What Does Botox Do To Your Body?
We’ve all seen and heard the word Botox, seemingly on a daily basis these days. Plastered on magazines, discussed on TV talk shows, promoted in ads: a medical brand name, it has become almost as ubiquitous in popular culture as Tylenol or Penicillin.
Once a mysterious and coveted cosmetic solution that was seemingly limited to the realm of the rich and famous, Botox is now both accessible to and used by by a much wider base of consumers. Given its origins as a medical-grade miracle for certain cosmetic concerns – namely, the prevention and even treatment of facial wrinkles – Botox is used today to treat many more conditions.
From Raynaud’s disease to spastic limb disorders, Botox can provide a number of medical solutions. This wide range of uses is due to the way that Botox works in the body.
Origins of Botox
Perhaps surprisingly, Botox is formulated from a deadly neurotoxin called Botulinum toxin. This noxious contaminant is the very same one that creates botulism in contaminated foods, a condition that affects around 1,000 people in the United States alone each year. But what could botulism and Botox possibly have in common, and why is a form of this toxin used in medicine?
Both botulism and Botox find their origins in a naturally occurring bacteria that is present in nature all around us. From the soil to the seas and the creatures that inhabit them, C. botulinum can be found nearly everywhere. A pervasive and largely harmless bacteria, C. botulinum is not dangerous in its own right; it is only when it begins to grow and evolve that it can start to give off Botulinum toxin.
Effects of Botox on the Body
The Botulinum toxin is dangerous because of the way it works in the body. A neurotoxin, it is essentially a poison that confuses the signals that the brain sends via the central nervous system. Essentially blocking the nerves from telling the muscles to move, Botulinum toxin paralyzes the muscles controlled by the affected nerves. While it is not permanent, large amounts of this toxin spread throughout the body can completely paralyze the whole body and its systems for long enough to cause severe symptoms and even death.
While this may sound frightening, it is important to remember that these effects are what can occur when large, uncontrolled amounts of the toxin are consumed orally and allowed to have a systemic effect on the body as a whole. This happens when one unwittingly consumes contaminated food, for example, as in cases of botulism poisoning.
In medical use, Botulinum toxin is very carefully measured, diluted, and injected in such a way as to prevent this kind of systemic infection. In the areas in which it is applied, it has the same effect as it does systemically, but in this case targeted to problems that require solution, such as wrinkles caused by a constantly furrowed brow or eyelids that continue to twitch unbidden.
When seeking Botox treatment, be sure to work with an experienced, licensed professional, and preferably one who has references you can access. Dangerous in the hands of those who don’t have extensive training, it can be perfectly safe and effective when used by those who have the credentials to apply it.