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Botox is a purified protein made from botulism toxin. The protein is commonly used in cosmetic procedures to diminish signs of aging such as frown lines or laughter lines. In 2017, US adults had 7.23 million Botox procedures. That was a 2% increase on the previous year. That makes Botox the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment.
Botox treatment works by preventing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from sending signals from nerves cells to muscles. The result is that the muscles become less stiff in areas where Botox has been injected. This, in turn, reduces the effects of fine lines and wrinkles on the face.
A typical Botox procedure will last around 10-20 minutes. The clinician will perform a series of injections into the patient’s face. The most commonly treated areas are the laughter lines around the eyes and the frown lines between the brows. Results vary, but typically last for 3-4 months. Preliminary research suggests that Botox treatments may reduce the further development of wrinkles in these areas.
In addition to Botox’s popularity for cosmetic treatments, not many people are aware that Botox also has a number of other medical uses. These include blepharospasm, which is a condition that causes uncomfortable spasms in the eyelids, chronic migraines, severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis, which is a condition that causes excessive sweating, and crossed eyes. In some cases, Botox can also be used to treat overactive bladder, sialorrhea, a condition which causes excessive production of saliva, and cerebral palsy. People can find out more about Botox and its uses by consulting a dermatologist who specializes in cosmetic procedures.