With botulinum toxin, actually a neurotoxin, cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists offer a relatively new type of wrinkle treatment without surgery. The muscles responsible for some wrinkles are paralyzed. How risky is such an intervention? How long does the effect last?
What is botulinum toxin?
In addition to the beautiful summer tan, all sunbathers bring a lasting holiday memory home: wrinkles. Crow's feet around the eyes, frown lines over the nose and forehead wrinkles visibly bear witness to the process of maturation of a human, less friendly formulated through its aging process. The sun is only one factor among many.
A remedy promises relief: Botulinum toxin, registered as a brand name Botox, is simply injected into the skin and after a few days disappear the wrinkles. As simple as it sounds, the word "toxin" in the name reveals that Botox is a toxin, namely a neurotoxin made from botulin, the excretory product of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium proliferates predominantly in decaying animal tissue. It is also fond of poorly preserved cans and sausages. Even in the millionth of a gram range, botulin is deadly - many farmers are aware of the danger for horses and cows, which emanates from so contaminated feed, because, for example, dead mice are not always discovered in concentrated feed.
How does Botox affect the facial wrinkles?
The facial skin is underlaid by a mimic muscles and firmly connected to it. If the muscles contract, the facial expression arises, a fine thing about laughing. However, there are also the wrinkles that some people fear so much, such as pinching their eyes when working hard. The wrinkles get deeper and deeper over the years and often - as with the frown lines - they no longer disappear, even when the muscle tension subsides. Many a "bad look" is so unwanted, because the wrinkles are to blame.
In 1980, the wrinkle-smoothing effect of botulinum toxin was discovered in America, since 1982 it has been used there for wrinkle treatment. It is injected directly into the muscle with a fine needle. There it inhibits the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine at the motor end plates - in simplified terms, no signal is transmitted between nerve and muscle, the striated muscles are paralyzed. Botox has been used for many years in human medicine for spastic torticollis or lid spasm.
Side effects and side effects
In wrinkles, for example, three punctures suffice, once over the root of the nose and once over the eyebrows. Now the muscle can no longer be tense. A numbness disappears after a few days, the muscle paralysis itself lasts three to six months. If the treatment is repeated, the paralysis persists between one and two years. Mild skin irritation, sometimes a small bruise at the injection site, can be side effects.
Occasional eyebrow or eyelid sagging may occur in the lateral eyebrow area of the forehead crease treatment. An expressive mimic supposedly continues to be possible despite the partial paralysis of certain muscles, especially since the effect disappears after a few months after first use.
In Germany, this method of wrinkle cosmetics is now spreading more and more and is offered by dermatologists. The treatment is not taken over by the health insurance companies. The prices for the short (five-minute) treatment vary between 100 and 500 euros.