May 4, 2009

Botulinum Toxin (Botox)

Botulinum Toxin (Botox)

Botox is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum. Small, diluted amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles causing controlled weakening of the muscles. Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften. It is most often used on forehead lines, crow's feet (lines around the eye) and frown lines.

The procedure takes only a few minutes and no anesthesia is required. Botox is injected with a fine needle into specific muscles with only minor discomfort. It generally takes three to seven days to take full effect and it is best to avoid alcohol at least one week prior to treatment. Aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications should be stopped two weeks before treatment as well in order to reduce bruising.

The effects from Botox will last four to six months. As muscle action gradually returns, the lines and wrinkles begin to re-appear and wrinkles need to be re-treated. The lines and wrinkles often appear less severe with time because the muscles are being trained to relax.

Since Botox doesn't work for all wrinkles, a consultation with a certified specialist is recommended.

Apart from wrinkles, research has shown that Botox may also help people plagued by an excessive sweating disorder.

The condition, hyperhydrosis, results in sweating that exceeds the normal amount required to maintain a consistent body temperature. People with this common disorder produce up to four times the sweat of average people, and find themselves sweating even during the dead of winter.

Studies have shown that repeated treatment with Botox (botulinum toxin type A) for severe underarm sweating significantly reduced the amount of sweat produced.

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