Botox is one of the world’s most well known brand names. That’s interesting considering what Botox is — it’s primarily made from the botulinum toxin type A, the same bacteria that can cause botulism.
Of course, Botox’s reputation comes from its ability to erase wrinkles and lines on the upper third of the face. It is very effective for treating crow’s feet, the 11s between the eyebrows, and forehead lines. We offer Botox as part of our aesthetic treatments at Affirm Health Center.
Where Botox came from
Way back in the 40s scientists researching botulism found that when a tiny amount of the botulinum toxin was injected into a muscle it temporarily stopped that muscle from contracting. That obviously had lots of promise for treating issues with involuntary muscle contractions. In fact, once Botox was developed, its first FDA approved use was for blepharospasm (involuntary eyelid spasms) in 1996.
Since that time Botox has been approved for numerous other wide-ranging uses: migraine headaches, temporomandibular joint disorder, urinary incontinence, even excessive underarm sweating.
But Botox became a phenomenon in 2002. That was the year the FDA approved Botox for treatment of forehead lines and glabellar lines (frown lines) on the upper third of the face. It added approval for crow’s feet in 2013, although it had been used off-label for crow’s feet for years. Ever since 2002 Botox has been the world’s most popular cosmetic procedure, surgical or non-surgical, every year.
How does Botox work?
Botox only works on wrinkles that form above muscle contractions, known as dynamic wrinkles. When we make various expressions, such as frowning or showing surprise, we engage our muscles around the eyes, the eyebrow area, and on the forehead. Go ahead, make a frown and feel the muscles engage. Over time, with hundreds of thousands of contractions, coupled with declining collagen production and thinning skin, wrinkles begin to form on the surface skin above these muscles. Those are crow’s feet at the outside of the eyes, the 11s (glabellar lines) between the eyebrows, and forehead lines.
When injected into these muscles, the botulinum toxin blocks the acetylcholine, the nerve messenger in the muscles, from sending its message to contract the muscle to the brain. The brain never receives the message, so the muscle remains at rest, and the wrinkle on the surface skin doesn’t form. Such is the magic of Botox.