In 2008, people worldwide paid U$ 1.8 billion to have a toxin from Clostridium botulinum injected in their eye skins to reduce wrinkles.
What is Clostridium botulinum?
Clostridium botulinum is a bacterium that is involved in food poisoning, causing severe intoxication, usually from canned food. Botulism is a name that refers to the infection that is caused by the bacteria.
It has been studied that death due to botulism is due to paralysis of respiratory muscles. The specific mechanism is by interfering with the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that is necessary for contraction of skeletal muscles.
In the late 1980s, the Clostridium botulism toxin, BOTOX was approved for use in treatment of uncontrollable blinking, which is a condition resulting from inappropriate contraction of muscles around the eyes.
How BOTOX is used to reduce wrinkles?
Doctors have found that injecting facial muscles with BOTOX (toxin) relaxed these muscles and reduced wrinkling of facial skin overlaying these muscles. BOTOX works by preventing the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles and thereby reducing the appearance of wrinkles as seen in the photos below.
Photos courtesy of Talaro and Chess, 2012
Dangers of excessive BOTOX injection include excessive paralysis of facial muscles resulting from poorly targeted injections. Other results include drooping or loose eyelids, facial muscles paralysis and slurred speech. Even if the treatment works perfectly, patients are generally unable to move their eyebrows or in some cases frown or squint.
There have also been cases whereby the toxin spread from area of injection to other body sites, causing symptoms of botulism poisoning.
Disclaimer: This information should be used for educational purposes only and Health200 does not recommend nor reject the use of BOTOX for reducing wrinkles.
Talaro K.P. and Chess B. (2012). Foundations in Microbiology. New York: McGraw-Hill.p580