What is Botulinum Toxin?
Botulinum Toxin is an exotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum and occurs naturally in nature.
Botox® (Botulinum Toxin A) is a purified protein derivative that relaxes muscles.
How does it work?
The message for a muscle to contract is mediated via a chemical transmitter (messenger substance) called Acetylcholine (Ach).
After injecting Botulinum Toxin A, the release of Ach is blocked (“roadblock” for Ach). The muscle therefore does not contract.
There is no direct damage to the muscle (or sweat gland, if done for Hyperhidrosis).
If injections are discontinued, the muscle action will resume over time.
Why it is clever to start Botox® early.
Botulinum toxin A relaxes dynamic muscles and prevent static lines/ ingrained wrinkles (unwanted lines without you frowning) that are associated with ageing.
Due to the muscle not exercising, the muscle bulk decreases over time.
Who can’t use Botulinum toxin A?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have diseases of muscular weakness (myasthenia gravis, etc.) you should not be receiving botulinum toxin.
How often should one have Botox®?
The normal duration is 3-4 months.
However, due to loss of habit and decreasing muscle bulk, the duration of action may increase over time, making less frequent treatments possible.
The duration for hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) is longer – on average 7 months.
Interesting facts about Botulinum Toxin A
Botulinum Toxin A is also used as a medical treatment, it’s an extremely effective treatment for excessive sweating (primary focal hyperhidrosis) and teeth grinding (bruxism).
Botulinum Toxin A has been proven to improve the texture of overlying skin by increasing collagen types I and III and decreasing the expression of metalloproteinase (the ‘pacman’ in your skin destroying collagen and other proteins.)
Botulinum Toxin A can also have a positive effect on mood in patients with depression. Recent studies consistently showed that treating the glabellar muscles (frown) with botulinum toxin A, can cause a significant improvement in depressive symptoms. One study showed that the Hamilton Depression Rating Score improved by 46% in patients treated.