Dr Nathalie Bolding explains the history of Botox –
‘Botox’ (otherwise known as ‘miracle poison’!) is our most popular treatment here at Nova Clinic and this too reflects its dominance in the non-surgical aesthetic world internationally. Whilst no formal statistics for the UK non-surgical market yet exist, data recently published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) shows treatment with Botulinum Type A miles ahead of its counterparts in the USA, with 7.23 million procedures conducted in 2017, up 2 per cent from 2016. To put this into a little bit of perspective, the entirety of Arizona has a population of just over 7 million! Soft tissue fillers came a not-so-close second with 2.69 million procedures performed in total, a 3 per cent rise from 2016, followed by chemical peels.
Frankly, this does not come as a surprise to those of us in the industry; after all, what is their not to love? As loyal clients, you may be aware of its beloved staple indications (frown, forehead and crows feet) but did you know that there are many more areas in which Botox can, and does excel? In this post we explore a little bit about the history of aesthetics’ sweetheart and exactly what it can do.
What has come to be commonly known as ‘Botox’ (in fact the brand name of the first and most well-known form of the toxin) is in fact an extremely dilute form of the toxin Clostridium Botulinum. This bacteria was first identified in the 19thcentury as causing paralysis in those afflicted with the disease ‘botulism’, spread by contaminated food sources (and thus present in infinitely higher concentrations than in the injectable form). It was not until the 1970’s, however, that its medicinal uses were fully realised when Dr Alan Scott began injecting patients suffering from a squint. It was noted that, as an unanticipated side effect, it dramatically improved lines around the area of injection site and thus went onto be licensed for this specifically. Other medical uses include migraines, urinary incontinence and a specific form of neck pain known as cervical dystonia. Furthermore, because Botox was the first bacterial product to be injected into the human body as part of medical treatment, it has its own special place in the annals of medicine and indeed, history itself.
Once injected into the muscle, the mechanism of action of botox is to cause temporary muscle paralysis by inhibiting the release of chemical messengers inbetween nerves, This prevents muscular contraction and therefore causes the desired cosmetic effect. However it also leads to a local inflammatory response, drawing water into the injected area further producing the smooth, wrinkle free surface we all know and love. Over time, new receptors and ‘nerve sprouting’ results in a gradual return of muscle movement and therefore the dynamic and static lines seen prior to injection. This process usually takes around 4 months, however some individuals may see effects lasting as long as 6 months.
However its not just muscles that Botox works its magic on. It also inhibits these chemical messengers in sweat glands and as such is a miracle worker for people who have issues with excess underarm sweat, also known as hyperhydrosis. This treatment dramatically improves someone’s quality of life in just under 15 minutes, lasting for up to 6 months. Furthermore, because the injections are so superficial it’s largely pain free!
Botox can also dramatically transform a persons face shape if desired. Injected into the muscles used in chewing (the masseters) it gradually causes the muscles to shrink (or atrophy), resulting in a more streamlined, thinner jawline and giving the face the internationally desired ‘heart-shape’ appearance. Additionally, it can be used to treat dimpled chins and ‘bunny lines’ and can even correct a gummy smile in minutes. In fact this treatment is commonly used in conjunction with lip filler to create the perfect pout.
So there we have it. Botox is not only incredibly effective but extremely versatile. It can achieve life-changing results in a matter of minutes and, done well, no one ever need know you’ve given Mother Nature a little helping hand!
As always, one of our highly trained Aesthetic Doctors are on hand to answer any Botox related questions so book a bespoke one-to-one consultation today to see what Botox can do for you.