Some know it as the go-to solution for age control. Some see it as the refuge of rock stars and desperate divas who want to cling on to the fleeting and fickle fancies of youth. Some others lap up the tabloid and social feed updates about celebrity procedures gone wrong. Yet others look up the technical description of Botox® and ponder the wisdom of getting injected with neurotoxins.
As myths and misconceptions abound, it is important to separate the basics from the buzz and the sense from the sensational. Because we are talking of something that, far from a fad or indulgence, is a genuine, medically approved and widely used solution for a wide range of issues that have as much to do with looking good as with feeling well or even healing well for that matter. Did you know, for instance, that Botox® injections provide migraine sufferers with much-needed relief? Or that it helps millions of people who live with an embarrassing condition called Hyperhidrosis, where underarms and palms break out into uncontrollable sweat for no apparent reason?
Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. While this microorganism may have its own reasons to produce the neurotoxic substance, commercially produced versions, Botulinum toxin types A and B empower doctors to treat various conditions including spasms and dystonias (neuromuscular disorders that for instance, cause involuntary jolting of the head from one side to another)
Let’s walk through the amazing world of Botox® or Onabotulinum toxin (don’t worry about that ‘toxin’ bit) and discover the many ways in which it makes life more beautiful as it brings comfort and gives our self-confidence a lift. Let’s start with the therapeutic end of things and make our way towards some interesting little beauty secrets.
The inspiration to control perspiration
Underarm sweat glands are controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which explains why sweating increases with exercise as well as with emotional stress and anxiety. When the sweating response is disproportionately severe, the condition is called Hyperhidrosis. It took some inspired research to apply the nerve signal blocking ability of Botox® to intervene in this process. Turns out that Botox® blocks the release of acetylcholine, the chemical messenger that signals the sweat glands to activate. As a result, sweating is reduced or eliminated. This treatment, carried out at regular intervals, helps millions the world over to overcome the embarrassment of sweaty underarms and palms, and reach out with confidence.
Taking the pain out of migraines
When people who suffer from frequent migraine attacks do not find improvement with routine migraine medication, a whole new approach may be called for. Botox® injected into the forehead, temples or scalp, is a surprisingly effective pathway to relief. Although the mechanism is not entirely known as yet, neurologists believe that Botox® blocks pain signals and also relaxes the muscles in the head. However, this method is to be used with discretion, because there could be cosmetic side effects: foreheads can turn immobile and brows can drop. The effect would be temporary
Isn’t it infuriating when the oil wells within our skin start working overtime? Setting the stage for acne breakouts? Here’s something you’ll find interesting. While you would be aware of a host of acne control treatments, did you know that Botox® can actually reduce facial oiliness? It has proved to be highly effective in curbing oil production, and is emerging as a whole new line of action for those with shiny foreheads. Although it could be effective anywhere on the face, dermatologists are careful to restrict its use as it can affect muscular activity and curb facial expressions. Treatment consists of tiny amounts injected at superficial levels.
More awe to the jaw
Time and gravity conspire to get you down. As facial muscle tone softens, the jaw begins to change contour. While that may not call for a facelift just yet, it could be nice to perk things up a bit. A few strategically pinpointed micro-injections of Botox® can help maintain that youthful edge along the jawline while easing out any tension that the skin may express. Also called the Nefertiti lift, aptly named after the legendary Egyptian queen who is said to have possessed a beautifully defined jaw line, this procedure is all the rage in celebrity circles
Turn up your nose at ageing
So we aren’t done with gravity just yet. With time, the overall sense of droopiness shows up on the nose. The muscle between the nostrils- the depressor muscle (living up to its name) pulls the nose downwards, making it sag. Botox® , when injected in this region, at the base of the nose, releases this muscle and lifts the nose. It takes years off the face in barely ten minutes.
We eat, we bite and we grind our teeth to chew. And although we don’t get around to noticing the connection, this relentless daily muscular movement makes our jawlines get wider, and as a result the chin loses its definition. Botox® can help narrow the jawline by shrinking the muscle. As a result, the chin regains its rightful prominence. It’s also comforting to know that muscular soreness gets alleviated. The effects last an entire year.
Lip enhancement treatment fundamentally uses nature-identical hyaluronic acid fillers to build volume and contour. In certain instances, a dermatologist may recommend a line of Botox® along the outer border of the upper lip.This touch of relaxant can smoothen out the skin along the lip line and subtly enhance the voluminising effect with a pouty outward roll.
Look wow with a ‘Botox necklace’
As we age, our neck muscles enlarge and protrude, causing horizontal lines around the neck, creating the appearance of bands etched into the skin. Known as necklace lines, they get deeper and more prominent with time. Now, where there are lines, there’s a Botox® rescue. A skilled dermatologist will craft you a bespoke ‘Botox® Necklace’, the term for a sequence of carefully placed shots that relax the muscles above and below each of the crease lines. As the muscles ease up, so do the lines, and the skin appears smoother and younger. Botox® also helps ease the vertical muscular bands called Platysmal bands which pull down on the skin in the jawline and lower face, making them appear more saggier.
Lines develop at the cleavage for some women as a result of ageing and sun damage. Botox®, injected into the pectoral muscles, smoothens out these lines.
Better days for blowouts
Botox® around the hairline reduces sweating in the area and keeps blowouts fresh for a longer period of time. Although this little trick is gaining popularity, it should be approached with caution as too much Botox® can cause droopy eyelids.
So there you have it. The wide and varied applications of Botox® – from medically significant to casually cosmetic. Whatever you choose, one thing is certain: go with a reputable skin clinic and you can erase those worry lines once and for all.