Everything you need to know about Botox
Botulinum toxin (commonly known as Botox) is a chemical that acts on muscle cells by blocking their activity and therefore paralyzing the muscle. It is a molecule present in nature, specifically produced by a bacterium (Clostridium botulinum) that causes the well-known botulism, characterized precisely by muscle paralysis.
After studying the property of this molecule and its mechanism of action, it was considered that it could be used to modulate the contractile capacity of certain muscles and, thereby, obtain a medical benefit. From here began the synthesis of this molecule in the laboratory.
In the field of aesthetic medicine, botulinum toxin is used to prevent certain muscles from contracting; blocks or minimizes mobility and, therefore, modulates the movements of the skin, thus preventing the formation of “expression wrinkles”.
It is mainly used to treat expression wrinkles of the upper third of the face:
Botox treatment takes effect from the third or fourth day of its application, reaching its maximum effect after 5 days.
How does it affect the patient?
To better understand how it works and what the patient will notice, we must start by identifying the two times of wrinkles:
Static wrinkles: those that occur as a result of the sagging of the tissues and the loss of collagen. Facial mimicry conditions changes in them but does not make them less visible.
Dynamic wrinkles: those that appear as a result of repetitive movement. Facial mimicry makes them more or less visible in such a way that they are much less visible with a relaxed facial expression.
It is on the latter that the botulinum toxin acts. By paralyzing, to a greater or lesser extent, the selective activity of certain muscles, we will limit repeated facial mimicry and, with it, the formation and identification of those dynamic or “expression” wrinkles.
If done correctly, the patient will continue to express himself naturally but in a less intense, less forced way, which will prevent the skin from wrinkling. The action of the botox will make the expression wrinkles not go any further and, little by little, they will soften since the patient will have a more relaxed expression.
Botulinum toxin is used to prevent certain muscles from contracting.
After 4 months, Botox begins to lose its effect.
Like any biological substance, botulinum toxin loses its effect over time. Four months after its application, the botulinum toxin or Botox begins to lose its effect; at 6 months it is practically non-existent. After that time, the muscle will recover its activity, the expression will restore its intensity and, with them, the wrinkles will return.
In conclusion, we will have to apply the treatment again between 4 and 6 months, if we do not do so we will recover the previous muscle mobility and, with it, the initial state of those expression wrinkles that we want to treat.
Where does it apply?
It is very important to note that legally the application of botulinum toxin or Botox is only approved in the upper third. There are some doctors who use it to treat wrinkles around the mouth or on the neck (nefertiti neck is what we call those wrinkles that are noticeable on the neck when the skin is very aged). The reason why the legislation only contemplates the application in the upper third is that there are no formal studies on its application, for aesthetic purposes, in other areas of the face but, if it is carried out by a qualified professional, also the application in those areas , The results are very satisfactory.
When we speak of the upper third, we refer to the region above the eyes: “crow’s feet”, between the eyebrows and forehead. As we have said, botulinum toxin is not indicated for these areas, but if the doctor and the patient reach an agreement informing about it, it can be used.
The toxin is applied, by puncture, in a series of points that allow it to be conveyed to the specific muscles on which we want to act. The inoculation is performed with a fine needle, being totally painless since, previously, an anesthetic cream is applied to the puncture points.
Can any patient be injected with Botox?
We must make it very clear that botulinum toxin does not give volume. Many patients are confused and think that the botulinum toxin can swell their face. For this reason, it is important not to confuse botulinum toxin with hyaluronic acid; botulinum toxin never swells the face. What the botulinum toxin does is act on the muscle, preventing it from its contraction.