Nowadays, treatment with botulinum toxin A (Botox is a brand name of a supplier of this) seems as normal as a visit to the dentist. Botox parties have even surpassed Tupperware parties in some countries. Personally, I'm hesitant to have a poison (because that's botulinum toxin A) injected into my face. But also curious about the latest scientific knowledge about whether or not there are dangers in the long term. Time for a blog article!
What is Botulinum Toxin A?
A neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria responsible for food poisoning (botulism). Of all neurotoxins, this is the most lethal of all known varieties. Just 1 g of pure type A toxin can wipe out a million people, which is why the US military has considered using it as a biological weapon. Botulinum toxin A works as a facelift from a bottle, because it causes paralysis when injected.
Botulinum toxin A as a cosmetic agent
From 1989 botulinum toxin A may be used to treat eye twitching. A Canadian doctor who used it for this purpose found that wrinkles in the forehead also disappeared at the same time. And together with her husband - a dermatologist - offered treatments for this. Plastic surgery 'out of a bottle' was born. As of 2002, botulinum toxin A is an approved agent for cosmetic purposes. Botox, produced by Allergan Pharmaceuticals, is the patented form of botulinum toxin A and is the most well-known brand on the market.
Does Botox Work?
Botox certainly works to create a tighter face. It interrupts the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that controls muscle reflexes. Without this neurotransmitter, a muscle is effectively paralyzed. If you can't get muscles to move for a period of time, lines and wrinkles are smoothed out. The effect of Botox is temporary; between three and eight months.
Is Botox Safe?
Opinions are divided whether the use of Botox is safe. Experts say only a small amount of poison is injected into the body at a time. Which eventually leaves the body again - which you notice by the fact that the effect of the treatment decreases after a number of weeks or months. The long-term effects of (long-term) use of Botox are not known. It is 'only' used as a cosmetic for 16 years.
What I know from the cosmetics and food market is that it was also thought for a long time that small amounts of synthetic preservatives in cosmetics and food are not harmful to you. It is now known that all those little bits accumulate in the body - do not leave the body - and can indeed cause complaints in the long term.
Recent research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicates that contrary to the assumption that Botox stays at the injection site, it is able to move between nerve cells - to move around. This study was with mice, but it is quite possible that the same process takes place in humans. Further research should reveal this.
As early as 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety alert, stating that the toxin "may spread from the area of injection to produce symptoms of botulism," such as muscle weakness and difficulty breathing that may appear hours or weeks after an injection. can occur. Botulinum toxin is a poison that acts on nerve impulses. In the longer term, muscle complaints or muscle relaxation could occur.
There are also various possible side effects known, which, however, do not occur in everyone. Such as dizziness, itching or the appearance of swelling and hardening. This is because the body reacts to the foreign and toxic substance butulinum toxin, which is introduced. Headaches and possibly a drooping eye (due to anesthesia of a small eye muscle) can also occur. (Part of) these side effects usually disappear over time - just as the Botox injection itself wears off after some time.
And did you know that you can even cause wrinkles by using Botox? After the treatment against frown lines, other muscles in your face try to make a frown. Doing this repeatedly can cause (new) wrinkles.
The fact is that Botox is big business for the pharmaceutical industry. In 2001 the turnover was 'only' 300 million dollars. Already 1.3 trillion in 2015! And half of the total turnover of manufacturer Allergan. Given the financial interests, there will therefore certainly be lobbying to nip any negative sounds in the bud.
If you go for Botox, do it with a good specialist. The treatment is certainly not without risks. Certain health complaints/symptoms are a contraindication. A well-trained practitioner is not an unnecessary luxury!
Because the idea of deliberately injecting poison into your body. And the fact that the treatment is still relatively young - so little is known about possible negative long-term effects - Botox is not my cup of tea.
I still prefer cosmetic acupuncture as an alternative rejuvenation treatment method. Even if a treatment takes longer than 'putting an injection'. And the effect of this is less 'instant'. But of course! And based on ancient knowledge of Chinese Medicine.
Sources: humanbody.nl, theguardian.com, huffingpost.com, wddly.com, wikipedia.com. rxlistcom, healthline.com, dailymail.co.uk, medical file.org, beautyjournaal.nl.