Is Botox toxic? Is it possible for Botox to permanently “freeze” my face? How much research has actually been done on Botox?
All of these are important questions that you should be asking. However, all of them have very promising answers for those who are considering Botox treatments. Today we’re going to be addressing the top 3 most common myths about Botox and outlining why Botox is safe, effective, and well researched.
Myth #1: Botox is Toxic
Just because the sound “tox” is in something, doesn’t mean it’s deadly and dangerous for humans. We understand the reaction…but it’s simply not true. In fact, we’re willing to bet that most of the claims that “botox is toxic” simply stems from word association. The general public most likely assumes that because both words contain “tox”, they’re deadly. Perhaps outlining how Botox got it’s name would help ease some of the tension.
The name “Botox” is an abbreviation of the word Botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxins are proteins and, in their natural state, are produced by a specific type of bacteria. However, please don’t believe that scientists are simply extracting this neurotoxin and directly injecting it into patients. From the time Botulinum toxin is extracted, it undergoes a large variety of procedures and preparations to make it safe for human use. The effects of the Botulinum toxin proteins are a micro chasm (much more diluted and weakened version) of their effects in natural environments.
The reality is, the FDA approved Botox for therapeutic use back in 1989 and since then, it has been safely administered to countless patients.
Myth #2: Botox Will Prevent Me From Being Able to Make Facial Expressions.
Facial expressions are a very important part of communication. We often choose our friends, partners, actors, and comedians off of facial expressions. It’s the non-verbal element which actually accounts for 80% of human interaction. We completely understand the fear behind losing the ability to control facial expressions. However, this is not a risk you need to be concerned with.
Botulinum toxin works by blocking nerves in the face that cause muscles to contract which ultimately leads to wrinkle formation. Much like other treatments, the success of the injection comes down to initial dosage, pre-disposition (quantity/severity of wrinkle formation), and how long your injection lasts.
The myth that botox injections could paralyze your face forever is simply not true. Paralysis occurs when your nerve cells die/degenerate and lose their ability to send signals (spinal cord injuries, nerve disorders, etc.). Keep in mind that Botox injections are not altering the function of your nerve cells. That is to say, your nerves are still firing signals at the same rate as before, we haven’t altered that ability. We are simply blocking those signals from carrying out the response.
When you shut off a light switch, the room goes dark. But that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the electricity running through out your entire house. You’re switching a circuit off so that the room doesn’t stay lit. That’s the same thing we’re doing with Botox. You can always turn the switch back on.
Myth #3: Botox is Only Used to “Make People Prettier”
Contrary to popular belief, Botox was actually first used as a treatment for an ailment called strabismus, which effects the function of eye muscles. It’s also used for Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) dysfunction, and neck/back pain. The reason these medical applications are overlooked is they’re not “flashy”. We often hear about celebrities, models, friends that get Botox for aesthetic purposes (which is their decision to make and should be supported). But let’s not let Hollywood to change our perception of Botox and let its other applications get lost in the weeds.
Hopefully this article helps those of you who are considering Botox treatments, but are discouraged by some of the myths you’ve heard. It’s smart to have reservations. It means you actually consider all of the outcomes before you try something and dive head first into a treatment. Just make sure that you’re taking in information from all sources, not just the ones with flashy tags. If you have any concerns please consult your primary care physician and make sure you’re getting advice from licensed medical professionals!