BOTOX: What It Botox and How Does It Work


BOTOX is a registered trademark name given to a substance that is used in cosmetic and other medical procedures. The name has become so well known that it is now often used as a generic name, being written almost always as Botox.

Botox is derived from the toxin, Botulinum A (BTX-A). The toxin is a very dangerous poison that can be fatal to humans and animals. Illness caused by the toxin is known as “botulism,” and about 15% of humans who contract it will die.

The toxin induces paralysis in muscle groups in the head and chest. When the respiratory organs are affected by the induced paralysis, death becomes increasingly likely.

Dr. Alan Scott began investigating whether BTX-A could prove beneficial in medical therapy for various eye conditions. He believed that the paralyzing effect of the toxin on muscles could correct some problems, and conducted the first treatments on patients in the 1980’s. Low doses of the toxin were injected, and proved extremely effective in treating conditions like eye spasms, excessive blinking, and crossed eyes. In 1989, the FDA granted approval for the use of Botox in these treatments.

Cosmetic uses

Botox is probably best known for its widespread use in cosmetic procedures to reduce wrinkles. This property of the toxin was noticed by Canadian physicians, Dr. Jean Carruthers, an ophthalmologist, and her husband, Dr. Alastair Carruthers, a dermatologist. They realized that wrinkling at the side of the eyes, commonly called crow’s feet, was less conspicuous in patients being treated with Botox for the correction of eye spasms.

Since then, the product has been widely used to reduce crow’s feet, and wrinkling of the forehead. It has also been used to treat neck wrinkles and laugh lines, which are the wrinkles that form below the cheek muscles and run from the nose to the lips. It is not as effective in treating the latter two conditions, and treatment of laugh lines sometimes causes the lips to droop.

Method of administration

To be effective, Botox has to be injected directly into the muscles to be paralyzed. This means that several injections are required for treating wrinkles.

“A BOTOX® Cosmetic procedure usually takes less than 20 minutes. The only facial expression you will eliminate is the unintentional frown caused by the overactive muscles. The injections are very quick and almost painless, and any slight discomfort subsides within seconds (usually less than 5 seconds),” states one Botox Appleton facility.

On average, somewhere between ten and sixteen injections will be required to treat forehead wrinkles, and two or three injections around each eye will be required for treatment of crow’s feet.

The paralyzing effect of Botox is temporary, and full muscle function will gradually return in three to four months, leading to the reappearance of wrinkles. As a result, people who opt for Botox treatment to permanently reduce visible wrinkling will require several treatments each year.

Side effects

Botox is generally safe for use when used in cosmetic treatments, and few side effects have been reported. The substance has been associated with allergic reactions and with affecting muscles other than those injected.

Some deaths have been attributed to the substance, but all of these occurred during medical, rather than cosmetic, therapy.

The substance is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. People with certain types of allergies should also avoid the substance. It is advisable to discuss any pre-existing medical condition with a doctor before opting for Botox treatment.


The cost of obtaining Botox treatment will depend on several factors, including the extent of each treatment, the type of clinic chosen, and geographical location. Generally, quotations are given based on a unit cost of Botox. Each unit represents a single injection, so the more injections required, the higher the cost will be. Many clinics will offer a discount if multiple treatments are performed in a single session.

Natural alternatives

There are natural alternatives, and these will appeal to people who cannot take Botox for medical or physical reasons, or who would prefer to use a natural remedy.

Natox is a natural product that has been shown to be very effective. It does not rely on chemical interference with the muscles to reduce wrinkle size. It does not have any side effects, is 100% organic and does not require painful or uncomfortable surgical administration.

ã William Kenny – 2012