But first, neurotoxin

There aren’t many people who wouldn’t benefit from neurotoxins. Yes, it’s true! Here’s why.

Although the word “neurotoxin” sounds like it could be more harmful than good, applications of neurotoxins (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, and Jeuveau) are expanding and we think all can benefit! Although neurotoxins may help prevent and treat fine lines, doctors have found many new ways to use it. From shrinking pores to helping with depression, here is a quick summary of the various uses!

Botox is the most well known and recognized brand of a group of medicines collectively known as neurotoxins. However, there are now 4 FDA approved neurotoxins in the US that are used for cosmetic applications. The jury is out on the differences between them all, and many choose which product works best with their body and their budget! After all, we are each different.

Portrait of calm serious aged woman with wrinkle keeping eyes close getting injection in forehead in professional clinic isolated on grey background
  • Gummy smile

    • Neurotoxins can be injected under and on the sides of the nose to make a smile smaller with less upper gum showing. It will reduce the pull on the upper lip letting it rest in a more relaxed position.

  • Fine lines

    • This is what toxins are most used for. Neurotoxins can treat frown lines, forehead lines, and crow’s feet, creating a smoother complexion. Using injections on the lower face used to be frowned upon (no pun intended!). It was thought that injections around the mouth would leave one unable to formulate words properly because of the intricate anatomy of the lower face. Now most doctors have found that will a skilled injector, it is used all over the face to reduce lines. 

  • Large pores

    • Pili muscles (the ones that control pore size) can be targeted with micro-sized injections, relaxing them. Once those muscles are relaxed, they will shrink pores and secrete less oil. This can be done through an AquaGold treatment or with a microneedling pen. (We do these treatments!!)

  • Contouring

    • Toxins can be used to reshape the jawline by injecting the muscles that pull the neck down and intentionally not injecting those that lift the mouth. 

  • Tip flip

    • Sometimes with age, the tip of the nose with start to droop downwards. Botox can be injected at the base of the nose to relax the muscle responsible for dragging it down. 

  • Slimming the jawline

    • When botox is injected into the jaw muscles, it can narrow the look fo the lower face making it look more feminine. This one is a gradual process and change will happen over several weeks, but it lasts at least six months!

  • Clenching and grinding

    • The jaw muscles can get bulky when teeth clenching happens frequently. Botox can be injected into these muscles to weaken them, slimming the face and eliminating clenching and grinding, leading to less jaw pain. 

  • Excessive sweating

    • We sweat when our sympathetic nervous system pumps out acetylcholine, activating sweat glands. Botox has been found to block this chemical so the glands can’t contract, subsiding perspiration. Botox can help eliminate sweat on the scalp as well, keeping your hair clean between blowouts!

  • Scars

    • When the muscles underneath a scare move, the skin stretches making the scar worse. By freezing the area around a scar with Botox, it eliminates some of the tension on the skin creating a better looking scar.

  • Migraines

    • For migraines that do not respond to oral medications, Botox is the new standard treatment. Doctors have seen a 50 percent improvement in the frequency of migraines in patients and they say the migraines are easier to manage. The exact reason Botox help migraines needs more research, but there is evidence that Botox affects pain-modulating molecules, like neuropeptides. 

  • Pain disorders

    • Botox is being used by neurologists to treat a variety of aches and pains. It is one of the safer treatments because Botox can be used alongside other treatments, and does not interact with other medications. 

  • Major depressive disorder

    • Botox is seeking approval by the FDA as a treatment for major depressive disorder. Many mental health studies have found an impressive and consistent result while using Botox as an antidepressant. They have found a 45 to 55 percent reduction in depressive symptoms, and a remission rate of around one-third. 

    • People who have been diagnosed with depression are reporting an improvement in their mood following treatment of wrinkles with Botox. We do know for a fact that it is heightening their mood, but what we don’t know is exactly why. It’s not just the fact that the wrinkles are gone that’s improving the mood, because young people with no wrinkles have been treated with Botox and experienced the same improved results. The most probable explanation for this is whats called the facial feedback hypothesis. This hypothesis is the idea that our expression changes our mood. When you look more pleasant to yourself, you will feel better about yourself, and that has an effect on those around you as well. Think about it, are you more positive to people around you that always look angry or that always look happy?

    • Another explanation of why Botox helps to treat major depressive disorder has to do with the glabella (the area between your brows). When Botox is used to quiet the glabellar muscles, it reduces neural messages sent to the amygdala (the fear center of the brain), that is know to be overactive in depression and anxiety. Decreasing these neural messages will improve your mood!

    • More research is needed before this becomes a widely recommended treatment for people with major depression, however it is a safe alternative for improving moods for now!

Edgar, Jolene. “The Neurotoxin Revolution .” New Beauty, 2019, p. 115-116.