A couple decades ago, no one would have thought that people would pay thousands of dollars to get injections of toxins in their face.
Today’s generation, however, is full of people that are leaping at the opportunity to get injections of the toxic Botox to paralyze the muscles underneath their skin in order to smooth their fine lines and wrinkles.
But even though Botox is very risky, most people are aware of the risks well before they go into the procedure.
So with so many financial and physical risks associated with Botox, what keeps us going back? Is this age-defying skin treatment really all it’s cracked up to be?
What Is Botox, Really?
Even if you’ve heard about Botox, you might not know exactly what it is. Well, Botox is a protein that is produced by the bacterium (clostridium botulinum) and is considered the most powerful neurotoxin ever discovered.
Originally, it was found in 1897 by Justinus Kerner and called the “sausage poison” because it was derived from improperly handled meat. However, it wasn’t until 1949 that Arnold Burgen’s group discovered that the botulinum toxin they had discovered blocks neuromuscular transmission by decreasing the release of acetylcholine and in turn “freezing” the muscles.
Botox was only approved 30 years ago, in 1989, as muscle therapy for those who suffered from eye spasms, muscle spasms, overactive motor responses, and bladder disorders like incontinence.
But as the news of Botox spread, cosmetic specialists began looking for alternative uses for the toxin and found it to be effective in reducing the appearance or preventing the onset of fine lines and wrinkles.
Since Botox is such a harsh treatment and can have extremely negative side effects, there have been more and more people that have been turning to alternatives.
Risks Associated With Botox
Financial: As most people know, Botox procedures are extremely expensive and are usually reserved for the rich and famous. In fact, each injection costs around $375 and often times several injections are needed to treat an area.
Physical: Unsurprisingly, injecting toxins into your face can have some physiological side effects. Many people who have used Botox report nausea, flu-like symptoms, respiratory infection and headache.
Cosmetic: Even though there is no other reason to receive Botox injections other than to look better, many have found that Botox goes wrong and they look even worse than before. It’s not uncommon to report facial numbness and more rigidity in their skin than before.
Even though Botox is one of the only wrinkle removal treatments that people are talking about these days, there have been many alternatives that have been developed to sort of mimic the muscle paralyzing effects of Botox.
Wrinkle Creams: Many wrinkles are caused by muscles that are in constant contraction and cause the skin to fold into fine lines and wrinkles. Ingredients like Argireline NP and several peptides have been developed to penetrate the skin and relax these muscles without actually paralyzing them like Botox.
Relaxed Expressions: This alternative uses targeted radio-frequency energy to weaken the motor nerves that connect to the muscles in the forehead responsible for the crinkling of the skin. However, this method is still very new and largely uninvestigated by the FDA.
Facial Exercises: Instead of paralyzing the muscles, facial expressions try to reverse the effects of the muscle contractions that cause wrinkles, different muscles are flexed to even out the crinkling. These include manually pulling skin in a different direction and smoothing out wrinkles by rubbing skin in a different direction.
So rather than spending a large sum on a procedure that has many side effects associated with it, make sure you do your research before you decide whether Botox is the right way for you to get rid of your wrinkles.