What is botulinum toxin?
Botulinum toxin is a chemical produced by bacterium clostridium botulinum. Botox is a protein derivative of the toxin, which, when injected into a muscle, causes it to become weakened or inactivated. It stops the muscle from functioning by blocking the neuromuscular transmission. i.e it stops the chemical messages from the nerve to the muscle.
How does it work?
By using facial muscles repeatedly throughout a lifetime, the skin is creased in areas of greatest use. The aging process causes the slow down of collagen and elastin production in the skin so that as we get older, these areas of over-use become damaged and the line become permanent. By reducing the movement of muscles in these areas, the skin stop being creased and is allowed to recover, causing the lines to soften or even fade away, In the areas treated, the muscles are temporarily inactivated (always reversible), during which time the patient can break the subconscious habit of overusing these muscles. Depending on each individual and the dose used, the response to treatment can vary from a relaxation of the muscles to an inability to move the muscles.
For the first couple of years, frequent treatments are required to ‘re-educate’ the facial muscles. Thereafter, treatments would be less frequent until a yearly maintenance treatment is normally all that is required.
What happens during treatment?
The procedure takes about 15 minutes. The practitioner will ask you to use certain muscles of the face to observe how they work. An extremely fine, short needle is used to inject the Botox into the appropriate area. This may cause some slight brief discomfort. The area may have some slight redness and swelling, which normally resolves in an hour or two.
The treatment normally starts to take effect after 4 to 14 day, but this may vary slightly with some individuals. The effects will normally last between 2 and 6 months, when you will start to notice an ability to move the muscle more freely.