Botox: Poison for your Face

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

You’ve probably heard of Botox, the anti-aging miracle drug that can magically, though temporarily, improve the look of moderate to severe crow’s feet lines and frown lines between the eyebrows in adults. Botox (referred to technically as botulinum toxin type A) injections are so successful that the treatment accounted for more than half of the 14.2 million cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures performed in 2015, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Botox works by blocking the signals from the nerve cells to the muscles. Absent instructions to contract, the muscles are essentially paralyzed and stay relaxed. The result? Significantly fewer visible wrinkles. Pretty cool. And the best part, according to Allergan, the pharmaceutical company that makes it, is that Botox is “derived from sources that exist in nature.” The problem is, one of those “sources that exist in nature” is Clostridium botulinum, considered by scientists to be one of the most poisonous biological substances known known to man. The active ingredient in Botox is a highly-purified botulinum toxin protein refined from the bacterium.

Botox injections are considered relatively safe when performed by an experienced doctor, according to the Mayo Clinic, but that doesn’t mean the treatment is without risk. According to Allergan, Botox injections could result in problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing, due to weakening of associated muscles, which could be severe and result in death. The effects of botulinum toxin could affect areas beyond the injection site resulting in such symptoms as loss of strength, muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing or trouble swallowing. These side effects could be serious and even life threatening. If you experience any of these symptoms after a Botox injection, you should seek medical help immediately.