Botulinum toxin. One of the most commonly sought treatments out there.
Botox is the trade name for Botulinum Toxin Type A, which is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botox first got FDA approval in 2002. Not that long ago when you really think about it and especially in relation to how much you’ve heard of it!
There are actually seven known types of botulinum toxin; A, B, C, D, E, F and G.
Toxins A and B were first identified in 1919, and first purified in 1946 and 1947, respectively.
Toxins C, D, E and F eventually followed. The last, G, was identified in 1969 in soil bacteria in Argentina. Only toxins A and B are used clinically.
Botulinum toxin A is approved for cosmetic use and botulinum toxin B is used for different types of muscle diseases.
“How does it work?”
Although this is the same toxin that causes botulism, its effects vary according to the amount and type of exposure. For example, Botox is only injected in small, targeted doses.
When injected, Botox blocks signals from your nerves to your muscles. This prevents the targeted muscles from contracting, which can ease certain muscular conditions and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Botox works by blocking the release of acetylcholine, resulting in paralysis of the local muscles, which usually occurs 24 hrs to two weeks following Botox injection. This effect is said to last three to six months. Botox is relatively safe (in small doses) and does not result in any adverse side effects. However, in certain circumstances, the effect of Botox will gradually resolve, resulting in reduced muscle paralysis over time.
“What can it treat?”
Botox can treat various symptoms such as;
- Glabellar frown lines
- Smoker’s lines
- Marionette lines
- Lazy eye
- Eye twitching
- Chronic migraines
- Cervical Dystonia (neck spasms)
- Overactive bladder
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
- Certain neurological conditions such as Cerebral Palsy
Noteworthy Botox Alternatives
While many have grown fond of their Botox treatments, Botox may not be for everyone. Here are a few alternatives to consider if the toxin isn’t for you.
Other Injectable Treatments (Dysport & Myobloc)
So there’s Dysport and Myobloc that are very similar but not quite Botox.
Dysport, like Botox, is a neurotoxin. It’s made of the same type of botulinum toxin A as Botox, but is a little bit different in dosing technique and structure. Results seem to be about the same for both Dysport and Botox, but Dysport seems to work a little bit faster. However, No official studies from the company have been conducted.
Also, while Dysport seems less expensive, it takes more units of Dysport to achieve the same results as Botox. So in the end, the cost is basically the same.
Myobloc is another injection. It’s made from botulinum toxin type B. Because it’s also a neurotoxin, it works the same way as the other injectable options. However, it’s not as effective, and the effects don’t last as long. According to the FDA labelling, Myobloc effects lasts approximately 3 to 4 months, as opposed to the 5 to 6 months of Botox.
Pros: The effects of these other injectable treatments are similar to those of Botox.
Cons: These treatments may be considered expensive. They also work in a similar way to Botox, so if you’re looking for an alternative that is very different, these won’t be the best options for you.
If exercise can help ward off aging in the body, why not in the face, too? A method reportedly used by celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Cindy Crawford, FaceExercise uses cupping and facial massage to improve blood flow and circulation. It’s also said to work the lymphatic system to clear out toxins in the tissues.
Pros: FaceXercise is all-natural and does not require any injections or needles.
Cons: It may be considered expensive, averaging around $380 for just the initial visit. Providers are limited, too.
Acupuncture as an anti-aging treatment is a relatively new procedure, but it’s a promising one. One study has shown that it can help improve facial elasticity and skin hydration, both of which can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Pros: It’s all-natural and appears to be effective, though studies are limited.
Cons: It may be difficult to find a licensed acupuncturist who specializes in facial treatments. It can also be expensive, and results are temporary. If you have a distaste for needles, acupuncture may not be for you.
Face patches, or Frownies, are sticky patches that you can place on the areas where you’re prone to wrinkles. The patches are supposed to help smooth out wrinkles.
Pros: The patches are easy to find and inexpensive, starting at around $20 for a box. Plus, no injections are necessary.
Cons: One small-scale study showed that while users reported an improvement, plastic surgeons were not able to detect any real difference in the skin.
Key nutritional supplements may help improve collagen production. They may also have an antioxidant effect that helps prevent damage from free radicals. The best supplements to take include vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids.
Pros: Vitamins are easily accessible and affordable for most. They also provide important nutrients to your body as a whole.
Cons: You have to be careful when buying supplements and look for high-quality supplements from a reputable source. But you won’t get as dramatic of a decrease in wrinkles as you’d see with Botox. It’s also possible to take too many vitamins, so pay close attention to dosage.
Many facial creams on the market claim to treat wrinkles. Look for antioxidant creams or cell regulators, which have a direct effect on collagen production and metabolism in the facial skin cells.
Pros: They’re easy to use and find, and they’re also available in a range of prices for every budget.
Cons: With so many types of anti-aging creams on the market, it can be hard to know what will actually work. It’s a good idea to talk to a dermatologist about recommended creams. Some creams may require a prescription or be quite expensive.
Chemical peels are used to treat acne, reduce the appearance of discolored skin, and reduce signs of aging. Chemical peels require some recovery time, ranging from 24 hours to 2 to 3 weeks. You’ll start to see results in as little as one day, however.
Pros: Chemical peels are considered safe and effective. Your skin will continue to age, however, so you may need another chemical peel in the future as more wrinkles develop.
Cons: You need to see a skin care specialist for the procedure. The results are not instant and may take 1 to 14 days to be fully seen. Recovery following the treatment varies depending on the chemical peel used. Your skin may look red and swollen, with peeling varying from minimal to severe. For deep peels, you may need a surgical dressing on the wound.