Botox Treatments: 5 Things You Might (NOT) Want to Know

Botox Face?

Serious Skin Care 101 with Rob Hardwicke, President and Product Master at Awakening Mineral Therapies.

Warning: If you’re going to get a Botox treatment anytime soon, you may not want to read this. I’m definitely not going to pull any punches here. On the other hand, I always try to offer alternatives in these articles – and there are few good ones here. So take courage, and read on!

1. It’s Poison

You can’t help but wonder if Botox, the wildly popular anti-wrinkle treatment, would be so successful if people actually knew what the word meant. It’s actually two words combined into one. “Botulinum toxin” with a few letters removed becomes “Botox.”

Botulinum toxin in the class of poisons called “neurotoxin proteins.” Basically, it paralyzes the muscles it comes in contact with. This makes it a potentially useful medical tool: conditions such as involuntary blinking, migraines, and jaw disorders have been treated with Botulinum toxin. In practice, however, there have been at over 1,500 hospitalizations and at least 30 deaths directly associated with the use of Botox in medical treatments.

This should come as no surprise, because Botulinum is considered to be one of the most lethal naturally occurring substances on earth. If you have the misfortune to come into contact with pure botulinum, they call it botulism, a condition that usually kills people by making the respiratory muscles seize up – that is, you stop breathing.

2. It was never intended to be a wrinkle treatment

Personally, I always thought the name “Botox,” regardless of its origins, was a pretty terrible choice. My instant association is “Clorox” (or if I’m feeling more chipper, “bow tie”). But if Botox is one of the less inspired names the pharmaceutical industry has ever conjured, this has not stopped the drug’s meteoric rise. Since its debut in 1989, Botox has been injected several million faces around the world, at about $500 a pop.

But Botox actually has more noble origins: in the 1950s, it was discovered that if spasming muscles were injected with tiny amounts of Botulinum toxin, the muscles would stop contracting for a period of months. It was first approved in 1989 as a treatment for two disorders of the eye muscles – uncontrollable blinking and misaligned eyes. Then in 2000, Botox was approved for the treatment of “cervical dystonia,” a neurological condition that causes acute contractions of the shoulders and neck.

However, doctors had already noticed that when Botox was used for eye muscle disorders, it had an interesting side effect: it diminished the lines between the eyebrows commonly referred to as “frown lines.” It took several years to do the proper studies and get FDA approval, but in April 2002, a new era in the anti-aging crusade was born, as Botox hit the market as a cosmetic treatment option for wrinkles. The rest, as they say, is history.

3. It only works on SOME kinds of wrinkles

Now, to be fair, cosmetic treatments using Botox (and Dysport or Myobloc – different brands, same poison) use a very diluted formulation of Botulinum toxin. These treatments consist of injections into the facial muscles responsible for creating “premature” (or as those of us with an aversion to marketing BS like to call them, “natural”) wrinkles.

How Botox Works

How Botox Works

It works by weakening a muscle associated with a particular facial line, in essence making it unable to contract. No muscle contraction, no more wrinkle – the skin becomes “smooth.” Sadly, the treatment is temporary. Its effects only last about 4 months. Which is excellent news for the doctors and drug makers, but bad news for your wallet. (And perhaps for your continued viability as a sentient being. We’ll get to that in a minute.)

One thing that most people don’t know about Botox, however, is that it DOES NOT work on the kind of wrinkles that happen naturally with age, as collagen breaks down. It only works on the lines that are associated with repetitive muscle use – like those lovely lines that form around your eyes when you laugh heartily (and yes, your “frown lines” too). In other words, many of the features that make your face YOURS and not someone else’s. Botox basically robs us of our individuality and makes us look like freakish mannequins.

4. It really is safe (maybe…)

There are two main reasons that such a questionable substance can remain in use, even with pretty clear evidence that it’s “unsafe at any speed.” First, the initial “preclinical” tests that Botox underwent showed that it did not travel to the brain. (This is now in question). It DID appear to make it into the bloodstream and lymph system, but hey – the lymph system is overrated anyway. All it does is unimportant stuff like producing immune cells. As long as it doesn’t get to the brain, we’re safe in the heroic fight against our facial expressions!

Second, obviously, is the maniacal demand and unhindered supply. Walk into any of 30 dermatology or plastic surgery practices in my mid-sized town and you can walk out 15 minutes later with a face shot full of poison. We’re all mad to avoid aging – to prove ourselves innocent, you might say, of the crime of growing old – and we’re willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve eternal youth.

5. It’s regulated (for something – I think)

The reason it’s so easy get Botox is that the FDA regulates products, but not the specific ways in which they’re used. So for example, even though the physiological process that enables Botox to work is very clear (i.e., it ONLY works on facial lines related to repetitive muscle use), some doctors still use it to treat OTHER kinds of facial wrinkles – ones they know perfectly well WILL NOT be helped by Botox. Why? Well, to be fair, many patients insist on the treatments even after being told they won’t get the results they’re looking for, because “Who knows?  Maybe it will help me look young again.” And doctors will do it because after all, it’s not like they’re REALLY deviating from the prescribed treatment (they’re still injecting it into people’s faces). It SHOULD be safe. And hey, at $500 for 10 minutes of work, can you blame ’em?

The problem is that, according to some experts, not only is the use of Botox for unapproved treatments risky, it has also set the stage for its rampant, unregulated use. “Botox is a prescription drug that should be administered by a qualified physician in an appropriate medical setting,” says Ella L. Toombs, M.D., a dermatologic medical officer in the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors. But the reality of its use is something unimaginable since the days of traveling snake oil salesmen. One curious (and scary) offshoot of the Botox business is what are called “Botox parties,” at which multiple patients congregate to help support each other through their anxiety (and to help practitioners offload the Botox they can buy in bulk at discounted rates).

And although we’re told that you can’t contract botulism from Botox injections, there are still pretty serious risks. For example, if too much Botox is injected, or if it’s injected in the wrong place, you can end up with “droopy eyelids” which can last as long as a month. And of course there’s the usual slew of side effects like headache, nausea, flu, upper respiratory infection, facial pain, and muscle weakness. The only reason people tend to write these off is that they’re so common when taking various pharmaceutical preparations. Oh, what we endure for “good health”!

Then there’s the inevitable list of medications that are contraindicated if you’re receiving Botox injections: several classes of antibiotics, medications used to treat arrhythmic disorders of the heart, and Alzheimer’s medication.

So before you go and get yourself that Botox treatment you’ve been hankering for, consider not only the above, but the following FURTHER reasons to reconsider.

6. Eyebrow paralysis

Droopy eyebrows, raised eyebrows, and facial paralysis are some of the known side effects of botox. These side effects aren’t permanent, but there aren’t any clinical studies that have examined the long-term effects of this kind of muscle trauma.

7. Unprotected Botox

We all understand the importance of exercising caution in the realm of sex. Yet for some reason, Botox parties, which arguably carry a higher risk than the kind of “risky behavior” we’re all used to hearing about, seem to have escaped any kind of major condemnation.

The fact is that in addition to doctor-sponsored events at medical offices, which are theoretically “safe,” the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has reported that Botox is being administered by unqualified practitioners in hotel rooms, retail stores, gyms and even offices. Aside from the obvious risks of unsanitary conditions, wrong doses, and poor technique, what happens if (when) there are complications? Do you think the “esthetician” shooting the stuff into your face in the café of your health club is going to know what do to if you have a severe allergic reaction? Doubtful.

8. Botox is cruel – and not just to your face

As you know, at Awakening we have never, ever tested our products on animals and never will. Well, guess what? EVERY SINGLE BATCH of Botox is tested on animals. It has to be, so we can be sure that no one is killed by a “bad batch.” It reminds me of the practice of having some poor, expendable fool taste all the King’s food and drink first, so if it’s poisoned, the king is safe. Our lab animals are now our “disposable beings,” and many die in the process of making sure we can safely inject “just enough poison” into our faces without dying.

9. Express yourself! (or not)

As I mentioned above, Botox works by paralyzing muscles, which smoothes creases related to repetitive muscle use. As it happens, it also may leave you utterly expressionless. And while Botox Face might be fun if you’re a puppet, it really is pretty repulsive on us humans.

10. Do you know your doctor?

Botox has been widely injected into people who are not actually qualified to receive the treatment. Improperly trained physicians, who do not know anything about facial anatomy, are performing botox injections, increasing their clients’ exposure to very serious risk factors. The bad news: for wrinkles caused by smoking, sun exposure or the natural aging process, Botox is basically worthless. Here’s a better idea.

The takeaway:

Botox is dangerous, cruel, and unnatural. Enjoy aging and try some natural solutions to the aging process. You’ll live longer and happier, and you’ll get the added benefit of staying YOU.

UPDATE: Awakening Skin Care has just introduced a brand new antioxidant wrinkle cream that is unlike anything on the market – that’s a promise! We’re offering it at a low introductory price, and we offer a 100% no questions asked money back guarantee on all our products. So if you’re having second thoughts about Botox, and want to try something that will help reduce your wrinkles, give Awakening’s FACE&NECK a try. You’ll be delighted!

Click on the image below to learn more about this revolutionary product.

FACE&NECK Anti Wrinkle Cream

FACE&NECK

Awakening Mineral Therapies has been hand-crafting unique Dead Sea mineral skin care products for over 15 years. For more information about this and other natural mineral-based skin care remedies, visit our main site at: www.awakeningskincare.com

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One Response to “Botox Treatments: 5 Things You Might (NOT) Want to Know”

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