The History of Botox

History of Botox - image of sausages
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Read on to find out how Botox was first discovered as a poison back in 1820 and went on to become a facial rejuvenation phenomenon.

Ask any ordinary person what Botox is and they’ll tell you it’s something which is injected into people’s faces to get rid of their wrinkles. While this is true, it’s far from the whole story. Botox has a long and fascinating history as well as a wide range of applications well beyond helping people to look younger. The fact that Botox is a toxin created by types of bacterium shouldn’t worry people as lots of very beneficial medicines have some very scary sounding origins and/or can be harmful if used incorrectly. With that in mind, here is the story of Botox from its discovery in a bad sausage (seriously) to its current use as an aesthetics marvel.

The Poisonous Sausage

In 1820 in Germany, people died from eating bad sausages. Dr Justinus Kerner discovered what had killed them was a type of poisoning which would come to be called Botulism because it is caused by a toxin called botulinum which is created by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. He noted the symptoms for this poisoning included drooping eyelids, muscle weakness and paralysis. Experimentation went on to reveal that botulinum toxin caused paralysis by blocking nerves from releasing acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter which, essentially, tells the muscles to contract.

The Eyes Have It

Experimentation with this toxin continued throughout the 19th and early 20th century until, in the 1960s, scientists began to discover botulinum toxin had some potentially beneficial effects. Dr. Edward J. Schantz and his colleagues managed to make a purified crystalline form of the toxin which they found could be used in tiny doses to paralyse muscles spasming and causing problems. An ophthalmologist began experimenting using the toxin to paralyse muscles around the eye to treat strabismus (crossed eyes). By the late 70s, this was a recognised effective treatment for strabismus and doctors continued to experiment with its use for facial muscle spasms, neck and shoulder spasms and even vocal cord spasms.

Turn That Frown…

Doctors treating patients using botulinum toxin began to notice a side effect to their treatment. Some patients had visibly fewer frown lines than they had before they began the treatment. In 1992, Dr. Jean Carruthers and her husband, a dermatologist, published a paper describing these effects and ten years later, botulinum toxin, now shortened to Botox, was licensed by the FDA in the USA for use treating frown lines. By this point, Botox was already being used to treat all kinds of facial wrinkles but it would also go on to treat excessive sweating, migraines, overactive bladder and other conditions caused by muscle spasms or overactive muscles.

Since the early 2000s, the use of Botox has become so popular and so widespread that people of all ages are trying it. The main benefit of its use becoming so ubiquitous is that its application has become increasingly refined and is now very safe and skilled practitioners can produce very subtle and specific effects.

At Summa Aesthetics, Botox injections are administered by Lexi Davies who is an experienced and qualified nurse. Not only does she have experience of assisting with very intricate operations as a theatre nurse in neurosurgery, she also has a wealth of experience and training on Harley Street to give Botox injections. This means she can create very subtle effects if required and can administer Botox in a totally safe but effective way. To find out more about Botox and what it can do for you, call 0783 741 3101.

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