The battle against facial wrinkles is a battle against oneself because crow’s-feet, frown lines and forehead furrows are caused by a person’s own facial expressions, explained Dirk Meyer-Rogge, a member of the Association of German Dermatologists. Every smile and frown passing over the face leaves deepening ruts in the skin that many people find unsightly.
Botox, a brand name for a medicinal form of botulinum toxin type A, is seen as an effective antidote to facial wrinkles. It is injected directly into facial muscles and blocks certain chemical signals from nerves to the muscles, paralyzing them. No more wrinkles appear in places where muscles can no longer contract.
The effect lasts from four to six weeks, after which follow-up injections are necessary. Experts warn of side-effects, however, so someone who wants Botox injections should by all means go to a specialist. The temporary rejuvenation procedures are in great demand in Germany. ‘The number of injections is growing significantly,’ Meyer-Rogge noted.
Contrary to common belief, Botox is not a recent discovery made by cosmetic surgeons. Doctors have been injecting it for decades in cases of cramping, for example to relax muscles stiffened by a stroke.
‘Botulinum toxin has existed as a medicine for 50 years already,’ Meyer-Rogge said. ‘Its aesthetic use developed gradually from its medical one.’
The drug’s use as a medicine has been approved for a very small number of conditions only, so care also need be taken when it is used for purely aesthetic purposes. According to the website of Germany’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, Botox is a highly powerful substance that should be administered solely by physicians with special experience. Since the drug’s approval, it said, there have been some 210 reports of suspected, and undesirable, side-effects of various kinds and severity, including five deaths.
The institute pointed out that in none of the cases had Botox been established with certainty as the cause, and that it had received no reports of fatal, or even serious, side-effects from the cosmetic use of Botox. It added, however, that it had no information on the extent of the drug’s use outside the approved areas of application.
Being a strong neurotoxin, Botox does carry risks. If administered in the wrong place or wrong dosage, side-effects can occur ranging from facial swelling to serious respiratory problems. But these are rare when Botox is administered by a well-trained specialist, said Regina Wagner of the DGAEPC.
‘If you administer the right dosage, use the right injection technique and know the right injection site, there is virtually no risk whatsoever,’ Wagner remarked.
Above all, Meyer-Rogge said, the procedure requires a good knowledge of anatomy so that the wrong muscle is not paralyzed.
A person opting for a Botox treatment or looking for med spas near me (http://www.medspasnearme.com) should see a dermatologist or a specialist in cosmetic or plastic surgery. ‘You should also make sure that the physician belongs to a botulinum toxin specialists society. If he or she does, you’re in good hands,’ Wagner said. These societies ensure the proper training and qualifications of physicians who work with Botox through special courses and certifications.