Botox Lined Out! February 2009
Botox LINED OUT!
Botox is a name most people will have heard of by now. It seems all the celebrities now rely on it, Botox clinics are booked full before big events, and clinics and shops offering Botox are now opening up in shopping centres and high street locations right across the UK.
Are we missing out or is it a step too far in a quest to look young and beautiful?
The first thing to find out is what it is. Botox is actually a brand name, a registered trademark owned by the giant pharmaceutical company Allergan. The name is derived from Botulinum Toxin, a product used for a variety of medical conditions. One of the problems it was used for was facial ticks, and it has been claimed that this is when doctors noticed the treatment also seemed to have a big effect on surrounding wrinkles.
Botox (technically type A) prevents nerves from releasing a chemical called acetylcholine. This is essential for nerves to communicate with muscle cells. Injecting this toxin prevents the muscles from receiving this nerve stimulation and it therefore effectively paralyses the muscles.
The lines that furrow the forehead when you raise your eyebrows, the crow's feet that appear when you squint and the creases between the eyebrows when you frown are all caused by tension in underlying muscles, which contract and squeeze the skin like an accordion. By reducing the movement of these muscles, the lines and wrinkles caused by muscle movement will be reduced, resulting in a more youthful appearance.
Results are not immediate but lines should begin to ease out within a few days. The changes can last up to around four months, when the effects of the Botox will wear off. Then you can go and have more treatment. With repeated treatments, the muscles come thinner which means the results can begin to last longer.
However, before everyone rushes to reduce their lines and wrinkles, there are lots of aspects to be considered. The first of course is cost; each treatment can cost hundreds of pounds and, as mentioned, it doesn’t give a permanent result.
Secondly, while the Botoxis very diluted so serious side effects such as allergic reactions are rare, some problems have been documented. These have included headaches, nausea, double vision and facial pain. Other reported problems have included an inability to frown or raise the eyebrows after treatment. One Hollywood director has complained that some of his actresses can’t perform a full range of facial expressions after Botox treatments.
Finally, Botox can’t help if your lines and wrinkles are caused by a loss of elasticity causing your skin to sag and crumple; this can happen naturally with ageing and Botox won’t help in this situation.
Generally though Botox treatments are incredibly popular and well regarded. There are also additional benefits coming from research with Botox; men suffering from prostate problems and people with bladder complaints have been helped by Botox injections.
Whether we agree with the principle or not, it seems Botox is definitely here to stay.
General advice about cosmetic surgery from the NHS