Botulinum toxin is secreted by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum, which was first identified following an outbreak of food poisoning in the 1700s. The type of botulinum toxin we currently use for cosmetic and other purposes is type A. There are now 2 commercially available botulinum toxin type A, BOTOX from the US and DYSPORT from the UK.
How Does Botox / Dysport Work?
Botox / Dysport binds to the nerve endings and blocks the transmission of a very important chemical called Acetylcholine, preventing it from reaching the receptors in the muscles or sweat glands. Acetylcholine is the messenger for muscle contraction and sweat secretion.
This blockage results in 2 important effects:
- Muscle relaxation and shrinkage
- Reduction of sweating
The first use of Botox / Dysport was to relieve muscle spasms. Now these effects are used to improve the cosmetic look of some exaggerated expression lines as well as to help excessive sweating.
There is another effect, which is very useful, although this is not quite understood how it is achieved. When it is injected into a few points in the dermis. There is a pulling effect away from each other and results in a tightening of that area.
Botox / Dysport also reduces the sebaceous gland activities in the hair follicles, and research has shown that injecting superficially in the T - zone area results in reduced pore sizes.
What Are The Current Cosmetic Uses?
Reduction of Expression Lines
- Glabellar Frown Lines (Vertical lines between the eyebrows)
- Crow’s feet (The smiling lines at the eye corners)
- Horizontal forehead frown lines (The lines when raising the eyebrows)
- Raise and alter the shapes of eyebrows
Reduction of the Muscles Bulk
- Chewing muscles (Square / broad facial contour to become more oval / slimmer)
- Calves muscles (Slimmer lower legs contour)
- Uplift under-eye areas (Reduce eye bags and dark eye circles)
- Uplift facial contour (Firmer and tighter)
Reduction of Sebaceous Gland Activity
- Reduce pore sizes
Reduction of Excessive Sweating
Botox / Dysport is a simple non-surgical process that can be completed in 10 minutes. Injections are made using the tiniest needles, and no anesthesia is required, although some doctors may choose to numb the area with a cold pack or anesthetic cream prior to injecting. Discomfort is usually minimal and brief. There is no recovery time and no one will notice anything done on you. You can even do it in your lunch break.
What Are The Possible Side Effects?
Very occasionally there may be a bruise at the point of injection, which will last for only a few days. Applying cold pack and vitamin K cream will shorten it.
If too much is injected near the eyes, which is unusual, it may cause too much weakness of the upper eyelids and you will find it hard to keep the eyes open. This is temporary and will disappear when the effect of the toxin subsides.
If this is the first time of injection, you may need a couple of weeks to get used to the new ranges of muscle movements.
No one knows about the effect on pregnancy, and it is best not to have this treatment during pregnancy.
People who have diseases that weaken the nerves and muscles should avoid Botox / Dysport because the weakness may get worse.