A. Jane, thank you for asking this question. I would love to put this common misconception to rest. Botox (and its competitors Dysport® and Xeomin®) are neither snake venom, nor rat poison, nor will they cause you to get food poisoning. As a medical professional, we ethically could not and would not ever want to do anything to harm our patients by injecting them with “poison.”
Botox is actually a protein that is extracted from a naturally occurring bacteria and then purified according to strict pharmaceutical regulations. It is similar to the concept of how penicillin comes from mold. It does not mean it is mold just in the same way that Botox is not botulism. It is that purified protein that helps relax your muscles that cause frown lines, forehead lines and crow’s feet. Keep in mind that Botox does not actually get rid of your wrinkles. It helps soften them and keeps them from getting any deeper. Over time, your body will fill those lines back in with collagen for a smooth appearance.
Botox is one of the safest and most studied drugs in the world. It has been approved for medical use for more than 20 years. It was approved by the FDA for cosmetic use to treat wrinkles in 2002. The medication is also used to treat cerebral palsy, overactive bladder, migraines, lazy eye, excessive sweating and even tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, Botox was the No. 1 most popular non-surgical procedure in 2012 with 6.1 million Botox treatments performed.
As with all medications, if used incorrectly they can cause harm. It is imperative that you receive your Botox treatment from an experienced health care professional. They know the proper places to put the injection as well as the correct dosage of medication to ensure it looks natural. This is not the time to try a do-it-yourself project over the Internet. Any horror stories you may read online regarding Botox most likely come from counterfeit Botox and unlicensed injectors. Jane, if you have any questions about wrinkle relaxers like Botox, be sure to talk with a skilled and certified practitioner who can calm your fears. If you decide that Botox is the right option for you, you will be on your way to fewer wrinkles in no time.
Jennifer Kauffman is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner, practicing in Warsaw and Ft. Wayne. She is a sought after speaker at medical conferences such as the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons. Jennifer is a member of American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and Coalition of Advance Practice Nurses of Indiana. She received her Nursing and Nurse Practitioner degrees from Goshen College, and Indiana Wesleyan University. Jennifer is a Clinical Instructor nationally to physicians and nurses on sclerotherapy.
Do you have a question for Jennifer, about this article or another cosmetic skin care issue? Please call Vein Institute & Medical Spa at 574-267-1900 to have your questions answered and considered for future columns. Questions can also be submitted online at www.veinmedicalspa.com