Botulinum toxin has been known for over a century and used for medical and cosmetic purposes for more than 50 years. Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Cosmetically it is most commonly used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It acts by blocking the chemical message from the nerve to the targeted muscle, resulting in a temporary reduction of muscle contraction which leads to the formation of wrinkles.
Botulinum toxin is safe and effective in reduction of fine lines and wrinkles that appear while you make facial expressions, such as when you frown or raise your eyebrows (dynamic lines). The presence of these lines can make you look older, tired, unhappy or angry.
Botulinum toxin, known more popularly as Botox, Bocoture, Azzalure and Dysport, is a prescription medicine. It should be administered by trained professionals only. The aim of treatment is to relax the muscles and prevent the formation of wrinkles. This will reduce the signs of ageing and improve the overall appearance.
The treatment should be repeated every 3 – 6 months to maintain the best results for a longer period.
Botulinum toxin is used medically to treat:
- Excessive sweating
- Muscular disorders
- Bladder and bowel disorders.
Cosmetic use of Botulinum toxin is for the temporary smoothing of:
- Glabellar lines (frown lines)
- Horizontal forehead lines
- Crow’s feet (Lines around eyes)
- Marionette lines (Droopy mouth corners)
- Eyebrow lifting
- Gummy smile
- Smoker’s lines around the lips.
Injections with Botulinum toxin are generally well tolerated. The possible side effects are:
- Mild bruising
- Discomfort and redness at injection site (short lived)
- Headaches and influenza-like illness
- Temporary upper lid or brow ptosis (drooping).
Wrinkle reduction treatment is not recommended if you are breastfeeding, pregnant or planning to become pregnant; you should consult your doctor before starting this treatment.
Taking aspirin, ibuprofen or other non-steroidal analgesics can cause thinning of blood and increase the chances of bleeding and bruising. Some natural supplements such as fish oil, gingko, or vitamin E, can also cause thinning of the blood. It is advisable to stop the above pills two weeks before commencing your treatment and consult your doctor before starting the treatment.