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Botox: The Fountain of Youth?

Aug 17, 2007
Yes, your favorite Hollywood star just got herself a botox treatment again. And from the looks of it, she's sporting a face ten years younger it actually is. With results like these, how can people ignore botox any longer?

Botox is the cosmetic treatment of choice for most of today's beauty conscious individuals. Due to its incessant popularity, plastic surgery and other 'bloody' treatments available are steadily being outhustled by botox. Botox's tagline reads :safe, fast, and effective - more often than not, it lives up to its promise.

The most attractive thing about botox is that its effects show relatively quick and are sometimes so dramatic, people can't believe their eyes. Botox treatments are fast. They last about ten minutes. They are also easily administered through multiple injections around the face. After treatment, the effects of botox will last about 6 months. These factors add to its growing popularity.

In fact, botox injections are so popular that in 2001 1.6 million people underwent treatment for their faces. This is a steep increase of 46 percent as compared to 2000. People are now calling botox the ultimate fountain of youth.

But what is botox, anyway? Some sort of medicine? An operation? Some ancient herbal secret?

The truth is, botox is a poison.

Botulinum Toxin Type A (the scientific name of botox) is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is a protein complex that produces a toxin that causes food poisoning.

The botulinum toxin, when given in a medical, injectible form, blocks the release of the chemical acetylcholine by nerve cells. Acetylecholine is the chemical that signals muscle contraction.

As an injected treatment for wrinkles, botox selectively paralyzes some of the underlying muscles in the face. This leads to a smoothing out of wrinkles, and lines making the face look younger.

Botox, as a medical treatment, was first approved for use in 1989 to treat eye muscle disorders. In 2000, it was approved to treat neurological disorders that affected the back and neck muscles. The researchers noticed, however, that these treatments had a desirable side effect - the patients' face seemed to look younger due to the muscle paralyzing effect of botox. This lead to its development as a cosmetic treatment.

Botox is not without its side-effects (It's ironic though, since Botox as a treatment for wrinkles started out as a side effect.). The treatment may cause headaches, and flu-like symptoms. The patient may also suffer from droopy eyelids, facial pain, minor inflammation and vomiting.

Those who wish to undergo botox treatment should, however, make sure that the person who does the procedure is a qualifed doctor. That doctor should also be qualified in cosmetic treatment. Patients will also be advised to avoid alcohol for a few hours. They may be asked to remain in an upright position too.

You may be wondering if it is possible to contract botulism or food poisoning symptoms from cosmetic botox treatments. The answer to that is no. The medical form of botox does not carry significant risk of poisoning a person. However, if too much botox is used during a treatment, it may cause drooping eyelid muscles and a generally flappy facial appearance. This may also happen if the injection is made in the wrong spot.

Ah, yes, vanity, vanity. But at least it's safe. Botox looks to be the cosmetic treatment of the next generation. And into that generation, even those who are aging will look like they have found the fountain of youth.
About the Author
James Monahan is the owner and senior editor of
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