What is Botox, how are botulinum toxin injections used in cosmetology and medicine?

Some women have been using Botox injections for beauty maintenance for several years, while others are wary of such procedures, having heard unflattering reviews. Perhaps the whole point is the lack of information, because not everyone knows in detail what Botox is, how it works, and what consequences botulinum therapy can have.

Botox – what is it?

Considering what Botox is, what kind of drug it is, it is worth briefly familiarizing yourself with the history of the discovery of this remedy. For the first time, they learned about it back in the 19th century, when they discovered the causative agent of botulism, the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This microorganism produces several types of neurotoxins, one of which, which is serotype A, is a protein compound that exhibits high biological activity. The study of this substance showed that it can be not only a poison, but also a medicine.

In 1946, a crystalline form of neurotoxin A was obtained under laboratory conditions, and a few years later, the mechanism of its action on the tissues of the human body was established. When purified and diluted botulinum toxin A was used to treat eye diseases, an interesting “side effect” was discovered: when it was administered, wrinkles disappeared in patients. Since then, neurotoxin has been used in aesthetic medicine, and the first patented drug based on it on the pharmaceutical market was the development of the American company Allergan – Botox.

botox what is it

How does Botox work after injection?

It is still not fully understood how Botox works, but the main links in the chain of effects produced are known. After the injection of the drug into the muscles, the following occurs:

  • the binding of botulinum toxin molecules to the cells of the endings of nerve fibers, in which the molecules are immersed inside the nerve cells;
  • blockade of the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that carries out neuromuscular transmission of motor impulses;
  • the muscle tissues stop receiving the command to contract, so they remain motionless in a relaxed state.

Such effects are observed when the drug is administered to any muscle group. It is worth noting that the range of action of the agent is determined by the amount, and in small doses Botox does not affect the overall functioning of the body. In addition, there is no atrophy of immobilized muscle fibers, since their blood supply is not disturbed as a result of the procedure, the drug only breaks the connection between the nerve and the muscle.

How long does Botox last?

After an injection of Botox, the onset of its action is observed after 2-3 days, the maximum is noted after about two weeks, and after 1.5 months the effect gradually fades. If Botox is injected into the forehead, the result can be noticeable in a day. For some time, the drug is concentrated at the site of its administration, and then it enters the bloodstream and is excreted in the course of natural metabolic processes. Blockade of the transmission of nerve impulses to muscle fibers through botulinum toxin preparations is a reversible process.

After 4-6 months, muscle contractility is fully restored, which is achieved through the following processes:

  • the appearance of new lateral processes at the blocked nerve ending;
  • creation of connections between new nerve processes and muscle tissues;
  • synthesis of substances responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses.

The duration of action of neurotoxin A preparations is influenced by several factors, including:

  • individual susceptibility of the organism to the agent;
  • the quality of the medicine;
  • the correctness of the procedure;
  • the thoroughness of the patient’s implementation of recommendations after injections.

how does botox work

Botox – indications for use

Considering what Botox is, in what areas it is used, indications for the appointment of the introduction of this drug can be divided into medical and cosmetic. We list what indications Botox has in the medical field:

In the cosmetology field, the effect of Botox is applicable to the smoothing of mimic wrinkles:

  • interbrow vertical wrinkles;
  • horizontal wrinkles on the forehead;
  • nasolabial folds;
  • “crow’s feet”;
  • wrinkles on the back of the nose, chin and so on.

In addition, for the purpose of rejuvenation, the drug is used to correct such flaws:

  • “gum” smile;
  • overhanging of the upper eyelids;
  • omission of the corners of the lips;
  • wrinkles on the neck and décolleté.

The use of botulinum toxin

For the first time, the use of botulinum toxin in medicine began (Botox was used for strabismus), and to this day, research is being carried out for the possibility of treating various diseases with this substance, often accompanied by pathological muscle contraction. Due to the introduction of the drug into the affected muscles, pain is reduced, a decrease in joint mobility is prevented, thereby improving the quality of life of patients.

botox indications

The use of botulinum toxin in cosmetology

Many women who notice more and more wrinkles on their face are beginning to wonder what Botox is and whether it is worth using this drug for rejuvenation. Botulinum toxin in cosmetology is used due to the possibility of relaxing the facial muscles, due to which the skin relief quickly begins to smooth out. It should be understood that only those skin folds that are formed due to active facial expressions are amenable to such correction. Botox is not able to get rid of wrinkles associated with age-related reduction in collagen production in the dermis.

The use of botulinum toxin in neurology

A large number of neurological diseases are associated with increased muscle tension, involuntary muscle contractions or spasms. Therefore, botulinum toxin in neurology opens up great opportunities in the treatment of patients suffering from such ailments, when other treatment methods are ineffective or contraindicated.

Effective Botox for hyperhidrosis – excessive sweating in the armpits, palms, feet. As it turned out, this substance is able to interrupt the connection not only of the nerve with the muscle, but also between the nerve and the sweat gland. As a result, the sweat gland is actually blocked. It should be understood that only increased sweating of neurological origin can be treated with botulinum therapy, which often begins in childhood or puberty and is inherited.

Botox helps against bruxism, a pathology in which episodes of nightly grinding of teeth regularly appear due to hypertonicity of the masticatory muscles. Patients may suffer from pain in the lower jaw, damage to the tooth enamel, and later degenerative changes in the temporomandibular joint may develop. Botulinum toxin is effective when bruxism has a psychological or neurological cause, while it is injected into the masticatory and sometimes into the temporalis muscles.

botulinum toxin in neurology

How are Botox injections given?

You should know that such a substance as Botox has the right to use for patients only a highly qualified specialist – a cosmetologist, dermatologist, neurologist, plastic surgeon. A few days before the procedure, you need to stop drinking alcohol, intense physical exertion. In addition, you may need to stop taking certain medications, which should be discussed with your doctor. Depending on the area in which Botox will be applied, the dosage of the drug is selected individually. The whole procedure takes 20-30 minutes.

How to properly inject Botox?

Consider the main stages of how Botox injections are made:

  1. Before performing injections, the zones of drug administration are determined, antiseptic treatment of the skin is performed, and sometimes a local anesthetic is applied.
  2. Electromyography is carried out – a study that allows you to assess the bioelectrical activity of the muscles, through which the points where injections will be made are precisely selected and outlined.
  3. Injections are made with syringes with very thin needles, which are inserted to a depth of 7-10 mm at an angle of 45 or 90 degrees.
  4. The skin is again treated with an antiseptic.
  5. After the procedure, the patient is required to stay under the supervision of doctors for an hour. This is necessary so that when undesirable effects occur, assistance is immediately provided.

Then you can immediately start your daily activities, but be sure to follow some recommendations and restrictions:

  • injection sites should be immobilized as much as possible for 4-5 hours;
  • after injections, you should stay in an upright position for at least 5 hours;
  • do not rub the treatment area with the drug;
  • within a few days, avoid visiting the sauna, bath, solarium, beach, hot baths.

Botox contraindications

How often can you get Botox injections?

After using preparations containing Botox, before and after photos reflect significant changes: the skin is smoothed, becomes more toned, and looks much younger. When the effect of the procedure begins to fade, the woman’s natural desire is to repeat it. It is worth knowing that new Botox injections can be done when the muscle fibers restore activity by at least 50%. This period is individual for each, which can be determined by the doctor. Often sessions are recommended 1-2 times a year.

Botox side effects

Considering what Botox is, its high activity, you should be prepared for the fact that botulinum toxin injections can cause temporary side effects, including:

  • allergic manifestations;
  • subcutaneous hemorrhages;
  • puffiness;
  • soreness;
  • feeling of tightness of the skin;
  • headache;
  • violation of the sensitivity of the skin and others.

Botox injections – contraindications

Botox has the following contraindications:

  • hypersensitivity to the components of the remedy;
  • acute infectious diseases;
  • neuromuscular diseases;
  • endocrine pathologies;
  • autoimmune diseases;
  • blood diseases, violation of its coagulability;
  • inflammatory processes at the injection site;
  • tendency to form keloid scars;
  • severe myopia;
  • glaucoma;
  • pregnancy, lactation;
  • pronounced ptosis of facial tissues, hernia of the lower eyelids;
  • the need to take certain medications (antibiotics, anticoagulants, antipyretics, and others).

Consequences of Botox injections

Due to unskilled actions of the medical staff, ignoring the recommendations of the doctor by the patient, the individual reaction of the body, the following complications and consequences of Botox can be observed:

  • total change and violation of facial expressions;
  • atony of the muscular facial apparatus;
  • spasm and drooping of the eyelids;
  • double vision;
  • facial asymmetry;
  • violation of speech functions.