The FDA first approved Botox® as a cosmetic to treat forehead wrinkles, known as glabellar lines, in 2002. Since then, certified medical professionals have injected it into patients’ foreheads about 11 million times around the world. Doctors and satisfied patients alike point to this number when they vouch for the prescription cosmetic’s ability to restore a youthful look to a face showing the signs of aging or stress.
Botox® is clearly a popular choice when it comes to addressing wrinkles, and the product can stake a claim as the worldwide leader, proving to be the most-used aesthetic medicine that makes use of botulinum toxins.
How Does Botox® Work?
Since wrinkles form with help from repeatedly contracting muscles, Botox® works to diminish the appearance of those wrinkles by preventing the muscles from contracting in the first place.
To get muscles to contract, the body sends messages from the brain, through the nervous system, and into the muscles in question. Botox® Cosmetic keeps those messages from getting through to specific muscles, such as those that cause glabellar lines.
Specifically, it stops a neurotransmitter known as acetycholine from releasing. No release means no message sent, which in turn means a patient’s forehead stays smooth, even when other surrounding muscles are contracting to indicate a frown.
Is Botox® Safe?
Yes, Botox® is derived from bacteria that commonly cause food poisoning, but the cosmetic itself is made from a purified protein and has been studied for more than 40 years for therapeutic uses. It has been used in the medical field since 1989—long before it was regularly applied to address wrinkles.
While there have been reports of the toxin spreading away from the injection site to cause symptoms elsewhere, these have come from its medical uses. When it comes to the cosmetic dermatology uses of Botox®, there have been no definitive serious adverse spreading reactions reported in relation to its labeled dosages, even when it is simultaneously used to treat frown lines and crow’s feet.
In fact, about 2,500 studies contributed to its approval and continued successful use as a cosmetic.
The most frequently reported adverse effect in relation to the use of Botox® to address forehead wrinkles is eyelid drooping in 3 percent of administered cases.
What Can I Do to Ensure the Best Botox® Experience?
Any successful aesthetic procedure is the result of a positive and open collaboration between the patient and the doctor. To ensure that you get the best results possible when it comes to Botox®, be prepared to honestly discuss:
• any allergies you may have, particularly to other products that use botulinum toxin
• any nerve and muscle conditions you may have
• any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, supplements, vitamins, or similar products you may be taking
• any surgeries—cosmetic or otherwise—you have received or hope to receive in the future
• any current pregnancies, plans to become pregnant, or ongoing breastfeeding
• any recent or current health issues
• any issues with your face or muscles that may be cause of concern in relation to Botox® injections
It is also important to note that you should mention that you have received a Botox® injection to any health-care provider you may see for other issues over the coming months, as the cosmetic can trigger serious side effects when paired with particular medicines.
How Can I Learn More About Botox®?
Reading about a cosmetic can only teach so much about what it can do. To find out more, contact a certified doctor experienced in skin care and aesthetics, who can answer further questions, provide before-and-after images of other patients who have used the cosmetic, and make an individualized assessment of what approach— Botox® or otherwise—would be best to provide each unique patient with the hoped-for results.