Hands up who immediately thinks about frozen faces, scary, shiny foreheads and Plastic barbie doll types when they think about Botox? most of you? well, it is a fair assumption if your only impressions of Botox come from glossy magazines and current affair programs, but the truth is somewhat different.
Botox or Botulinum Toxin Type a, is used for more than just wrinkle reduction and anti-aging. So, here is the story of the evolution of Botox (in brief).
Once upon a time, a doctor discovered that by isolating a protein from the bacteria that causes botulism he could treat patients with Strabismus (or cross eyes). The drug was used for a number of years until an ophthalmologist (eye doctor), who conveniently was married to a dermatologist (skin doctor), discovered that all of the patients she treated were enjoying an added benefit to their treatment of reducing the wrinkles around their eyes and thus Botox Cosmetic was born
However, what many don’t know was that other medical professionals also noted that Botox could be useful to their patients and began to test it out. As a result, Botox is now used to treat children as young as 2 years old (and in some cases younger) who have cerebral palsy to help them to learn to walk. Plastic surgeons don’t just use Botox for faces, but for to assist in healing after some reconstructive surgery. People who sweat excessively can have Botox to help prevent this potentially socially excluding condition- it sounds like a small thing, but this really can change someone’s life. Some chronic migraine sufferers can also be treated using Botox and teeth grinders can be injected with Botox to prevent them wearing down their teeth whilst they sleep. Botox is also being used for gastrointestinal disorders, bladder disorders and the list goes on and on.
Then we come to cosmetic uses. the bread and butter of the Botox world. Botox doesn’t have to freeze your face. It can soften lines and leave you with some movement. It can reshape your face to give a slimmer (and some would consider a more feminine) jawline. It can give you an eyebrow lift (no, not the Kylie Minogue style lift- we suspect a scalpel was involved in that one), but certainly a subtle lift to ‘open the eyes’. and of course it can reduce wrinkles and lines. Botox does not plump up the lips (that’s Dermal Fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm), nor does it need to make you look like a crazy person (you know the ones I mean. happy, sad, angry, scared all have the same facial expression) or like Star Trek’s mr Spock (the permanently quizzical eyebrows). a good doctor will make their patients appear natural looking and refreshed and take into account their actual age and keep them looking like someone of their decade not like one of their children.
It is also worth noting that Botox has virtually no contraindications (reasons why a doctor shouldn’t prescribe a medication to an individual) and very minimal side effects. how many drugs can boast that?
So the next time you look in the mirror, despair at the lines and briefly consider Botox before ruling it out because it’s scary. It could be worth thinking again.