Beauty Blog

Botox: the gateway drug and what it actually does.

Most clients’ first foray into an aesthetic spa is for Botox; hence, the "gateway drug". As you’re likely aware, we often use the word "Botox" like we use the word "Kleenex": a trade name used generically. There are now numerous botulinum toxins on the market and they all work by a similar mechanism (the minute differences are beyond the scope of this blog). Yes, what you have heard is true: they do come from the same toxin that causes botulism (is everyone as afraid of dented aluminum cans as my mother??). Botulism paralyzes lots of muscles in a scary way. Cosmetic botulinum toxin paralyzes a few muscles in a beautiful way. We use a very localized bit of this toxin to paralyze muscles wherever we want to stop them from moving. And what does this paralysis do for us? Myriad glorious things! If we inject it in the muscles that close the eyes, it can open the eyes and lift the eyebrows. If we inject it in the forehead or between the eyebrows (or “11” lines), it will stop those muscles from moving and creating wrinkles. Botox can get rid of the lines and wrinkles of animation, but it can’t always get rid of the static lines (the ones that are there all the time). It can soften the static lines and, only if they are very fine, may get rid of them all together. This is why it is so great to start using a neurotoxin in a preventative manner (it's never too early to start!). Botox can do other things, too, like help with migraine headaches, excessive sweating, TMJ and large jaw muscles, amongst many other things. What a wonder drug!

Harvard Medical School
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