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Cosmetic and Medical Uses of Botox

Botox paralyzes muscles temporarily, which can help treat medical conditions like Raynaud’s disease, eyelid spasms, and migraines. Some people also use it to reduce their skin wrinkles.

Botox is highly beneficial (despite being a toxin) when physicians use it appropriately and in small doses. It serves both medical and cosmetic purposes.

Cosmetic professionals use Botox injections to minimize skin wrinkles. Similarly, the FDA has endorsed Botox for various health conditions like bladder disorders, migraine, excessive sweating, and eyelid spasms.

This article delves into the functionality, purposes, and side effects of Botox.

Understanding Botox

Botox is from C. botulinum bacteria present in numerous natural settings, like forests, lakes, the intestinal tracts of fish and mammals, and soil. Natural C. botulinum and spores are harmless.

However, issues arise when the cell population soars and the spores change. At a certain juncture, the bacteria can start creating Botulinum toxin, the harmful neurotoxin causing botulism.

To describe how dangerous the Botulinum toxin is, scientists say a gram of toxin could kill one million people, while some kilograms can wipe out the entire human race.

However, an American Osteopathic College of Dermatology report says you can safely use Botox therapeutically without pronounced side effects. That is why manufacturers only add an insignificant portion of Botulinum toxin to Botox injections. It can tentatively paralyze muscles, which benefits patients with nerve or muscle disorders.

How Botox Works

Botox substances focus on the nervous system. They disrupt the nerve signaling processes, stimulating muscle contraction. This is how Botox triggers tentative muscle paralysis.

The nerves produce a chemical messenger known as “acetylcholine” when nerve endings collide with muscle cells for a muscle to contract. Acetylcholine clings to the receptors on the cells and triggers cell contraction. The toxin assists the muscles in being loose because Botox injections stop the release of acetylcholine.

Cosmetic Uses of Botox

Cosmetically, Botox mainly reduces facial wrinkles. The body overseeing cosmetic surgery in the country – the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery – observes that Botox injections are the most common cosmetic procedure. More than seven million people did Botox treatments in 2016 alone.

Depending on the treatment type, its effects last between three months and one year.

The FDA only approved Botox injections for the forehead and around the eyes, though people demand it in other parts of the body like crow’s feet, wrinkles between the eyebrows, and the chin. Also, some try Botox to enhance their hair appearance, but there is insignificant evidence it works.

Medical Uses of Botox

Healthcare professionals also use Botox to treat various medical issues. Specifically, the FDA endorsed Botox for the following medical purposes. Unless otherwise stated, the approval is for patients who are 18 or above:

  • Strabismus or crossed eyes in patients older than 12
  • Upper limb spasticity in those older than two years
  • Cervical dystonia, a neurological movement disorder affecting the head and triggering neck pain
  • Eyelid spasms because of dystonia
  • Hyperhidrosis or severe underarm sweating
  • Minimizing signs of an overactive bladder because of a neurological situation when anticholinergic medications fail
  • Preventing migraine in those whose migraines last at least four hours in a minimum of 15 days monthly

Similarly, some take Botox injections for unapproved or off-label purposes. For instance, they use the injections as treatments for post-herpetic neuralgia, psoriasis, alopecia, anismus, sialorrhea, Raynaud’s disease, achalasia, dyshidrotic eczema, and vulvodynia.

Using Botox for Other Conditions

A 2017 review of known evidence reveals other conditions and matters that may benefit from off-label Botox usage. They include blistering lesions because of Hailey-Hailey ailment, scars and keloids from wound healing, facial redness and flushing, and hidradenitis suppurativa.

However, there is a need for more research to affirm the safety and effectiveness of Botox for off-label purposes. Researchers must also explicitly state the appropriate way(s) of using it in each condition.

Botox Procedure

Clinicians dilute the Botulinum toxin powder in saline and inject it into neuromuscular tissue. The toxin takes effect within 24 to 72 hours. It can take five days for the full manifestation in rare circumstances.

Avoid Botox in pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Similarly, avoid it if you are allergic to it or any of its components.

Cost, Time, and Effectiveness of Botox

“The factors influencing Botox cost include its intended purpose, treatment provider, place of treatment, and volume of Botox units used,” says Dr. Dave Lee of PURE Cosmetic Center

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the average Botox cosmetic use showed the following indices as of 2016:

  • The procedure took 30 minutes
  • The Botox treatment amount for crow’s feet or frown lines was $376
  • Improvements happened within one to five days
  • The patient could return to work immediately
  • Repeat treatments were crucial every four to six months

Medicare caters to the Botox cost that physicians deem essential for medical reasons. However, confirm Medicare covers the treatment before the appointment because of the potentially high cost.

Only patronize a well-trained professional if you want to do Botox. You can use the American Academy of Facial Esthetics’ locator function to find a cosmetic Botox professional in your locality.

Discuss with your healthcare provider before going for Botox if you believe it will help with your health situation.

Risks and Consequences of Botox

Many usually get along fine with Botox injections because they rarely have side effects. However, Botulinum toxin can trigger unwanted effects depending on the patient’s response and reasons for the injections.

The possible consequences include numbness, headache, upset stomach, dry eye, tentative eyelid drooping, mild pain or bruising around the injected area, and urinary issues after treatment for urinary incontinence. Others include tentative weakness or paralysis in muscles, myocardial infarction or arrhythmia, spatial disorientation after treatment for strabismus, corneal ulceration after treatment for blepharitis, and worsening neuromuscular disorders.

Avoid Botox if you have an infection in the injected area or an allergy to it. Also, there are concerns that Botox effects may go beyond the injected area, depending on the treatment, which may cause breathing difficulties.

These symptoms are more likely to occur in some people than others, and genetics may also affect things. For instance, some develop antibodies to the Botulinum toxin after receiving the Type A injection, making subsequent treatments impotent.


Botox is ideal for cosmetic and medical purposes. It can minimize wrinkles and treat disorders associated with the muscular and nervous systems. Speak with your healthcare provider before trying Botox to understand its risks and other essential factors.


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