Botox, also called botulinum toxin Type A, is a neurotoxin and protein that is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. The Botulinum toxin can cause a condition known as botulism, which is a sometimes fatal paralytic illness that starts with the paralysis of the facial muscle. Botox is now commonly used in the cosmetic industry to erase wrinkles and delay signs of aging. It is also used as a medication to treat a variety of conditions such as incontinence, severe migraine, joint stiffness, strabismus, blepharospasm and severe sweating.
How do Botox injections work?
Botox treatments use a small amount of diluted botulinum toxin type A to produce controlled weakening of muscles particularly facial muscles. Botox is injected into the facial muscles with a small, fine needle. The number of injections required depends on the desired result. Botox works by blocking nerve impulses in the injected muscle, which relaxes muscle contractions. Botox does this by blocking the release of the chemical acetylcholine. After a Botox injection the muscles can no longer contract causing wrinkles to relax and soften. The medication takes 48 to 72 hours to take effect and the results last from four to six months. Most people need to be retreated to ensure wrinkle free skin. Wrinkles that reappear are likely to be less severe as the muscles learn to relax. It is recommended that patients refrain from alcohol consumption and the use of aspirin or blood-thinning drugs in the week prior to and after Botox injections. This will ensure the full effects of the Botox occur and no bruising is caused.
Did you know?
Honey is a known dietary reservoir of the spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. It is for this reason that honey is not recommended for babies. The symptoms ofbotulism in infants are constipation, lethargy, weakness, difficulty feeding and an altered cry. This may then progress to paralysis. Infant botulism can be treated with an intravenous drug.