By Suzie Horn
Let’s play a quick word association game. When I say “Botox,” what’s the first thing that pops into your head? The vast majority of people probably think “wrinkle remover” — and for good reason!
Botox is one of the most effective ways to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It’s been used for years with proven results, and has even become part of pop culture, with features on shows like Modern Family. You may also be surprised to know that Botox actually has other potential cosmetic and medical applications beyond just wrinkle reduction? This incredibly versatile treatment can be used in a variety of ways to keep you looking youthful for years to come.
BOTOX Cosmetic is a neurotoxin (known scientifically as botulinum toxin type A) that relaxes and weakens the facial muscles that lead to the formation of wrinkles. By injecting very small amounts of heavily diluted toxin into your tissue, we can ease the tension in the muscles that cause wrinkles, allowing them to relax. This yields a number of remarkable results leading to a more youthful-looking appearance:
- Crow’s Feet No More
This is probably the use that Botox is best known for. Crow’s feet, or smile lines, are caused when muscles tense up and the facial skin folds at the corners of the eyes. Botox weakens these muscles so that they don’t activate when you smile. The skin around your eyes is free to be relaxed and smooth and the wrinkles around your eyes will start to fade in just a few days.
- Stop Sweat Cold
This is actually one of the original uses for Botox (see later down for the very first, very surprising use), but it might make you say, “Huh?” It turns out that Botox actually blocks the release of acetylcholine, the chemical that’s responsible for kicking the sweat glands into gear. Injecting Botox under the arms completely stops the production of underarm sweat. Not a bad result if you live somewhere insanely hot — like, say, Florida!
- Eliminate Frown Lines
When you’re really concentrating, do you furrow your brow? It’s a very common expression, and one that can permanently remain on your face as the years go by. Once those wrinkles start to form, they can become deeper and more prominent every year. Botox can weaken the muscles that cause this brow furrow, very similar to the way that it helps to eliminate crow’s feet.
They say that nothing ages you like stress. For those of us who suffer from migraine headaches, there are few things more stressful than the pain and nausea of a migraine that can strike at any time. Six years ago, the FDA approved the use of Botox to treat chronic migraines by injecting it into areas of high tension like the temples, shoulders, neck and forehead. By reducing this muscular tension, Botox helps stop that building pain before it even starts.
One of the leading causes of incontinence is an overactive bladder. Muscle spasms can cause contractions, and these can cause… well, embarrassment. Botox does its usual fantastic job of selectively weakening the muscles where it’s injected, allowing the bladder to hold more, without the spasms that cause urinary incontinence.
- Crossed Eyes (Strabismus) and Uncontrolled Muscle Spasms
Using Botox to treat crossed eyes might sound strange, but it actually makes complete sense. This was actually the very first use of Botox in the 1970s along with treating uncontrolled facial muscle spasms. By injecting Botox into certain areas of the face, Botox can weaken the muscles that cause crossed eyes or weaken muscles that contract and spasm. It’s the exact same principle as the treatment of wrinkles, just in a different application and for a very different effect.
Botox is considered by many people to be a wonder treatment, and with so many potential uses, you can really see why! From eliminating wrinkles to treating medical conditions, Botox has become an accepted treatment that nearly anyone can receive.