Botox is a brand name for a purified form of botulinum toxin A, one of the neurotoxins produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. While that may not sound like something you would want to inject into your skin, it has been approved by the FDA for use in smoothing out wrinkles, and is actually very effective. How does it do that?
The botulism toxin is responsible for blocking the kinds of signals that tell your muscles to contract. So, for example, if you have a habit of wrinkling your forehead muscles when are worried, you’ll likely develop wrinkles in that area. BOTOX is also effective for crow’s-feet, the tiny lines that form around our eyes, which are sometimes called by the more complimentary name, “laugh lines.” BOTOX paralyzes, or blocks the signal to, your forehead muscles so that they cannot contract. This means your skin lays flatter and the wrinkles are no longer visible. The bottom line is that if the muscle cannot move, it can’t form a wrinkle.
In general, the reasons for aging skin include many different factors, like cellular changes, depletion of collagen levels, hormonal imbalances, and free radical damage. Improvement in your facial wrinkles are visible within three days of being treated and can last as long as 4 months. Of course, results vary from person to person. Your own skin type, thickness of your skin and how deep your wrinkles will determine the effectiveness and and long-lasting benefits of BOTOX injections.
Another reason for facial wrinkles is overexposure to the UV rays of the sun. While it is good for your health to get out and enjoy a sunny day, some people either overdo it, or live in climates like Houston, Los Angeles or Miami, where they inadvertently receive daily overdoses of UV rays. BOTOX, however, is not effective in treating sun-damaged skin, but often micropeels are effective. Those living in sunny climates should be careful about properly protecting their skin, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors.
“BOTOX treatments are one of the most popular ways to reduce and prevent wrinkles and has one of the highest patient approval ratings of any medical procedure.”
BOTOX, while highly effective, is not a permanent solution to wrinkles. When considering which skin treatment is right for you, keep in mind that it is always best if you can learn good habits that will preserve your fragile skin and save it from further damage. Good nutrition, quitting smoking, being careful with your alcohol consumption, avoiding sunburns, getting regular exercise and drinking plenty of water all contribute greatly to that beautiful, flawless complexion so many of us long for.
Dr. Douglis is a Board Certified specialist in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (Ear, Nose, and Throat). He attended the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine and completed his specialty training at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He has practiced medicine in Montgomery County Texas and the Houston area since 1982.
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