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The quest to look and feel young is never ending. Almost everybody feels they could look a couple of years younger with a few wrinkles less and firmer skin. While this was within access of only celebrities who could afford the various plastic surgical procedures a few decades ago, times have changed now. Scientists and doctors are doing researches to find more affordable and non-surgical ways of getting to look younger.
Botox was one of the wonderful results of this search. Clostridium botulinum causes food poisoning and produces a toxin known as botulinum. In extremely minor amounts, this toxin can paralyze muscles and this property of it is used to treat facial wrinkles and fine lines.
How Botox works: The muscles react when they receive a message from the nerve through chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Acetylcholine is one such chemical, which is present in the face and sends messages to the facial skin from the nerves. What Botox does is prevent the release of acetylcholine and so the muscle does not receive any message, and so does not contract. This reduces the amount of wrinkles and fine lines.
Medical Indications: Botox is one of the most powerful toxins identified to date. About 2 kg of the toxin is sufficient to wipe out the entire human race from Earth. That being its potency, the dosage and administration should be done only under experienced medical supervision.
For cosmetic purposes, they are most frequently used to reduce wrinkles on face and fine lines under the eyes and on the forehead. The wrinkles appear softened after the use of Botox, producing a younger, firmer skin. Aside from its cosmetic use, there are various other conditions for which Botox is medically approved for a number of medical ailments like
- Chronic migraine
- Blepharospasm (spasm of the eyelids)
- Chronic neck spasms
- Excessive sweating
- Overactive bladder (resulting in frequent urination)
- Spasticity resulting from stroke
- Crow's feet (outer corner of the eyes)
- Urinary incontinence
- Lazy eye (strabismus)
- Bruxism (tooth grinding)
- Esophageal motility disorders
The list is only set to get longer as more indications for Botox are identified. However, as mentioned, being an extremely toxic substance, it should be used only under complete medical supervision.
Side effects: Needless to say, there are side effects to this too, but when administered properly, it is an extremely safe procedure.
- Allergic reaction: Very few people might have an allergic reaction to the toxin
- Mild pain or redness at the injection site
- Temporary numbness
However, these are very transient and will subside in a couple of days, by which time the effect of Botox will be visible. Have a thorough discussion with a doctor before going for it.