With the Oscars coming up in a week, this is a good time to talk about Botox, the famed wrinkle eraser that has quite a following in Hollywood…and everywhere else for that matter! Botox is truly one of the world’s most famous brand names, right up there with Coke and Xerox.
But there is still some misunderstanding about how Botox does its thing, along with some fear because of what this injectable is made from. Since Botox is a popular item at Dr. Hetzler’s, let’s give you some information on how it works and on what kind of wrinkles it can be used.
What is Botox?
Botox is made basically from the botulinum toxin type A. These are the same bacteria that cause botulism, which sounds incredibly scary. But in the 1950s doctors discovered that when the botulinum toxin was injected in minute doses into a muscle, it had the interesting effect of temporarily paralyzing that muscle. No botulism. No permanent damage. It just stopped the muscle from contracting for a period.
How does it do that?
The question was — how does it do that? Botox is classified as a neuromodulator. It gets the “neuro” part because it affects the signals sent to the brain. Botox blocks the messages sent from the nerves in the injected muscle to the brain. When the messages are blocked, the brain never gets the word to contract the muscle, so the muscle stays at rest.
So, what does this have to do with wrinkles? Certain wrinkles, called dynamic wrinkles, form due to a muscle contraction beneath the skin. When we make many common expressions such as smiling, frowning, squinting, and laughing, we engage the muscles on the upper third of the face. Try it. Frown and feel the muscles in your forehead engage. Over time, making these repeated expressions, coupled with the skin losing elasticity as we age, leads to wrinkles forming when we contract those muscles on the upper third of the face. You can see where this is going. If you stop the muscle from contracting, the wrinkle it creates on the skin’s surface won’t form. Voila, the essence of Botox.
Not on all wrinkles
Botox only works on wrinkles formed by muscle contractions, however. It does not affect the other type of wrinkles, called static wrinkles. These are the wrinkles that show themselves on the skin at all times. You can think of them like the wrinkles on a shirt. They are caused by sun and environmental damage, personal habits such as smoking, and the natural effects of aging on the skin. Static wrinkles need to be filled from beneath with a dermal filler such as Juvéderm.
OK, so you passed Botox 101. The question is, could you use a little of its magic on your crow’s feet, the 11s between your brows, or forehead wrinkles? Call Dr. Hetzler at (732) 219-0447 to make your appointment.