Neurotoxins, or Toxins for short, are very potent nerve blocking chemicals. In order for a muscle to contract, a nerve must stimulate the muscle. If a nerve does not send a signal to a muscle, then the muscle will remain relaxed. When a toxin is injected into a muscle, the nerve signal is blocked and so the muscle stays relaxed and cannot contract. If the muscle cannot contract, then the overlying skin will flatten and smooth, causing your wrinkle to disappear. As long as your skin remains smooth, you won’t develop the skin creases that are so common on our faces; those pesky frown lines, smile lines, and worry lines. It’s now believed that if you begin your toxin treatments early in life you can avoid forming these lines altogether. So, think Prevention, Prevention, Prevention.
Unfortunately, the nerve blocking ability of the toxin is temporary, and after about 3-6 months, the signals from the nerve will once again get through to the muscle. You’ll know because you will see the muscle slowly coming back to life. Once the muscle activity just begins to return, then it’s time to get your next toxin injection.
What Brands of Toxin are available?
BOTOX® Cosmetic is widely known and was the 1st neurotoxin to be FDA-approved for cosmetic use in the United States. The name BOTOX® is synonymous with neurotoxin, but it is not your only choice. Other brands, such as Xeomin®, and Dysport® are either more purified versions of botulinum toxin Type A, or are a modification of the BOTOX® chemical formula.
What is the Difference Between BOTOX® and Xeomin® and Dysport®?
Xeomin® is a more purified version of the botulinum toxin Type A that is found in BOTOX®, therefore their actions are nearly identical.
Xeomin® and Dysport® onset of action is sooner than BOTOX®, 3-4 days vs 5-10 days.
Xeomin® and BOTOX® duration of action is 3-6 months. Dysport® is 3-4 months.
Follow-up injections are necessary to maintain the results you want.
Xeomin® and Dysport® are less expensive than BOTOX®.
When Should you Consider Toxin?
If deep lines between your eyes make you look tired, angry, sad, or upset, even when you’re not.
If you have wrinkles in and around your eyes and forehead that make you look older.
If you have a non-symmetrical look in your face or eyebrows that can be corrected by relaxing a muscle.
If you suffer from profuse underarm sweating or you have migraine headaches, then toxin may provide some relief.
Cons of Toxin Injections.
The duration of effect is 3-6 months with BOTOX and Xeomin, but Dysport is 3-4 months.
There is a risk of a droopy eye or eye brow if injected incorrectly.
There is the possibility of bruising due to the injection procedure.
The procedure requires several tiny injections, which can be a little uncomfortable.
The Fascinating History of Botox®
Botox® is a highly purified form of botulinum toxin Type A, which is produced by a food poisoning bacteria. It was developed in the 1970’s by a San Francisco doctor searching for ways to correct crossed eyes. He discovered that when a purified form of this potentially lethal poison was injected into the appropriate eye muscles, it caused a temporary muscle paralysis which corrected crossed eyes.
A small pharmaceutical company, Allergan, was trying to specialize in drugs for eyes and skin when it learned of the doctor’s discovery. In 1987 Allergan purchased the rights to the discovery and in 1989 the toxin was marketed for use in correcting eye muscle disorders
Over the next 10 years, other doctors found additional uses for botulinum toxin Type A, all of which involved treating some type of abnormal muscle function. Then in the mid-1990s, eye doctors and skin doctors noticed that facial wrinkles, forehead lines, and crow’s feet were all reduced after injection of the botulinum toxin Type A. The media caught wind of the discovery and a media blitz was broadcast about a “Fountain of Youth” drug.
In 2002 the FDA approved the use of Botox® for cosmetic purposes which triggered wide media coverage and catapulted the demand for Botox® injections for cosmetic effects onto the world stage and demand sky rocketed.
The huge demand led to a period of misuse of Botox® injections by non-medically trained cosmeticians, often in back-door treatment rooms under non-medical conditions. This resulted in reports of product ineffectiveness or unpleasant side effects. It was not until Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists began adding Botox® injection procedures to their non-surgical facial cosmetic programs that the full benefits, safety, and efficacy of Botox® injection therapy became mainstream.
Today, the use of Botox® to eradicate wrinkles and frown lines is the most popular procedure in the United States, Europe and many other countries. This huge popularity is likely due to its non-surgical nature (leaving no scars), little or no recovery time, its effectiveness, and its relatively low cost compared to surgical facelifts or other procedures.