Botox – Beauty Via Poison

Dr. Anthony Ho

How far would you go for beauty? Would you poison yourself? Your instinctive response is obviously – of course not! But if you’ve gotten Botox, you already have. Don’t worry though, not all poison is bad or fatal. Bless the scientists that were able to turn some sour lemons into delicious lemonade by using a toxin for beauty enhancement.

Botox is a trade name for botulinum toxin A, which is related to botulism. Botulism is a form of food poisoning that occurs when eating something containing a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Sounds gross, but what does that mean?! Basically, the toxins block the signals that normally tell your muscles to contract. Let’s dive in to scientifically explain how this wonderful little toxin actually works.

It sounds crazy to inject toxins into your face, or anywhere for that matter, but there is a method to this madness. Botulinum toxin A acts on the junctions between nerves and muscles. It blocks nerve endings by preventing the release of acetylcholine, which is a chemical messenger. When tiny amounts of botox are injected into a specific facial muscle, only the targeted impulse of that particular muscle is blocked, producing the desired effect of immobilizing unwanted lines and wrinkles. Because of this effect, botox can be used as a preventative measure in anti-aging as well. Since the muscle is “weaker” and can no longer make the offending facial expressions you wanted to get rid of, the lines gradually smooth out from disuse and prevent new creases from forming. Basically since you don’t use it you lose it, which in this instance is music to our ears! Only the treated muscles are affected, so you can still maintain natural expressions. The skill of the provider and quality of the Botox factors in here as well, so try to avoid those tempting online discount offers where you definitely will not get what you paid for or end up looking like Surprised Barbie.

Botox isn’t all just for beauty though. Botox can be injected in the armpits to help reduce perspiration or in the head to alleviate chronic migraines. It also helps treat spasms of the muscle close to the eye (blepharospasm), the inability of the eyes to work together correctly (strabismus) and cervical dystonia where one has involuntary contractions of neck muscles. The list for conditions botox actually helps treat continues. For all of the eternal optimists, pessimists and skeptics alike, all of this ultimately goes to show that something good can come from something bad.