Botox is one of the most popular aesthetic procedures of all time. As more people become familiar with how safe and effective Botox is for reducing the signs of aging, its popularity is expected to continue to grow.
Despite the popularity of Botox, many misconceptions persist. Over the next few blogs I want to review this fabulous procedure and hopefully increase the understanding of what it is and how it works.
First recorded history of Botox was in 1820 when Justinus Kerner discovered a toxin (later named Botulism) being produced in improperly cured sausage that would affect the nerve function in its victims. Even at this early phase of botulism understanding, he predicted that there may be therapeutic uses for this substance.
Over the next 150 years, enormous research was devoted to Botulism. The active ingredient and method of action was determined. The first FDA sanctioned experiments on humans began in 1977. Some of the research was focused on spastic muscle disorders around the eye. A husband and wife team, Doctors Jean and Alastair Carruthers noticed that frown and crows lines improved in their eye spasm patients when treated with Botox. Although many patients were receiving Botox for wrinkles in the 1990’s, it was not until 2002 that the FDA approved Botox Cosmetic, and it was only approved for reducing “frown lines.” Doctors have continued to treat other areas of the face for cosmetic purposes which are not FDA approved. This is called “Off Label” use. The only other FDA approved site for Botox Cosmetic is the crows area, FDA approved in 2014. Despite the limited areas for use that are FDA approved, Botox Cosmetic use has become accepted worldwide as safe and effective for aesthetic purposes in many areas of the face and neck.
In the next issue, I will discuss just how the Botox molecule performs its magic of erasing those bothersome wrinkles we associate with age.
Mack Stewart, M.D.