Botox — The end of the Dynamic Wrinkle

BOTOXBotox has become such a household name that it’s tempting to think it’s been around for decades. Not so, at least not for cosmetic use. Botox has been around for decades for treating conditions such as eyelid spasms and TMJ symptoms.

But it was not until 2002, when the FDA approved Botox for the cosmetic treatment of wrinkles and lines, when Botox entered pop culture. Ever since its aesthetic debut, Botox has dominated the yearly statistics for cosmetic procedures worldwide. It is far and away the most performed procedure all over the world. And with all the celebrities who swear by it, can a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame be far off for Botox?

Why all the adulation for this neuromodulator? Because it works, pure and simple. Botox is the king of what are called dynamic wrinkles, wrinkles that are formed by muscle contractions. Dynamic wrinkles are crow’s feet, frown lines, the 11s. But Botox doesn’t have any sway when it comes to static wrinkles. These are wrinkles that show themselves at all times. Sun damage, environmental issues, and general aging of the skin create static wrinkles and Botox has no effect on them. Dermal fillers are the injectables intended for static wrinkles and “fill” in the wrinkle from beneath.

How does Botox perform its magic?

Botox is called a neuromodulator. It is actually made from the botulinum toxin type A, the same bacteria that cause botulism. Decades ago scientists discovered that the botulinum toxin, when used in very small amounts, can temporarily paralyze a muscle. It does this by blocking the signals from the nerve to the muscle.

When you perform everyday behaviors such as squinting or frowning, muscles contract as part of the behavior, particularly those around the eyes. Over time as your skin ages and loses some of its elastin (which helps keep the skin supple), these contractions cause wrinkles to show on the skin surface above the muscles. Botox blocks those muscles from contracting, so the wrinkles either disappear or their appearance is dramatically reduced.

When opting to have Botox injections, however, it is important to choose a doctor thoroughly versed in facial anatomy, such as Dr. Shams. Injecting too much Botox or injecting it into the wrong muscle can create issues such as droopy eyelids, double vision and an un-natural look.

Botox results generally last around four months. At that point, the muscles will start contracting again and the wrinkles will return. That’s when it is time to schedule another Botox session with Dr. Shams to maintain your results.

Posted in: Botox

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My NHS practice is based at the world-renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. I consult private patients at Moorfields Private Eye Hospital, Optegra London Eye Hospital and The Harley Street Clinic.