Botox still seems to be the gold standard for helping to minimize such aging woes as crow’s feet, forehead, lip and frown lines. The treatment is one of the most popular non-surgical cosmetic procedures available with more than 6 million administered each year. In the Black community, however, the notion of indulging in many of the aesthetic treatments for skin rejuvenation has had negative connotations. There are those who feel that Botox usage is simply an attempt to adhere to Eurocentric beauty standards. Others have proudly joined the beauty brigade to do anything in their power to fend off the signs of aging. Well, according to skin experts, Black can crack but this depends on genetics and lifestyle choices.
So to those folks who feel they need a little facial tune-up here and there (don’t judge), here are all of the facts you need to know about Botox.
Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium from which Botox is derived is found in many natural settings, including soil, lakes, and forests. The not so nice explanation for the substance is that it is related to a naturally occurring poison that can sometimes be found at dangerous levels in contaminated meat products. Botox has been described as the deadliest substance known to man and can be injected, ingested or inhaled quickly causing paralysis and eventually, respiratory failure.
Before Botox became a cosmetic anti-aging wonder substance, it was, and is, used to treat a variety of medical issues. It has been rather effective in treating such health-related ailments as chronic migraines, uncontrollable blinking, leaky bladder, strabismus (crossed eyes) and eye squints. Botox has also been used off-label (not approved) to treat conditions like cerebral palsy, excessive sweating, hay fever, and achalasia (throat problem that makes swallowing difficult).
Despite its uses, the dangers of Botox are pretty eye-opening. It has been classified as a category A substance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and poses a very serious risk as a biological weapon. Just 1 gram of botulinum toxin can kill over 1 million people. Two kilograms of the toxin can kill the entire human population of Earth. Therefore, the use of Botox should not be taken without some level of concern.
How does Botox work?
It can be skillfully injected to paralyze facial muscles, thereby reducing wrinkles and fine lines. The toxin is injected directly into neuromuscular tissue and can typically take up to 72 hours for the results to be evident or in rare cases, five days. However, if Botox spreads from the site of injection, then all red flags go up!
What are the side effects of Botox?
Even though Botox injections are well tolerated, there are a few side effects to look out for:
General malaise (bad feelings) or flu-like illness
Mild pain or swelling at the injection site
Paralysis of nearby muscles
Upper eyelid or brow drooping
Blurred or double vision
Word to the wise
Botched Botox jobs are pretty commonplace these days and unfortunately, many people put their trust in individuals, who do NOT know what they’re doing. These unlicensed practitioners, who are playing guessing games with administering Botox many whom you’ll typically find at Botox parties, can cause a slew of awful complications for their clients. When people risk being injected with Botox at places like spas and gyms, for example, they don’t know what they’re truly receiving, how old the product is and whether the injector knows what they’re doing. Medical experts advise anyone who is considering using Botox to just stick to ‘the core four’ for safety’s sake: a board-certified physician who is either a dermatologist, a plastic surgeon, an ear-nose-and-throat doctor, or an ophthalmologist.
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