Botox: How Does Botox Work?

Botox is a popular treatment option for wrinkles and frown line, which are inevitable as you age. The decision to get this cosmetic treatment is a crucial one that requires you to factor in all relevant facts. Some people swear against the procedure because the compound is a neurotoxin. The idea of willingly injecting poison into the body doesn’t sound appealing. However, that is only half the information about the treatment and learning a few other basics should address many concerns.

What Is It

Botox is a chemical compound from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which is dangerous in large amounts – it can cause a condition called botulism. Incorrect dosage can result in botulism complications such as bladder control issues, paralysis, and breathing troubles, among others. However, it is useful in the right dosages and treatment applications. When diluted, the purified protein is injected into certain muscles to trigger relaxation.

After the FDA had approved botulinum as a treatment in the 1980s, doctors began using it to cure ophthalmologic conditions such as lazy eye and uncontrolled blinking. The ability of the compound to control the weakening of muscles is what has made it an effective solution for facial wrinkles. It wasn’t until 2002 that the FDA gave approval for botulinum to be used as a treatment for mild to severe frown lines. This move allowed dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons to utilise the protein in other facial muscles.

The Procedure

The compound comes in powder form, and a doctor has to dilute it first with a saline solution. Besides making an injectable solution, the saline gets rid of any noxious qualities in the protein. The doctor then injects the solution through the dermis and into the intended muscle. This protein works by blocking signal transmission from the nerves to the muscle. It means that even though the brain keeps sending signals to the muscles, the message is not received, so the muscles don’t respond. Once the compound enters the system, the muscle loses the ability to contract. As the muscle relaxes, it smoothes out the wrinkles.

Patients getting this treatment don’t need anaesthesia for the procedure. The process lasts a few minutes, and the effects begin to manifests after 3-7 days. It means you can resume your routine right after the treatment. Expect a bit of swelling after the procedure, although it only lasts a short while (an hour or so)

The injection only causes mild discomfort. Your dermatologist can give instructions on the necessary preparations for getting the procedure. For example, patients should avoid medication that increases bruising, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin. Doctors also recommend against taking alcohol a week before the process. Patients also get advice on aftercare to guarantee desirable results. Rubbing and massaging the injected region is not recommended because you can cause the migration of the compound.

The protein doesn’t move around the body after injection. If a dermatologist injects it under your eyes, it stays in that area. It may move only about 3 cm, but the dosages used in cosmetic procedures are very low such that they don’t pose any harm even if they enter the bloodstream. The compound stays functional for about four months and then it starts breaking down into harmless components that are excreted or recycled in the body. A patient needs another injection to keep the wrinkles at bay after this period.

Doctors use Botox in cosmetic applications to treat forehead frown lines, crow’s feet (lines between the brows), and lines around the eyes. Wrinkles that are a result of sun damage may not respond to the treatment.