Benefits of Botox

Uses and benefits of Botox™ that may surprise you

Botox™ is a molecule that is well-known and used worldwide for wrinkle reduction.

Let’s have a look first at how it works. When injected in miniscule amounts, the Botox™ molecule works in the neuromuscular junctions, and blocks signals between the peripheral nerve and the muscle where it is injected to give its effect. By blocking this signal, the movement of the underlying muscle is minimised and the skin above cannot wrinkle. The result produces smooth skin with a wrinkle-free appearance.

Wrinkles may be static (fixed) or dynamic (not fixed). As a person ages wrinkles move along the spectrum from dynamic to static to fixed. It is best to start treatment with Botox™ before wrinkles become static. Prevention is the cure to wrinkles!

Botox™ powder is mixed into a solution with saline and is then injected in common areas such as the frown lines, laughing lines (crow’s feet) and forehead wrinkles.

Recent studies have shown that Botox™ treatment not only causes a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles but may also have some long-term anti-aging benefits.

Botox™ stimulates dermal fibroblasts responsible for producing collagen. Fibroblasts are reduced in ageing skin. By stimulating these, Botox™ helps to turn back the clock. Dermal fibroblasts play an important role in skin remodeling and wound healing. Some studies have shown that Botox™ might even reduce hypertrophic scarring.

Botox™ has been reported to reduce facial asymmetry (e.g. post-traumatic facial injury), facial flushing and redness, oily skin and the appearance of enlarged pores. It has even been studied in cases where muscles are abnormally enlarged, for example with masseter muscle hypertrophy or temporalis muscle hypertrophy.

But did you know that there are numerous applications and uses for Botox™ other than the popular use for cosmetic purposes.

Here is a list of some (but not all) of the surprising ways in which this versatile little molecule can be applied:

  1. Hyperhidrosis (excess sweating)

Botox™ reduces sweat production by blocking the signal between the sweat glands and the nerves that supply the sweat glands. This barrier reduces the release of sweat appearing on the skin’s surface. People who have hyperhidrosis may become very distressed and therefore Botox™ is a great treatment option, especially for excess underarm sweating.

Bromhidrosis (malodourous sweat) may also be treated with Botox™ as it reduces the amount of sweat production.

  1. Pain reduction

Bruxism (teeth grinding) causes chronic headaches and long-term dental complications. This can be avoided by with Botox™ injections which reduce the strength of the muscular contractions that cause bruxism.

Botox™ is an accepted treatment for chronic migraine when other standard treatments have failed.

Botox™ has off-label uses in other chronic pain syndromes such as postherpetic neuralgia (pain experienced after herpes zoster infection).

Botox™ may also be indicated for chronic itch syndromes, e.g. brachioradial pruritis or burn-induced pruritis.

  1. Muscle spasms

Botox™ is indicated for use in strabismus, where overactive eye muscles are relaxed. It could also be used to treat muscular spasms in cerebral palsy patients, and also for blepharospasm (eyelid spasm) and hemifacial spasms. It can further be used to reduce headaches caused by neck muscle spasms.

  1. Depression

The antidepressant action of Botox™ has been studied and is thought to be due to the disruption of facial feedback that supports negative emotions. More studies are underway to include Botox™ as a treatment option for depression.

Botox™ injections need to be repeated on average every 4 to 6 months to maintain the desired effect. It is a safe and effective molecule when used properly in the correct hands.

References:

  1. Grando SA, Zachary CB. The non-neuronal and nonmuscular effects of botulinum toxin. British Journal of Dermatology (2018) 178, pp1011–1019.
  2. Jankovic J. Botulinum toxin in clinical practice. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2004; 75:951–957.
  3. Alster TS, Harrison IS. Alternative Clinical Indications of Botulinum Toxin. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. Published online: July 2020.
  4. Makunts T, Wollmer MA, Abagyan Postmarketing safety surveillance data reveals antidepressant effects of botulinum toxin across various indications and injection sites. Sci Rep. 2020
  5. Rizzoli M, MD. Does Botox reduce the frequency of chronic migraine? Harvard Health Blog. Published online 18 September 2019.