5 Things You Didn't Know About Botox

A woman getting a Botox injection in between her eyebrows.

Botox is arguably the most popular cosmetic procedure in the dermatology world, so there’s probably a lot about it you know.

You likely know that Botox is a natural, highly purified protein that’s injected just beneath the surface of your skin to temporarily erase fine lines and diminish the appearance of deep creases and wrinkles.

You also probably know it’s a neurotoxin that it works by obstructing the nerve signals that cause your facial muscles to contract.

You’re probably most familiar with the results. When injected in just the right areas, Botox leaves you with naturally smooth skin that has fewer lines and wrinkles. 

Thing is, Botox is known for much more than just turning back the clock on your skin.

Here are 5 fascinating things you didn’t know about Botox!

1. Botox Was Discovered 126 Years Ago

Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium containing botulinum toxin, also known as Botox, was first discovered by Dr.Emile Pierre van Ermengem in 1895.

75 years later, in the 1970s, doctors were testing to see if the toxin could be used to treat cross-eyed monkeys when they noticed the toxin reduced wrinkles in the glabella, wthe space between the eyebrows.

The toxin was then approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a host of medical conditions and starting in 2002 was approved for cosmetic purposes.

2. Botox Can Be Used Preventatively

Most people think of Botox as a measure reserved for those 50 and up, when wrinkles can start to take shape and make people feel wary of their appearance.

While Botox is extremely popular for this purpose, experts agree anyone over the age of 18 can get Botox. More specifically, our experts recommend patients in their mid-20s and 30s scan themselves for the beginnings of fine lines and wrinkles on the face. This can be done by furrowing your brow, frowning, raising your eyebrows, pursing your lips, and squinting your eyes while looking in a mirror and noticing the prevalence of wrinkles that appear.

Wrinkles that appear when a particular facial expression is performed are known as dynamic wrinkles. In younger people, these wrinkles disappear when the facial expression is no longer being performed. As we get older, our skin loses its firmness and volume, and those wrinkles caused by the facial expressions we make most often stick around regardless of our facial expression. Preventative Botox, also known as baby Botox, can prevent the muscles from folding the skin in these ways when making these expressions, mitigating the formation of those wrinkles.

It’s important to note that excess Botox at an early age can actually make you look older because the muscles can atrophy, giving you the saggy and loose skin you’re trying to prevent.

Similarly, the more often you get Botox, the less of it you’ll need over time.

Every time you use Botox, the muscles are “frozen” in place. The less often muscles move, the less likely they are to develop wrinkles. In the case of those who have had many frequent Botox injections, some can go a year without getting another injection.

That said, the effects are guaranteed to wear off regardless of how many times you’ve used Botox.

3. The “Brotox” Phenomenon is Here to Stay

Botox patients—and cosmetic patients as a whole—have traditionally been women. That trend is starting to change as the “Brotox” phenomenon has taken hold.

As social media has increased our awareness of our physical appearance, men have joined the traditionally female-dominated world of cosmetics. This has been compounded by the dreaded “Zoom effect” of the pandemic—where professionals have spent months staring at themselves via Zoom calls, noticing each and every perceived flaw in their appearance.

According to Fortune Magazine, nearly half a million men received a Botox injection in 2019, a 5% jump from 2018. Overall, Botox procedures among men have soared over 400% from 2000.

4. Botox May Help Treat Depression

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Medicine by Dr.Eric Finzi and Dr.Norman E. Rosenthal found that subjects injected with Botox saw a 52% improvement in their depressive symptoms versus a placebo group.

In response to the study’s findings, Dr.Finzi stated, “This new research supports earlier facial feedback theory of Charles Darwin and William James which suggests that facial expressions influence mood.”

The idea is that we make certain facial expressions when we’re feeling down, such as frowning or furrowing the eyebrows. Over time, the brain supposedly learns to associate negative feelings with these movements of the face. Hence, if Botox inhibits the face’s ability to move in these ways, it may also inhibit the extent of these negative feelings.

5. Botox Can Treat the Aesthetic Appearance of Your Smile

Botox has even more cosmetic uses than you know! It can also help treat a gummy smile.

For many people, the supposedly “ideal” smile is one that only shows a few millimeters of gum—the small pink triangles above the teeth. Those with more “gummy” smiles, ones that show 3 or more millimeters of gum, may be viewed as undesirable.

Botox can change the appearance of a gummy smile cosmetically by relaxing the muscles in the upper lip and putting a metaphorical “ceiling” on it when smiling, keeping it from exposing too much of the gums.

To treat a gummy smile, a few units of Botox are injected between the upper lip and the nose.

The results of the injection can last upwards of three months and as we stated earlier, often last longer the more often the procedure is performed.

Knowledge is Power

Or in the case of Botox, knowledge is youth.

Botox is one of the most popular, safe, and effective cosmetic treatments out there. It has not been around that long in the cosmetic world, yet it is the most popular cosmetic product in dermatology. The longer Botox sticks around, the more people recognize its usefulness.

From people in their 20s to men, more and more groups are getting in on the action.

Want to be a part of it?

Our board-certified dermatology experts at SINY Dermatology are here to help. Check out all of our cosmetic offerings here (a link will be inserted) and schedule an appointment at sinyderm.com or via phone at 800-778-3090.

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