The aesthetics industry is growing at a phenomenal rate – by approximately 15% every year, and it shows no signs of slowing. In the 80’s, the face lift was the cosmetic procedure of choice for the affluent and famous, but over the following years, less invasive and amazingly effective treatments have started to become more and more popular.
How did ‘botox’ become a clinical treatment?
Once used as a biological terrorist weapon, botulinum toxin, or ‘Botox®’, causes muscles to become paralysed. In war, this renders victims unable to move, or ultimately breathe and is highly potent in the right format and the wrong hands! (did you know that just 1g of crystalline toxin can kill one million people!!).
This muscle paralysis – or ultimately muscle relaxing – became of interest to the medical community, who initially used it in ophthalmology for strabismus (crossed eyes), and noticed that the wrinkles around the eyes and forehead became smoother and more relaxed!
And, voila, it became used as a hugely popular (and thankfully very safe!) cosmetic treatment for lines and wrinkles, and has, in part, been the reason for the huge fall in cosmetic surgery, as more and more safer, less invasive techniques are developed.
The safe, controlled dose of botulinum toxin (or ‘Botox’ as it is more often known – which is actually the trade name from the company that produces it, Allergan) is injected into very specific muscles in the forehead and around the eyes, in very very tiny doses, relaxing the muscles to smooth out wrinkles. If done well, there is no need to create a rabbit-in-headlights unnatural look!
Can anything go wrong when injecting botox?
Generally speaking botox is a very safe treatment to have when done properly. Occasionally an eyelid droop can occur if a nearby muscle is affected by an injection, and dry eyes can be a side effect. In the worst case scenario, it wears off in around 3 months and any unwanted symptoms should resolve. For dry eyes, eye drops can be administered.
What are the benefits of dermal and lip fillers?
Rather than relaxing muscles, fillers are made from a substance called Hyaluronic Acid which is naturally made by the body. It is used to replace volume that is lost naturally with ageing. It can also be used to add symmetry to uneven features, such as uneven lips, and even reshaping of the nose during non-surgical rhinoplasty. Done well, these procedures create a safe, natural look, reducing deep lines around the mouth and nose, and lowering the visible age of the patient, aswell as helping with confidence.
Who can offer dermal and lip fillers and anti-wrinkle injections?
The scary thing is – almost anyone can! Unfortunately, botox injections and dermal fillers fall into an unregulated black hole, meaning that anyone who can access training and a prescriber for botox, can inject anyone who is happy to let them. There is a growing movement to #makeinjectablesmedical – that is only letting those with a medical background administer them.
So now you know how and why botox became used as a clinical treatment, despite it’s dubious origins!