BOTOX Now and Then

botoxEveryone has heard of BOTOX, whether they’re in the market for reducing wrinkles on the expressive portion of the face or not. It has become one of the world’s most famous brand names, but there is still some mystery surrounding what this popular wrinkle relaxer is made of and how it works.

Since our Diamond Medical Spa patients are big BOTOX fans, here’s some more information you may find helpful, or at least interesting.

What is BOTOX?

BOTOX is made from the botulinum toxin type A, along with a few added proteins. The botulinum toxin is a neurotoxic protein that causes the disease botulism.

Scientists first isolated the Clostridium botulinum as the bacterial source of botulism to combat the effect it was having on the California canning industry. They found that the toxin could become inactive by heating it, saving the industry.

The outbreak of WW II made for more attention to the botulinum toxin. Scientists at Fort Detrick in Maryland investigated weaponizing the toxin, inventing ways of concentrating and crystallizing it. When the Army abandoned its Chemical Corps, one of its doctors, Edward Schantz, used some of its findings to create the first clinical product. The scientists had discovered that if the concentrated toxin was injected into a muscle in very small amounts, it blocked the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine resulting in paralysis of the muscle.

Thus was born BOTOX as a clinical product.

First uses

BOTOX was first utilized in the 70s to treat blepharospasms, involuntary eyelid spasms that are caused by overactive muscles. A byproduct of this research on eyelids spasms was the discovery of BOTOX for cosmetic use. Doctors found that patients who received injections around the eyes and upper face also enjoyed diminished facial glabellar lines (the 11s that form between our eyebrows). The doctors then made the jump to using BOTOX to stop the muscle contractions that form wrinkles. The FDA approved it for cosmetic use on the upper third of the face in 2002.

How BOTOX works

Certain wrinkles on the human face are created by muscle contractions beneath the skin. These are called dynamic wrinkles and occur in the expressive area of the face, the upper third, comprising the forehead and area around the eyes. If we squint, frown, show surprise, and the like, we activate muscles to make these expressions. As our skin becomes less pliable with age, these actions begin to form wrinkles on the surface. When injected into these muscles, BOTOX blocks the message to contract the muscle sent from the nerves to the brain. And if the muscle doesn’t contract, the wrinkle doesn’t form. Such is the magic of BOTOX.

Now that you’re a BOTOX whiz, maybe it’s time to teach those forehead wrinkles and your crow’s feet a little about BOTOX. Call us at 563-275-4701 to make an appointment.


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