By Dr. Kaycee Reyes
“She doesn’t age at all.”
“He looks younger now, amazing!”
“You haven’t changed, literally! Botox?”
Botox, a wonder drug, has long been a youth elixir that is known around the world to smoothen frown lines and crow’s feet. These lines form as a result of muscles contracting and causing the skin to fold. Botox works for fine lines by temporarily stopping muscle activity, thereby preventing lines from forming. Actors, models, social media personalities, and perhaps your favorite tita or even your best friend are smiling younger now with the help of Botox! But have you heard that nowadays, it is being used to treat more than just wrinkles? Well, here are new reasons to smile with Botox!
Botox beginnings. Botox is a toxic substance coming from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum that when ingested, can be fatal, but in small doses, may be beneficial to treat certain conditions. The discovery of Botox began in the ’70’s, when opthalmologist Dr. Alan B. Scott used it for treatment among cross-eyed patients and called it Oculinum. By the next decade, Oculinum was widely used by eye doctors and neurologists for other conditions such as facial and limb spasms. Until one day in 1987, when a patient of opthalmologist Jean Carruthers mentioned about looking better and more relaxed with the treatment, it changed the beauty game from then on. The drug was bought later in 1991 by another pharmaceutical company, Allergan, and named it as what we know today. And by the time the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for wrinkle use in the early 2000’s, everyone was in on it. A decade later, Botox use has skyrocketed and has catapulted to become one of the most popular cosmetic drugs in the world.
Not just lines. The reason for its recent success, however, is not just because of facial wrinkles. New treatments and studies have emerged, making Botox more than just an anti-wrinkle drug.
- Eyelid spasm and cross-eye – Irregular eyelid muscle movement was the first treatment using Botox that was FDA-approved in 1989. Cross-eye was also a condition where Botox was initially used.
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweat) – Those treated with facial spasms have been reported not to sweat as much than before, leading to the study of this now FDA-approved Botox treatment for severe underarm sweat. It controls the sweating by stopping the nerves from sending signals to the sweat glands.
- Migraines – Even those with severe migraines can benefit from Botox when injected on various areas such as the temples, neck, and forehead that can last for months. How it relieves migraines is still up for debate, but Botox use for migraines has been approved by the FDA a few years ago.
- Constant urination – Patients who cannot control urinating and who always have a need to pass urine, are given Botox treatments, and the results are remarkable. This is FDA-approved as well.
It doesn’t end here. The uses of Botox are far more, and some physicians treat these conditions with Botox (but without FDA approval). Controversial, yes, but patients and studies present positive results.
- Acne – Yes, even Botox can reportedly control excess oil! But it is not the primary treatment and other options must be considered prior to Botox.
- Too much gum – “Gummy smiles” as they are called, Botox on the upper lip makes it relax and lower the lip when smiling, making the smile appear better and show less gum.
- Jaw reduction – Injecting Botox into the muscle along the jaw reduces it, making an angular face look softer.
- Jaw disorders – Lock jaw or tension can be treated with Botox as it relaxes the muscles, avoiding the discomfort and symptoms.
- Neck lift – The loose skin forming on the neck may be improved. The Botox is to be injected to the neck platysma muscle which is partly responsible for the face and neck sagging and wrinkles.
- Excessive scalp sweating – injection of Botox to the hairline and scalp especially during summer time will decrease the sweating and oiliness.
- Scrotox – Botox injection on the muscular sac surrounding the testicles (scrotum) will result to lessening of the wrinkles and relaxation of the muscles, thus making the testicles relax and look bigger.
- Body contouring – Botox can also be injected to make the arms, thighs, and legs look leaner. The target muscles would be deltoid, biceps, and gastrocnemius. This is done to lessen the hypertrophic of muscles. Must be done in caution because it might affect daily activities especially if the patient is an athlete.
- Nonsurgical face lift – botox is injected to all depressor muscles (e.g. corrugator, platysma muscle) of the face to achieve a mild lifting and maintain a less sagging face. This is especially true for patients who have hyperactive muscles and who tend to sag more.
- Skin care – Botox is injected intradermally to the skin. This relaxes arrector pili, contributing to decrease pore size and improve skin texture. It can also relax facial muscles that which can lead to lymphatic accumulation resulting to skin tightness.
- Depression – Botox can be linked with elevating depression as it can control one’s facial expressions, and some say that facial expressions can affect emotions. Studies have shown that it can possibly help those suffering from this condition, but more research and trials are needed.
As you can see, Botox can offer something more than just skin deep, and there are even more treatments for Botox other than those discussed above. This is why more often than not, Botox has helped people live better lives. If you are interested to get Botox, either for cosmetic or other purposes, make sure to ask about it first (side effects, downtime, cost, preparation, post-treatment, etc.) and have it done by a trained medical doctor in a licensed clinic. And if you are curious about the treatments discussed above that are not yet FDA-approved, ask your physician about them as well and if these are offered in their clinic.