Botulinum toxin (Botox)

Botulinum toxin type A (“Botox“) is recognized in cosmetic medicine as a safe and effective means for treating wrinkles. Some people view it as a remedy others as ‘wretched stuff’. Despite proven treatment successes there are many misconceptions, rumors and prejudices concerning its use. For information purposes and to correct any distorted facts, we have answered the most important questions concerning the treatment of wrinkles with botulinum toxin.

FAQs on botulinum toxin (type A) and the treatment of wrinkles

What effect does botulinum toxin have?
Botulinum toxin type A is a biosynthetic substance produced from Clostridium botulinum bacteria which temporarily blocks the transmission of impulses between the nerve cell and the muscle. The ‘botoxed’ muscle simply relaxes resulting in visibly smoother wrinkles.

What is the procedure for the treatment of wrinkles with botulinum toxin?
Botulinum toxin type A is injected using micro-fine needles very precisely into the relevant muscle. The procedure is virtually pain-free. For the best results, the treatment of wrinkles should only be conducted by an experienced doctor as complications could arise in non-expert hands such as sagging upper eyelids or eyebrows. When correctly applied, botulinum toxin is a beauty and medicinal product that visibly rejuvenates. It even effectively treats tension headaches and migraines.

How long do the effects of botulinum toxin last?
Depending on the dose, the area, the specific point being treated and the physical condition of the patient, the relaxation of the muscle lasts for approximately 3-6 months. The more nerve endings treated with botulinum toxin, the longer the effect will be. Even when a long-lasting effect is desired for the treated wrinkles, large doses of botulinum toxin are not recommended as this makes the results less natural and less aesthetically pleasing.

What are the typical side effects of botulinum toxin?
Improper use of botulinum toxin can lead to sagging eyelids and eyebrows as well as impeding the opening of the eye. Allergic reactions are theoretically possible although there are no reports on this to date. In individual cases, small bruises (hematoma), light swelling or reddening may arise but these will completely disappear in a short space of time. When conducted by an experienced doctor, the technique of using botulinum toxin is both a safe and effective way to treat wrinkles.

How often can a treatment with botulinum toxin be carried out?
A wrinkle treatment with botulinum toxin should not be carried out more than 3-4 times a year as antibodies against the botulinum molecules may begin to form thus reducing its effectiveness – so the theory says. To date there is no evidence however of a loss in effectiveness caused by antibodies in cases where wrinkles have been regularly treated with botulinum toxin.

Is botulinum toxin (type A) dangerous or even harmful for the body?
For cosmetic uses, botulinum toxin is only injected very precisely in tiny amounts into specific muscle groups where it directly binds with the nerve endings. Due to the minimal doses and the purity of the substance used, no intoxication arises from cosmetic-based treatments with botulinum. The botulinum used in aesthetic medicine contains no bacteria whatsoever that can further produce toxins. In this respect even the word toxin is in this context incorrect.

Are the results of a wrinkle treatment visible immediately?
The effects of a wrinkle treatment with botulinum toxin appear after approximately 48-72 hours.
The maximum effect of the treatment is reached after approximately 10 days.

Is botulinum toxin (Botox) addictive and do you require more and more as time goes on?
Psychological or physical additions have until now not been reported.

When should a treatment with botulinum not be undertaken?
If you have a cold, you should postpone your planned botulinum toxin treatment to a later date. Also pregnant women and those breastfeeding should also refrain from having this type of wrinkle treatment. It is also not advised to undergo a treatment with botulinum toxin should you be suffering from a blood-clotting disorder or a muscle disorder (e.g. Myasthenia gravis).