Botox has been around for decades and has been used to treat things like involuntary eyelid spasms and TMJ symptoms. But it was 2002 when Botox became a rock star. That was the year the FDA approved Botox for the cosmetic treatment of wrinkles and lines. Now, everyone knows the name Botox. Really, Botox is more famous than many of the famous faces in Hollywood who use it to keep some of the signs of aging at bay.
Why all the adoration? Because Botox works, pure and simple. Botox is the master of what are called dynamic wrinkles, wrinkles that are formed by muscle contractions. Dynamic wrinkles are things like crow’s feet, frown lines, stuff like that. But Botox is not the king, it’s not even royalty, when it comes to static wrinkles. These are wrinkles that are there all the time and are caused by sun exposure, dry climates, and general aging of the skin. Botox has no effect on static wrinkles. Living in a dry climate like Bend, at Deschutes Dermatology we see plenty of both types of wrinkles.
So, how does Botox work on dynamic wrinkles?
Botox is called a neurotoxin. It is actually made from the botulinum toxin type A. This is the same bacteria that cause botulism. That sounds scary, but it’s not. Why? Because decades ago, scientists discovered that the botulinum toxin, when used in very small amounts, can actually temporarily paralyze a muscle. It does this by blocking the signals from the nerve to the brain. Without those messages, the brain doesn’t tell the muscle to contract.
When you perform a repeated behavior such as squinting, muscles contract, particularly those around the eyes. Over time as your skin ages, these contractions cause wrinkles to show on the skin surface when those muscles contract. Botox blocks those muscles from contracting, so the wrinkles either disappear or are dramatically reduced.
When opting to have Botox injections, however, it is important to choose an injector thoroughly versed in facial anatomy, such as Dr. Carter or Nurse Trapnell, because Botox injected into the wrong muscle or injecting too much Botox can create problems such as a droopy eyelid.
Botox results generally last around four months. At that point, the muscles will start contracting again and the wrinkles will return. That’s when it is time to schedule another Botox session with Deschutes to maintain your results. Give us a call at 541-330-0900 to schedule your appointment.