How Does Botox Work?

what means does botox use to get rid of wrinkles?

Doctor Answers 28

Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox Cosmetic) is a protein...

Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox Cosmetic) is a protein complex produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which contains the same toxin that causes food poisoning.

When used in a medical setting as an injectable form of sterile, purified botulinum toxin, small doses block the release of a chemical called acetylcholine by nerve cells that signal muscle contraction. By selectively interfering with the underlying muscles' ability to contract, existing frown lines are smoothed out and, in most cases, are nearly invisible in a week.

The medication takes 48 to 72 hours to take effect and can be expected to last about 3 months, though individual results vary and additional injections may be necessary to get desired results.

Botox was first approved in 1989 to treat two eye muscle disorders - uncontrollable blinking (blepharospasm) and misaligned eyes (strabismus). In 2000, the toxin was approved to treat a neurological movement disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder contractions, known as cervical dystonia. As an unusual side effect of the eye disorder treatment, doctors observed that Botox softened the vertical frown (glabellar) lines between the eyebrows that tend to make people look tired, angry or displeased.

In early 2002, Allergan performed studies to show a decrease in these frown lines for up to 120 days which satisifed the FDA. The agency granted an indication for temporary improvement in the appearance of moderate to severe glabellar lines associated with corrugator and/or procerus muscle activity in adult patients < 65 years of age for Botox Cosmetic.

In 2004, Botox received an additional indication for the treatment of severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (armpit sweating) that is inadequately managed with topical agents.

While these are the only FDA indicated uses of Botox, Botox has been used to treat "crow's feet" and other areas of wrinkling in the face. Though no controlled studies have shown the safety and efficacy of Botox when used in these applications, hundreds of applications have proven out the efficacy.


Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

BOTOX injections are a simple and non-surgical...

BOTOX® injections are a simple and non-surgical procedure whereby very low doses of a natural purified protein are placed into specific muscles, which relaxes the muscles and prevents contraction.

The actual mechanism of action is by blocking or reducing the release of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is required in order for the muscle to contract. Without acetylcholine, the muscle will not contract. If the muscle doesn't contract, then it won't be able to pull the attached, overylying skin into creases which would result on your face as wrinkles.

Jonathan Hoenig, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Botox softens lines or disappears them entirely

When facial muscles contract, frown lines and wrinkles are formed over time. Once BOTOX® Cosmetic is injected into the muscles of the face, repetitive contraction of the facial muscles is limited, causing the lines soften or disappear.

Daniel A. Carrasco, MD
Austin Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Botox Relaxes Muscles By Blocking Nerve Signals

Botox is a purified form of botulinum toxin – a protein that has the capacity to block the transmission of acetylcholine in nerve cells. When acetylcholine is blocked, the muscle does not get a signal to contract. This relaxes a dynamic muscle that would normally contract and fold the skin into a wrinkle. Once the contraction of the muscle ceases, the skin is able to smooth out and the wrinkle disappears. After the Botox wears off, the muscle will begin to contract again and the wrinkle will reappear. Please consult a board-certified dermatologist to have your wrinkles smoothed out with Botox.

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Botox. Who would think that a substance that is responsible for food poisoning could also make us look more youthful!

Botox is a prescription drug and is made by the drug company Allergan. It works by temporarily blocking muscle activity by preventing the transmission between nerve endings and muscle fibers. In lay terms this means that when Botox is injected into your muscle the muscle will temporarily relax.

 

Francis X. Fleming, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

How Botox Works

Botox or botulinum works by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscles can longer contract causing the wrinkles to relax. Botox is most often used on forehead lines, crow’s feet and frown lines.

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

How does Botox work

Thank you for your question. Botox can be used to soften the appearance of lines and wrinkles that deepen with expression. These include the horizontal lines of the forehead, the frown lines between brows and the smile lines (crows feet) on the sides of the eyes. They typically last 3-4 months. It works by relaxing the affected muscle by blocking the nerve's signals that tells the muscle to contract.
I would recommend that you visit with at board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist in your area to discuss your treatment options so they can be tailored to your concerns and goals.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

How Botox works

Botox is an FDA-approved injectable that helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and dynamic wrinkles by causing them to relax and soften. It works by blocking the action of unwanted dynamic wrinkles. Over time, this prevents the wrinkles from becoming deeper creases and therefore more pronounced. Most patients see improvement within several days of injection with Botox. The result will usually last about three to four months at which point the muscle action gradually returns and the lines and wrinkles begin to reappear.
Over time, however, and with repeated injections, the lines and wrinkles will become less severe as the muscles are trained to relax.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

How Botox smooths out wrinkles

Good question. When Botox (Botulinum Toxin Type A) is injected into the muscle, it effectively stops the nerve signals that are sent to the muscles. The muscles are prevented from contracting, and this results in muscle relaxation. It is the contracting of the muscles that can form the fine lines and wrinkles, but if the muscle is relaxed, the fine lines and wrinkles smooth out and do not have the opportunity to form deeper ridges and creases on the face.

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

How Botox Works

Botox is a substance produced by a bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum. The drug works by weakening the muscles that cause wrinkles. After injection, the muscle gradually relaxes, and the lines diminish substantially or completely disappear.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.