Everything you need to know about Botox

Botox is a drug that weakens or paralyzes muscle. In small doses, it can reduce skin wrinkles and help treat some muscle conditions.

Botox is a protein made from botulinum toxin that the bacterium Clostridium botulinum produces. This is the same toxin that causes botulism.

Botox is a toxin, but when people use it correctly and in small doses, it has a number of medical and cosmetic uses.

Botox injections are probably best known for reducing skin wrinkles. Botox can also help treat crossed eyes, eyelid spasms, excessive sweating, and some bladder disorders.

How does it work?

Botox is a neurotoxin. These substances target the nervous system, disrupting the nerve signalling processes that stimulate muscle contraction. This is how the drug causes temporary muscle paralysis.

In order for muscles to contract, nerves release a chemical messenger called acetylcholine at the junction where the nerve endings meet muscle cells. Acetylcholine attaches to receptors on the muscle cells and causes the muscle cells to contract or shorten.

Botox injections prevent the release of acetylcholine, which stops muscle cells from contracting. The toxin reduces abnormal muscle contraction, allowing the muscles to become less stiff.


The effects of Botox are temporary, lasting 3–12 months, depending on the treatments.

Common facial areas people use Botox on include:

    •    Frown lines also called glabellar lines or “elevens”

    •    Wrinkles around the eyes, known as crow’s feet

    •    Horizontal creases in the forehead

    •    Lines at the corners of the mouth

    •    Cobblestone skin on the chin

  •   Gummy Smile (a large portion of your gum show when you smile)

  •   Marinette Smile

  •   Slimming of the jaw (Square Faces) 

  •   Lines and wrinkle on neck


People should avoid using Botox during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or if they have had a previous allergic reaction to the drug or any of its ingredients.


Risks and side effects.

People generally tolerate Botox injections well, and side effects are not common.

Along with its intended effects, botulinum toxin may cause some unwanted effects. These can include:

    •    mild pain, swelling or bruising around the injection site

    •    flu-like symptoms

    •    a headache

    •    an upset stomach

    •    temporary eyelid drooping

    •    numbness

    •    malaise, or feeling generally unwell

    •    temporary unwanted weakness or paralysis in nearby muscles


         In rare cases, the person may have a genetic predisposition that

         results in a mild, transient unusual response to the drug.

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