10 myths about the treatment and effect of botolinum toxin

Botolinum toxin or Botox is a proven active ingredient successfully used in aesthetic medicine to treat minor facial wrinkles (expression lines). Originally used as a drug in neurology, Botox injections have been among the standard procedures for dermatological wrinkle reduction for a good thirty years.

Thus, the popular opinion that “Botox – a snake venom” is not correct. In reference to the name of the first drug, which contained botulinum as the active ingredient, the term “Botox treatment” is used as an umbrella term for all treatments with this active ingredient. Medicine has been using this biologically produced protein in a wide variety of areas since the 1980s.

The use of botulinum toxin became known as a preparation against disturbing expression lines such as the frown line and crow’s feet, as well as for excessive sweating under the arms. Thus, photos circulate in the media again and again on which (intentionally or unintentionally) strong effects of the botolinum toxin can be seen. This scares off many people. However, what gets lost next to these “shock pictures” are the pictures of all those who have achieved the desired improvement after treatment.

What is botolinum toxin and how does it work?

What is botolinum toxin, and how does it work?Botolinum toxin is a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Its effect is based on an inhibition of the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This is important for signal transmission between nerve cells. This inhibition leads, among other things, to a reduction in muscle contractions.

Despite the toxic effect of botolinum toxin, physicians use it – in small doses – specifically for therapeutic purposes. This requires injection into the skin or muscle. Oral ingestion or injection into the bloodstream would lead to symptoms of poisoning. Botolinum toxin has a relaxing effect on the muscles in the case of uncontrolled muscle spasms, movement disorders or disorders of the bladder muscles.

In aesthetic medicine, botolinum toxin leads to the reduction of expression lines. The effect here is also based on a reduction in the contractions of the facial muscles, which are the main triggers for the formation of expression lines. Botolinum toxin is injected under the skin with the help of thin needles. This means that the treatment is not completely painless.

However, most patients do not feel pain during the treatment, but only a pinching sensation that lasts only a short time. Botolinum toxin is used to prevent dynamic wrinkling. As already mentioned, this does not include natural skin aging processes. But also against these static Wrinkles can be used with Fillers remedy can be achieved. Botolinum toxin treatments are for anyone who wants to perform wrinkle treatment.

This is just as true for those who want to look less severe as it is for those who want to give their appearance a new freshness. Botolinum toxin always shows an effect on expression lines. However, it is possible to start botolinum toxin treatments before the first wrinkles appear, in order to prevent wrinkles from appearing and to avoid certain muscle movements in the first place.

Ten myths about botolinum toxin

There are numerous myths surrounding the use of Botox, its effects and possible side effects. But very few of them stand up to closer scrutiny. We have investigated the ten most common claims about botulinum toxin for you.

In the following, we reveal to you which of them contain a kernel of truth and which Botox myths you can safely ignore. You want to know exactly? Scientific facts on the subject of treatment with botolinum toxin can also be found on the website of the German Society for Aesthetic Botulinum and Filler Therapy e. V.

Myth 1: Botox can damage the liver

Local application prevents the active ingredient from entering the systemic circulation. Instead, your doctor injects it directly into the muscle of the facial area to be treated. Botox takes effect there, but is not transported to other parts of the body. After a few months, the body’s own enzymes have completely deactivated the botolinum toxin, but it is not broken down by the liver or kidneys. Damage to the liver by Botox is not possible.

Myth 2: Botolinum toxin use causes facial paralysis symptoms.

Whether or not a botolinum toxin injection produces the desired effect depends primarily on the experience of the practitioner. If the dosage and application are correct, no paralytic effects are to be feared.

The Botox preparation then acts only on the exact muscles where an effect is desired. The remaining facial muscles retain their full function. Facial paralysis symptoms occur primarily with intentional, very strong doses, but these are not common in Europe.

Myth 3: Botox can damage the brain

There is no evidence that botolinum toxin injections can cause damage to the brain. The reason is simple: botox does not enter the bloodstream and cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. Botolinum toxin has also been under scientific investigation for a long time due to its toxic effects. For the known forms of application, one can assume a high level of safety and tolerability.

Myth 4: Botolinum toxin is dangerous because it is toxic

Myth 4: Botolinum toxin is dangerous because it is toxicIt is true that the substance botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin. In fact, it was developed as a neurotoxin to specifically harm people. Used correctly, however, it is harmless as a medical agent. Trained doctors know the exact dosage, which means that a treatment is neither dangerous nor poisonous. If it enters the bloodstream, it causes severe damage in its pure form.

However, botulinum toxin approved for medical use is only available in very strong dilutions. To achieve a toxic effect with it, very high overdoses would have to be used. Therapeutically, botolinum toxin is also used only for injection into the skin or muscle. It does not distribute itself in the body and therefore cannot have any systemic effects.

Myth 5: Treatment with botolinum toxin can lead to blindness

Botox injection into the muscles around the eye works only there. There is no possibility that it could lead to blindness. The ability to see does not depend on the eye muscles. However, a change in the position of the eyebrow – sometimes desired – is possible, but this has no effect on vision.

If the injection of Botox takes place too close to the eye, it may partially enter the eye socket. This would cause a temporary weakening of the eye muscles. As a result, the perception of double vision or strabismus would be possible, but this also disappears as the effect wears off.

Myth 6: Botolinum toxin leads to rigid facial expressions

As with the supposed paralysis symptoms, the same applies here: The experience of the practitioner counts! A targeted injection into the region to be treated does not normally cause any noticeable change in facial expression. The feared mask-like facial expression is usually a result of too high a dosage of the active ingredient. This type of treatment is usually done at the express wish of the patient.

It is uncommon in Europe. The nerve toxin botolinum toxin (botolinum for short) can be used exclusively to treat expression lines, i.e. wrinkles that appear due to muscle tension (as opposed to hat-aging wrinkles). In this respect, the entire face is not usually treated, but only individual areas of the muscles. In this way, a natural movement of the facial muscles can be maintained without causing the face to stiffen.

Myth 7: Botox helps in the treatment of headaches

Botox is not normally suitable for the treatment of headaches. However, it is a treatment option for tension headaches and chronic migraines in exceptional cases. This is mainly the case when other medications have not brought good treatment success.

If your treating physician advocates a treatment trial with botulinum toxin, he or she injects the drug into various muscles of the neck and head. This reduces overexcitation of the cranial nerves, which is thought to be the cause of chronic migraines. Botulinum toxin can prevent migraine attacks, but not treat them acutely.

Myth 8: After botolinum toxin injection, patients can no longer laugh properly

Myth 8: After botolinum toxin injection, patients can no longer laugh properlyEven after a Botox injection, your facial muscles remain sufficiently mobile. So you don’t need to worry that your laughter will no longer be recognizable to the person you are talking to.

Only immediately after an injection in the lip area and for a few days afterwards, your smile may be somewhat limited by swelling. However, this side effect usually passes within a short time. Due to the desired effect of muscle relaxation, there is no lasting restriction of facial expression.

Myth 9: Botox injections can be addictive

Botolinum toxin has no pharmacological addictive potential and therefore does not lead to physical or psychological dependence. However, the desire for aesthetic procedures and improvement of appearance can become a kind of addictive behavior.

Especially when the effect of aesthetic treatments wears off after some time, the desire for touch-up is strong in some patients. If you want to repeat aesthetic procedures more often than recommended by your doctor, this may be an indication of addictive behavior. It is best to address the problem directly.

Your health care provider may provide you with contacts who can offer assistance with indications of addictive behaviors. If you do not refresh botolinum toxin treatments, the wrinkles will regress to their old, original state. In this respect, the wrinkles do not increase, but the skin-smoothing effect of botolinum toxin does not occur.

Myth 10: Botolinum toxin can also be used to treat excessive sweating

For once, this is a fact. Botox injections are indeed suitable for the treatment of so-called hyperhidrosis, i.e. increased sweating. However, before this treatment, a specialist should clarify the cause of the increased sweating. Many different causes can be considered for hyperhidrosis. The treatment options are correspondingly diverse. Botolinum toxin is not the best option in every case.

We will be happy to advise you about the treatment options

We will gladly advise you about the treatment optionsDepending on where you are located, people with different training and equipment may perform botolinum toxin treatments. However, if a good and safe result is important to you, you should definitely consult a specially trained doctor to avoid any risks. Are you interested in a treatment with botolinum toxin or another aesthetic medical service? Inform yourself on our homepage about our treatment successes and make your consultation appointment!