Botox is probably the most well known cosmetic procedures, but it is less known that the name Botox actually refers to the brand name of a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin. Despite the scary sounding name, the diluted form of botulinum toxin in Botox isn’t dangerous and simply causes the affected muscles to relax, reducing or removing wrinkles for three to four months.
Even though Botox is a household name, most people have only a limited knowledge of the treatment. Here are five facts about Botox that might just change the way you think about the treatment.
1. Botox Is the Most Popular Cosmetic Procedure
Botulinum toxin injections are not only the most popular cosmetic procedure now, they have been since 2000, and have increased in popularity by almost 800% since then. In fact, 6,757,198 Botox treatments were performed in 2015, more than the next five most popular treatments (chemical peels, laser hair removal, soft tissue fillers, microdermabrasion, and intense pulsed light treatment) combined.
2. Botox Has Medical Applications
Despite its reputation as a cosmetic procedure, Botox was originally used as a medical treatment for strabismus, an eye condition often resulting from muscle dysfunction. It was quickly discovered that Botox can also be used to treat other medical conditions, such as face and neck spasms. Today, Botox is used to treat chronic pain, migraines, excess sweating, and even depression, all by simply preventing muscle contractions and spasms.
3. Cosmetic Applications of Botox Were Discovered on Accident
While Botox is primarily used for cosmetic treatment today, its applications for aesthetic use were only realized by chance. In the 1990s, Dr. Jean Carruthers was using Botox injections to treat patients with strabismus and diplopia (double vision), when her patients began to report that in addition to the improvements in their vision, they had noticed that their wrinkles had become less visible since they started Botox treatments. Quickly, Botox gained traction as a cosmetic treatment and use for aesthetic purposes soon outnumbered use for medical purposes many times over.
4. Botox is Older Than You Think
Because Botox gained FDA approval as a cosmetic treatment in 2002, it is often assumed that the treatment and botulinum toxin are relatively new discoveries. However, botulinum toxin was actually discovered in the 1820s, when Dr. Justinus Kerner was attempting to determine why a batch of sausages had poisoned dozens of Germans, resulting in their death. He discovered a toxin, botulinum toxin, in the meat, and named the ailment that killed the Germans “botulism.”
Botox was also considered by the United States for use as a weapon during World War II. One plan for use involved the use of Chinese prostitutes to place pills of the toxin in the food and drink of high-ranking Japanese officers. While the pills were created, the plan was never carried out.
5. Botox is One of the Safest and Well Researched Products Available
Despite its sordid history, Botox is one of the safest products on the market, due to its long history and the thorough research it has undergone. Botox is FDA approved for cosmetic use in between the eyebrows, on the lines around the eyes, and in the armpits to reduce sweating, but has numerous off-label cosmetic uses that are just as safe, legal, effective, and thoroughly researched.
Botox can also be used to decrease scalp-sweating (which can be used to prevent excess sweating or simply to prolong hair styling), correct a droopy nose tip, fix brow asymmetry, minimize lines around the nose, decrease oiliness of the skin, minimize the appearance of pores, and much, much more.
The Botox Expert
Even though Botox is safe and well understood, choosing the right person to administer your treatment is essential in achieving the best possible results, especially if you need Botox for medical purposes. Botox must be applied carefully and precisely in order to target just the right muscles while still achieving a natural look, so patients should seek out a licensed and board certified plastic surgeon with ample experience administering Botox treatments.
Dr. William J. Binder is one of the world’s leading experts on Botox and, in fact, was the plastic surgeon who discovered the product’s applications for treating migraines. He is based out of Los Angeles but, due to his expertise and experience, patients from around the country and even the world come to receive treatment from him.
Dr. Binder is extensively published and is board certified by both the American Board of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. If you want your Botox treatments from one of the world’s leading plastic surgeons and experts in Botox, contact Dr. Binder’s office today to schedule your consultation.