What is Botulinum Toxin? BTX Risks and Benefits
- Medical Community Member - June 5th 2018
- General Public
Botulinum toxin injections are widely used for rejuvenating aging skin and for reducing wrinkles. Although the effects of these injections are temporary, they require no recovery time and can be done quickly, unlike invasive surgical procedures.
During treatment, a miniscule amount of Botox is injected into the muscle to be treated. This blocks the nerve signals that cause the muscle to contract, temporarily paralyzing it. When used cosmetically, this relaxes the facial muscles, smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles.
Types of Botulinum Toxin Treatments
Botulinum toxin type A injections are by far the most common: in fact, they are the most popular cosmetic treatment worldwide. These injections contain neurotoxins that help to smooth out dynamic wrinkles caused by various facial expressions, such as smiling, frowning, and squinting. This particular treatment helps to relax the facial muscles by blocking nerve impulses. With this, facial expressions become softer, and wrinkles are significantly reduced. Currently, there are many brands available that contain botulinum toxin type A including: Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin.
Botulinum toxin type B injections also block nerve signals in the muscles, causing a temporary reduction in muscle activity. Myobloc uses botulinum toxin type B to treat muscular conditions, such as cervical dystonia.
Benefits of Botox
Botox allows patients to achieve a youthful appearance without ever having to go under the knife.
Botox can treat drooping eyebrows
Also known as eyebrow ptosis, drooping brows makes the face appear constantly tired. Botox relaxes and raises the eyebrow muscles, stopping the eyebrows from drooping for a couple of months.
Botox can treat wrinkles on the neck
As people age, the neck muscles begin to pull on the facial muscles, causing sagging. The Botox necklace technique, in which a small amount of Botox is injected into the neck muscles, treats horizontal wrinkles on the neck. As the neck muscles relax, the face lifts, helping to create a more youthful appearance overall.
Botox can be used to manage acne
Botox curbs oil production in the skin, which helps to reduce acne. A tiny amount of Botox, when used properly, reduces oil production while still allowing patients to move their face normally.
Botox is especially beneficial at a young age
Getting Botox done at a young age can help to prevent deep wrinkles from developing. Prevention is important, because once these wrinkles develop, they are very difficult to get rid of. These wrinkles usually form around the eyes and mouth, so they are the best places to receive preventative Botox treatment.
While cosmetic surgeries are expensive and difficult to recover from, Botox injections are much less expensive and do not require intensive recovery time. This makes them an attractive option for patients who wish to liven up their face—without breaking the bank.
Risks of Botox
Botox injections do help to reduce the signs of aging, but they also come with potential side effects, including bladder issues, difficulty breathing, blurred vision, demobilization of facial muscles, hoarse voice, facial asymmetry, and difficulty swallowing.
Botox can also cause severe headaches, droopy eyelids, and fat bulges near the injection site. Muscle weakness and dizziness may also occur.
Please note that pregnant women cannot receive Botox injections, as the toxin could affect the baby, as well.
Overall, Botox injections are considered to be effective for preventing and treating wrinkles. However, patients must consult their doctor before receiving Botox treatments. Patients should consider all of their options and know what to expect before deciding to get these injections.