Cosmetic treatments such as Botox have become increasingly popular recently, but somehow they have acquired a bad rap. A lot of the reputation for Botox is due to misinformation and bad results from other treatments.
Is Botox a Poison?
A common misconception is that Botox is a poison. The word Botox comes from Botulinum toxin. This is a protein from the bacteria Clostridum botulinum which can cause botulism. Botulism is a rare illness characterized by weakness in muscles. In the United States botulism is most commonly seen in infants who eat honey, a reservoir for the bacteria. The bacteria is ingested and spread through the bloodstream, releasing a protein called Botulinum toxin. This protein binds to nerves that trigger muscle contraction and prevents the transmission of the signal from the nerve to the muscle. In this way the muscle becomes relaxed. This is why weakness is seen. If it reaches muscles used for breathing, a ventilator may be required. The only way this can happen is if the bacteria gets in the blood, replicates, and spreads to the body. Botox that is used for cosmetic purposes is different. First, Botox is a purified protein; there is no bacteria, so it cannot replicate (live bateria is required for replication). Second Botox is not ingested and does not get into the bloodstream. It is injected into the skin and remains there until the body metabolizes it over three to four months. Finally, even if Botox is injected directly into the blood, the amount of Botox required to cause symptoms of botulism is hundred, if not thousands of times higher than what is used in the face. Also, the body metabolizes it over time and since the protein cannot replicate by itself (live bacteria is required for replication) these effects would be temporary.
Results from Botox
Cosmetic treatments, both surgical and non-surgical, have become very popular of late. Many celebrities are having cosmetic treatments and it is being publicized in the media. Botox is the most famous non-surgical cosmetic treatment so many people attribute bad cosmetic results to Botox when in fact it can be caused by fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane, and Voluma, laser treatments, or other cosmetic treatments. Botox is a purified protein used to address wrinkles associated with facial expression. These include the vertical lines seen between the brows when one frowns, the horizontal lines seen on the forehead when one raises the brows, and the crow's feet seen around the eyes when one smiles. Botox will not cause excessively large cheeks. The goal of a Botox, or any cosmetic treatment, is to enhance the appearance of the face. But the results should look natural. In fact good Botox results are usually not noticed. This is because good Botox results should not bring a major change in the appearance. Botox should make a person look rested or refreshed. This is the same with other surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments. When we see exagerated appearances such as huge cheeks, this is usually because this is what the person wants. Since such desires are not common, when this is seen it is often widely publicized. This is part of the reason why Botox has a bad reputation.
Despite these concerns Botox continues to be one of the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatments performed in the United States. If we understand the goals of a Botox treatment we can see why it does not deserve a bad reputation. Dr. Alex has performed thousands of Botox anad other cosmetic treatments with many satisfied patients. He designed the painless Botox technique himself which people rave about. Please contact us for a free consultation with Dr. Alex in our Encino, CA office.