Botox, a trade name for botulinum toxin, is used cosmetically to treat a variety of conditions, including lazy eye and wrinkles. There are also non-cosmetic medical treatments, such as neuropathy, that have received positive results with Botox. Botox definitely has its proven benefits, but as a toxin there are some associated risks as well. Understanding what Botox is and what it can do for you can help you determine if it is a viable treatment to discuss further with your doctor.
Benefits of Botox
Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxic protein that, in small doses, can provide cosmetic and medical relief. Manufactured under various trade names such as Botox, Myobloc, Neurobloc, and Vistabel this toxin works by relaxing muscle contractions and blocking nerve impulses. It is commonly used for mini facelifts as it reduces wrinkles and fine lines. However, it is also used cosmetically to treat brow furrow, lazy eye, and uncontrollable blinking. Medically, Botox is used for cervical dystonia, chronic pain, enlarged prostates, migraines, overactive bladders, and neuropathy.
Risks and Side Effects of Botox
Although Botox has so many positive benefits, both cosmetically and medically, there are also risks associated with it. Botulinum toxin in very large doses can cause botulism, which is a rare and paralyzing illness that most commonly stems from food poisoning. There are cases where a Botox procedure has gone bad because the toxic component was too high or the drug was administered incorrectly. It is very important that only a trained medical doctor, such as a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, handle your Botox injections. It is equally important to use a certified brand such as Botox and not an unknown form of the toxin that may not meet the same quality standards.
The main cause of concern is the repeated exposure to Botox. The effects of Botox last several weeks but then require repeated treatment in order for the results to continue. As your muscles begin to get trained from the Botox injections, the recurrence of the condition lessens. However, some people become aesthetically addicted to Botox and end up repeating the treatments so often that their faces actually become frozen in appearance. Since the repeated use of Botox does limit your facial animation, it is important to understand the consequences of repeated use of this treatment. This is especially true of actors or anyone who relies on facial expressions for their livelihood.
There are other possible side effects from Botox such as bruising at the injection site, headache, indigestion, and nausea. However, if you are looking to treat a specific condition and you don’t abuse the Botox treatment by overusing it, you may find relief from various cosmetic and medical conditions. Your doctor can help you determine if Botox is a viable option for you.