Botox: Cosmetic and Therapeutic
Botulinum toxin-A – brand names Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin – like cosmetic fillers (or injectable fillers) and other nonsurgical aesthetic procedures such as laser hair removal, laser resurfacing, IPL (Intense Pulse Light) and chemical peels, among other treatments, has a reputation that places it firmly in the park of the beauty industry.
Little do many people know that botulinum toxin-A was first developed in the 70s as an opthalmologic treatment for strabismus (crossed-eyes). Botulinum toxin, an extremely powerful neurotoxin, works by paralysing the overactive muscles that cause the condition. Sufferers of blepharospasm (uncontrollable blinking) were also found to respond well to the treatment.
It was soon discovered that the had many applications in various conditions all over the body, relieving the muscular spasms and uncontrollable tremors of stroke patients, treating cervical dystonia, a painful neck condition, and even helps in cases of excessive sweating or hyperhydrosis.
It was only in the mid 1990s that doctors began to notice that patients receiving botulinum toxin in the eye area were also seeing a relaxation of their frown lines and wrinkles. Doctors were soon discovering the many ways in which botulinum toxin could be used for aesthetics.
Today, botulinum toxin is US FDA-approved for treatment of the glabella (between eyebrows) area, hyperhydrosis, and migraines. Off-label, it’s many uses include treatment of eyelid spasms, gummy smiles, bruxism (teeth grinding), back and neck pain, facial spasms, cerebral palsy, vocal cord disorders and overactive bladders.