by Dr Daniel Sister

Botulinum Toxin, to give it its scientific name, has become so widely used that it has entered the mainstream vocabulary under the generic name of Botox.

The first use of it was described in 1970 when doctors applied it selectively to over-active muscles around the eyes in patients who suffered from strabismus (crossed eyes condition). While Botulinum Toxin temporarily weakens the muscles, it doesn’t work directly on the muscle but on the neural conduction of the muscle. A collateral benefit was noticed during its application – the fine lines around the eye faded away.

Further tests on patients were carried out in the USA to ensure that Botox was safe before it crossed over from having a purely medical to a cosmetic application. To begin with, this application was for the purpose of relaxing the frown line. Further studies confirmed that Botox was safe and effective for treating the peri-orbital lines, commonly known as crow’s feet and the forehead as a whole, which made us realise that it would on every muscle, anywhere.

Today, there are more than 60 medical indications for using Botulin toxin (including excessive sweating) that are FDA approved, turning it into a real game changer.

Millions of patients are routinely treated and, through trial and error, cosmetic doctors have been able to fine tune the application and achieve a more natural look rather than erase every line.

So, what are the various Botox applications to correct aesthetic imperfections?

The human face has a full spectrum of expressions because it has a lot of different muscles. When we smile, we form lines not only around the eyes, but around, or on the nose too. Both can be successfully treated with Botox. Not only that, injecting a small amount just under the tip of the nose would raise it and make it look straighter.

Injecting the outside of the nostrils, would eliminate flaring, making the nose look thinner and at the same time it would soften the nasolabial fold (normally treated with a dermo-filler).

Injecting Botox into sagging mouth corners would restore a more smiley appearance. Tense and wrinkly necks can also benefit from Botox : injecting the platysma bands would make the neck flater.

Botox can also improve skin quality: very small and superficially injected amounts would arrest the over-production of sebum and reduce or completely eliminate acne (obviously if there is an underlying cause ie hormonal it would still have to be treated).

Botox injections into a wrinkly chin would give it a softer look.

The tell tale upper lip vertical lines that appear with ageing or due to regular smoking can be erased if injected with a tiny drop of Botox – as can a gummy line (showing too much gum when smiling).

In fact, Botox can subtly change the aesthetic of the face, so long as it is properly used to achieve a result that is as natural as possible.

It is a very easy, simple and fast procedure with not one single serious side effect recorded since it entered into a mainstream application.

Combining it with other cosmetic treatments such as laser, fillers, peeling and/or surgery is something many patients explore with their physician for optimum tailored results.

In fact other indications coming more and more popular are:

Migraine, morning headache, toothaches, aching muscles, jaw and neck pain, square face..

Tooth grinding and clenching of your teeth can have severe consequences..

Grinding and clenching of your teeth, known medically as bruxism, involves some of your most powerful muscles (masseters). Most people grind and/or clench their teeth every now and then. Sleep bruxism can be extremely damaging as studies show patients can exert 20% more pressure than whilst awake.

With repeated contraction, these muscles become painful, and the forces generated cause tooth wear, pain to the surrounding tissues, joints and other muscles.

As well as tooth surface wear, muscles can become highly developed and bulging giving an appearance of square face.

Botulinum toxin injections would stop the masseters to contract as much, and the result will be a relief on all pain symptoms, protecting the teeth and even giving an appearance of more shapely lower face as well as a lifting effect.

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