Botox is a brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum manufactured by Allergan. In large amounts, this toxin can cause botulism, which you probably associate with food poisoining. Despite the fact that one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered a way to use it to human advantage. Small, diluted amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles causing controlled weakening of the muscles.
The FDA approved usage in the late 1980s upon the discovery that Botox could stop ailments like blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking) and strabismus (lazy eye). Doctors have been using this medicine for years to successfully treat wrinkles and facial creases. In April 2002, Botox has gained FDA approval for treatment of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows – called glabellar lines. However, Botox is also used for other areas of the face as well.
It blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscles can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften.
It is often used on forehead lines, crow’s feet (lines around the eye) and frown lines. Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity do not respond to Botox.
Getting Botox takes only a few minutes and no anesthesia is required. Botox is injected with a fine needle into specific muscles with only minor discomfort. Generally it takes three to seven days to take full effect and it is best to avoid alcohol at least one week prior to treatment. Aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications should be stopped two weeks before treatment as well in order to reduce bruising.