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Botox- What is it?

Posted on June 23, 2017 by Dan Lee | Posted in Aesthetics

Many people have heard of “botox” and know that it is something for wrinkles. However most don’t know how it works or the benefits of its use.  Botox has its origin from the organism Clostridium botulinum. This bacteria creates a neurotoxin that at high levels can cause death.  It works by paralyzing muscles by blocking the mechanism for muscle contraction.  As a medication it is called a neuromodulator.  Neuromodulators block signals from the nerves to the muscles, preventing the muscle from contracting.  The most common neuromodulator is called Botox.  However there are others on the market like Dysport and Xeomin.

So how safe is Botox to use in humans?  Well, only the dose makes it poisonous. Botulinum toxin can be injected into humans in extremely small concentrations and be very safe. It causes a reduction in abnormal muscle contraction allowing the muscles to become less stiff.  It is used to treat wrinkles and facial lines by temporarily relaxing the facial muscles that cause these lines and wrinkles in the first place.  It can also be used for many medical conditions, the most common is for headaches.

Botox is administered by diluting the powder in saline and injecting it directly into muscle tissue. It takes 24-72 hours for it to take effect, which reflects the time needed for botox to start blocking the muscle action to contract. In very rare circumstances, it may take as long as 5 days for the full effect to be observed.

The only real negative side effects patients tend to experience are minor bruising or swelling. These side effects are rare and mostly from the very small needle being injected into the skin. This can easily be covered up using makeup.

The most common forms of cosmetic uses include:

Forehead Wrinkles

There are two types of forehead wrinkles: the little vertical lines between the eyebrows called the 11-sign wrinkles (and also called the glabella area) that are caused by frowning or furrowing the brow, and the horizontal lines across the forehead that appear when you raise your eyebrows.  Botox  can relax the muscles that cause these forehead lines.

Crow’s Feet

Crow’s feet are caused by years of laughing, squinting and smiling and are often the first wrinkles to appear on the face.  They are caused by the contraction of a circular muscle around the eye area called the orbicularis oculi.  Botox injected into this area weakens the orbicularis muscle, smoothing lines and wrinkles.

Brow Lift

As opposed to a surgical brow lift which can leave a patient looking perpetually surprised or as if they had just seen a ghost, Botox can give a subtle lift to droopy brows and even add an attractive arch.

Frown Lines

How do you turn that frown upside down?  With Botox of course!  Gravity and genetics can cause the corners of the mouth to turn downwards, leading to a permanent frown and a grumpy appearance. Botox can relax the muscles that pull down the corners of the mouth which gives a slight lifting effect and a much more approachable look.

Marionette Lines

In some people, frown lines can stretch beyond the mouth and form deep grooves on either side of the chin, running straight downwards from the corners of the mouth.  These are called marionette lines because they resemble the mouth lines on a puppet.  They are caused by a loss of facial volume and creases caused by the repeated contraction of the depressor anguli oris muscle.  Botox can relax this muscle, reducing the downward pull, while facial fillers can replace lost volume and fill in deep creases.

At New Life Health and Wellness we perform cosmetic Botox injections under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Lee, double board certified in ob/gyn and family medicine.

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