How does botox work?

Botox, Dysport and Xeomin all contain the same active ingredient: botulinum toxin A. There are 7 distinct serotypes of botulinum toxin, with serotype A being the strongest. This serotype is used in all current cosmetic applications. Botulinum toxin is produced by the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum. It causes the disease "botulism".

Despite the fact that one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered a way to use it to human advantage. Small, diluted amounts of botulinum toxin can be directly injected into specific muscles to cause temporary weakening of those muscles. Botox was first approved for medical use in the 1980s for lazy eye and blepharospasm. It was soon noticed that treatment of these conditions resulted in easement of wrinkles around the eyes. After further human trials, Botox was approved for use as a cosmetic and has become a household name.

Botox is a neurotoxin. Your brain communicates with your muscles through nerves. In order for muscles to contract, nerves release a chemical messenger called acetylcholine at the junction where the nerve meets the muscle. Acetylcholine attaches to receptors on the muscle cells and causes the muscle to contract. Botox prevents the release of acetylcholine, therefore cutting off the communication between the nerve and the muscle.

Over time, the body creates new neuromuscular junctions which bypass the ones that are being blocked by the Botox. This is why the effects of Botox are temporary and wear off over 3 to 4 months.

Gold Coast botox poster

Now that you know how Botox works, you may be interested in this article explaining who can inject Botox.

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