Beauty, appearance and looks are aspects that people worry a great deal about in today’s society. Irrespective of gender, age or culture, good looks have become a trait that determines the survival of the fittest. While there are numerous ways in which one could look good, administering Botox tops the list. Botox is a medication used as a local injection and a protein produced by the Clostridium Botulinum bacteria. This was identified back in 1820 and in 1987, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, approved its medical usage in the USA. From there on, this medication was used in various fields, in more than 20 medical indications from cosmetics to neurology, ophthalmology and many others. Speaking to the Mirror Health Capsule, Dr. Chameera Bandara, Eye Plastic Surgeon (Oculoplasty) at the Colombo Eye Hospital elaborated on the action of Botox, its uses as well as side-effects.
Q Could you elaborate on the action of Botox?
Botox brings about relaxation of muscles and helps in reducing the over-secretion of products in certain glands including tear and sweat glands. Therefore Botox is used to relax overactive muscles.
Q For what purposes is it used?
Botox is used for cosmetic purposes and widely used for non-cosmetic reasons to treat diseases with facial spasms, involuntary movements in limbs, deformities due to stroke, muscle problems or cerebral palsy, migraines, some genito-urinary problems and many more.
In terms of cosmetic purposes, Botox is mainly used to treat facial wrinkles and is also used to reshape selected facial features. Facial wrinkles are most prominent around the eyes. Wrinkles form because muscles in the face are constantly used to create facial expressions. Certain facial expressions bring about dynamic wrinkles, seen in young or middle aged people. These dynamic wrinkles eventually become static wrinkles in elderly people due to constant muscle activity and due to loss of the skin’s elasticity. Once static wrinkles develop, its difficult to get rid of them. Therefore wrinkles are best treated in their dynamic stage and this can be achieved easily by relaxing relevant facial muscles using Botox. Botox is also used for reshaping purposes in the case of fine shaping the eyelids, brows and lips and for other requirements in the upper and lower face.
Q How effective is this injection?
The action of Botox is not permanent and will last for about four to six months. After this time, the facelifts that have been done gradually return to their previous state and then re-injection of Botox needs to be considered.
Q In Sri Lanka for what purpose(s) is (are) Botox used and what is the likelihood that someone would use it for cosmetic purposes?
Botox is widely used for medical purposes and the disadvantage is that it is expensive. Since its effectiveness is limited to a certain duration it has to be administered repeatedly. People don’t have much knowledge about this injection but in urban areas there’s an increasing tendency for people to take Botox to enhance their looks. Due to the lack of awareness of local availability, people tend to go abroad and get the treatment.
Q What are the side-effects one could experience when using Botox?
There are no serious side-effects as long it is injected to the right place in right dosage. Therefore, if Botox is injected into a wrong muscle, there will be side-effects but they will never be permanent.
Another important fact that I should mention is that Botox cannot be purchased over the counter and should be administered by a medical professional.
Botox is used for children as well so people don’t have to have fear using it.