Botox can be one of the more controversial cosmetic treatments, primarily because it is technically a toxin, but the fact that botulism is so heavily regulated means it can only be found in the hands of qualified professionals. They may use it as an anti-ageing treatment to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other lines.


What is Botox?


Botulinum toxin, often known as Botox for short, is what’s known as a “neurotoxic protein”, which means it can damage the nerves. In particular, Botox is capable of causing weakness and paralysis in your muscles. It is one of the most potent substances of its type in the world. The source of botulinum toxin is Clostridium botulinum, which is a type of bacteria. Despite this, Botox has various medical and cosmetic uses and, as such, is available as a prescribed substance.


What are the benefits?


As a muscle relaxant, Botox has been used to treat muscle overactivity, such as spasms, in conditions including cerebral palsy. Other uses include the management of certain types of headaches, and treatment of excess sweating. It may be most famous, however, as a cosmetic procedure.


The cosmetic use of Botox injections is generally regarded as safe, effective and minimally invasive. It can relax the face muscles and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, frown lines, crow’s feet and signs of ageing so your face looks smoother and younger.


How do Botox injections work?


First you will need a full consultation with a professional to ensure Botox is the best approach for you, and to ensure there are no contraindications. If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, a numbing cream is applied to the area to minimise pain and discomfort. Botox can be injected in different parts of the face, most often around the forehead and between the eyebrows, but also around the outside of the eyebrows and even closer to the lips. 


Generally, this process is relatively quick and simple, but it will usually take at least a few days before you see the initial results. During the first 24 hours, you should avoid putting pressure on the area or over-exerting yourself. Within two weeks, you should be able to observe the full benefits of the procedure. Results may last for a few months, but responses may vary between patients. Botox does not remove wrinkles completely, only minimises them, and the effects are not permanent.


Are there any risks?


For most people, as long as you have a fully trained clinician who follows proper safety and hygiene practices, Botox is not dangerous. The most likely side effects are those experienced with any injection, such as redness and soreness around the injection site. You may also experience some increased muscle weakness in the area that lasts for a day or two. There are some people, such as those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, those who have neuromuscular disorders, or who are on certain medications, who should not receive injections of Botox.


If you are not in a contraindicated group, then Botox can offer a safe and effective way to reduce the visibility of wrinkles and other lines across your face. The effects of this treatment are not permanent, but may last for months, rejuvenating your appearance.