take over the functions of conveying the expressions that these paralyzed muscles were supposed to convey. In the process, they develop more wrinkles.
To see images of Botox images gone wrong, click here.