Botox is a drug that weakens or paralyzes muscle. In small doses, it can reduce skin wrinkles and help treat some medical conditions.
Botox is a protein made from Botulinum toxin, which the bacterium Clostridium botulinum produces. This is the same toxin that causes botulism.
Botox is a toxin, but when doctors use it correctly and in small doses, it can have benefits. It has both cosmetic and medical uses.
As a cosmetic treatment, Botox injections can reduce the appearance of skin wrinkles.
Also, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved it as a treatment for various health issues, including eyelid spasms, excessive sweating, some bladder disorders, and migraine.
In this article, we explain how Botox works and explore its uses, side effects, and other risks.
What is Botox?
Botox is a drug doctors have been using for years to treat wrinkles and facial creases. Botox is a brand name of a toxin made by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are other brands, such as Dysport and Xeomin. Botox is the term you hear most often because it was the first injectable botulinum toxin.
How Is Botox Used?
The most common reason doctors use Botox is to reduce the appearance of face wrinkles. But getting a Botox shot can help treat other conditions, such as:
- Severe underarm sweating (hyperhidrosis).
- Cervical dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder muscle spasms.
- Blinking that you can’t control (blepharospasm)
- Eyes that point in different directions (strabismus)
- Chronic migraine
- Overactive bladder
How Does Botox Work?
Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle can't contract. That makes wrinkles relax and soften.
Botox is most often used on forehead lines, crow's feet (lines around the eye), and frown lines. Botox won’t help with wrinkles caused by sun damage or gravity.
How Is a Botox Procedure Done?
Getting Botox takes only a few minutes. You won’t need anesthesia. The provider uses a small needle to inject Botox into specific muscles with only minor discomfort.
It generally takes 7 to 14 days to take full effect. It’s best to avoid alcohol starting at least 1 week before the procedure. You should also stop taking aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications 2 weeks before treatment to help prevent bruising.
Avoid rubbing the injection site for 24 hours so you don’t spread the Botox to another area. Your doctor may also tell you to stay upright for 4 hours after the shots and to take a day off from exercising.