With all the hype and insanity over people getting Botox injections for everything from a sagging chin to a droopy eyelid, one has to wonder just what it is that Botox does and how exactly does it work?
To understand exactly what Botox is and what it does, we first have to look at just how this amazing miracle of modern science came to be.
Botulinum toxins, which are what Botox basically comes from, were first researched back in the good old 60s during the hippie era. Originally the purpose of this was to treat neurological disorders. In 1989 Botox was finally approved by the FDA to treat eye muscle disorders like blepharospasm, uncontrollable blinking, strabismus, crossed eyes and even wrinkles. In the year 2000 it was approved to treat cervical dystonia. This is a disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder contractions and also a very unusual side effect of eye disorder treatments. In their research, doctors discovered that Botox softened the frown lines between the eyebrows. It was after this discovery that Botox officially came into existence and was FDA approved on April 15, 2002.
So what exactly does Botox do? How does it work? Well, when Botox is injected into the muscles of the forehead, it blocks nerve impulses which results in the weakening of the muscles that cause frowning. Eventually over a period of several months, given enough of these injections, the frown lines start to get softer and in many cases eventually disappear completely. Botox can also be injected into the muscles of the face that cause crows feet, forehead lines and frown lines.
Botox injections themselves are actually a diluted form of botulism. Yes, the same botulism that can make us very ill. Botox cosmetic is a purified form the Botulinum toxin.
The next question is, how exactly does it work? Well, to put it simply, every time you laugh, smile, frown, or for that matter do just about anything with your facial muscles, wrinkles are caused by the underlying contractions of these muscles. After years of making these expressions the wear and tear on your face begins to be noticeable and the lines start to become permanent. When these creases become permanent, no kind of skin cream can get rid of them. That’s where Botox comes in. After being injected into the effected area, it temporarily paralyzes these muscles so that you can’t make these expressions. That’s why people who have had Botox injections literally look like mannequins. You’ll still have enough movement to look semi human (a matter of opinion) but not enough to cause these wrinkles. So in fact by taking these Botox injections they make you look younger.
So what’s the price for this “fountain of youth?” Botox is not cheap, my friend. The average cost of just one Botox injection in the United States is about $350. This also depends on what area of your face is getting the injections. The area near the eyes is more expensive, costing between $400 and $900 per injection. For large surface areas such as the forehead, injections can be between $600 and $1300 a pop.
And with all the fuss about simply looking younger, one has to wonder how safe these injections are. That is probably best left for another time.