Without knowing more, most people would probably not connect botulism — a serious type of food poisoning — with cosmetic treatments. Yet the active ingredient in Botox is the botulinum toxin, although it is significantly diluted before being used to soften wrinkles. Used as a medical treatment prior to its FDA approval for cosmetic use, Botox works by relaxing muscles through a mild weakening effect. Many of the wrinkles in the face stem from muscular contractions from an expression, such as laughing, smiling, frowning, or scowling. Careful injection of Botox causes the contracting muscle to relax, and with that action, the skin naturally smoothes over the relaxed tissue. There are no effects on lines and wrinkles that result from loss of skin elasticity and collagen alone, or lines present at rest without muscle movement. For this reason, Botox treatments work best in combination with other cosmetic treatments. The Botox brand is only one form of this type of treatment. Dysport and Xeomin are two other FDA approved similar treatments, both also available at SkinDC.
There are several differences in the manufacturing of each product. Because of this, each behaves in a slightly different way, and dosages of each product are unique. Therefore the 3 products are not interchangeable, and should not be thought of as generic versions of each other. Xeomin, for example, consists of the botulinum toxin in its purest form, while Dysport and Botox have other proteins as part of their structure. These differences affect the way each product diffuses after injection. Dr. Naga and Dr. Keaney are experts at the assessment and application of each product, knowing which to choose for best effect. At SkinDC, we pride ourselves in having a variety of treatments available so that we may deliver the appropriate treatment for the appropriate patient rather than fitting patients to the treatments that we have.
Botox-type treatments are the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in the world. While any injection carries risk, adverse events from Botox-type treatments are very rare. Most treatments show irritation around the injection site for a short time after treatment. Occasionally, bruising, asymmetry, and unwanted muscle weakening occurs surrounding the treatment area, but this is temporary. In very rare cases, a few patients may exhibit allergic reactions to the injections.
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