In 1949, Arnold Burgen was the first to realize that botulinum toxin was actually a protein that could interfere with the electrical activity of nerves, thus preventing them from functioning – a neurotoxin. Since then, Botox has been used successfully in the treatment of many medical conditions such as overactive bladders, chronic migraines, neck pain due to cervical dystonia, excessive underarm sweating, muscle spasms due to cerebral palsy, and various eye muscle problems such as eyelid spasms and spasticity in elbows, wrists, and fingers.
Forty years later, in 1989, a plastic surgeon named Dr. Richard Clark documented the injection of Botox into wrinkles. His paper was printed in the journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. In 1992, a Canadian ophthalmologist and dermatologist, known as J.D. and J.A. Carruthers, injected Botox into glabellar frown lines – the two lines between the eyebrows – with successful results. Soon after, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Botox for use in the plastic surgery industry.
Botox is injected primarily in the forehead, glabellar lines, and crow’s feet around the eyes to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. This protein blocks the nerve impulses that cause wrinkles because of continued use. After a few days, Botox kicks in, making the nerve inactive. There are basically no side effects other than some irritation where the needles were injected, tightness in the skin after the procedure, and occasionally a tension headache. There is no need to take time off work, and the results last for 4 to 6 months before the effect of Botox wears off and the wrinkles return. A patient can maintain the desired look of smooth lines and no wrinkles by returning on a regular basis for Botox injections before the product metabolizes.