Makeup

Botox: The cost, the dangers and its secret medical uses

Botox celebrates it's 15th anniversary this year. If you're thinking of having botox injections, here's everything you need to know - from how much it costs, to it's medical uses and, of course, it's celebrity fans...

On 12th April 2002 botox - or botulinum toxin, to give it it’s full name - was approved as a cosmetic by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) for temporary improvement of frown lines. And the world's most famous non-surgical cosmetic procedure was born.

In the past 15 years, as botox has become more popular, the stigma around it has decreased, and millions of people around the world now get regular botox injections.

So if you're thinking of treating yourself to a few cheeky botox jabs, here's everything you need to know, from the risks, to it's medical uses and, of course, it's celebrity fans...

Everything you ever wanted to know about Botox

We've answered all your botox questions (Credit: Getty)

Here are the most commonly asked questions answered by Julie Jackson the leading non-surgical practitioner at the Cornhill Clinic, www.transforminglives.co.uk

Is botox safe?

Yes, botox is absolutely safe - it's the most researched drug on the market.

Does botox hurt?

We use a very fine needle to inject botox that causes a minimal amount of discomfort, but most patients will feel some initial discomfort.

Is botox bad for you?

Properly administered, there are very few risks and complications to using botox. However, it's important that you go through the full consultation process with a registered medical professional before you proceed.

Is botox bad for you? (Credit: Getty)

How does botox work?

Botox works by temporarily inhibiting the release of acetylcholine at the nerve endings, which temporarily inhibits the nerve impulse to the muscle. This stops the muscle from reacting to impulses from the brain.

Is botox poison?

Botox is a botulinum toxin type A. but it is used in such tiny doses that it is not toxic at all. It's even been licensed to be used on children as young as two to treat muscle spasticity.

Can botox be reversed?

No, botox can not be reversed once it's been administered, but the effects do wear off in three to four months.

Is botox vegan? (Credit: Getty)

Is botox vegan?

No, I'm afraid botox is not vegan. The vials in which the botox is held are coated with albumen, a protein derived from eggs which keeps the botox from sticking to the sides.

Does botox wear off?

Yes, botox wears off in three to four months.

Does botox cause headaches?

Yes, botox can cause headaches with some people. They can last up to 2-3 days but are treatable with paracetamol.

Is botox expensive? (Credit: Getty)

Does botox help acne?

No, in my experience botox doesn't help relieve acne.

Is botox expensive?

It's relative. We charge £350 for three areas, and most of our patients have botox treatments around twice per year. So when you do the mathts, that works out at about £13 per week.

Medical uses for Botox

Botox has medical uses like curing excess sweating (Credit: Getty)

Yes, that's right, botox isn't just a vanity drug, it has medical uses too. Here are some of the most common...

Gummy smile (not FDA approved) A smile that shows too much of the gums, usually results from too much lip elevation when the upper lip rises too far above the upper teeth when smiling. Injecting Botox into the upper lip weakens the upper lip's retractor muscles so that it won't raise as high.

Excessive sweating (FDA approved) Botox has been approved for severe underarm sweating (axillary hyperhidrosis.) It has also been proven to alleviate symptoms of all sorts of sweating, from underarms to hands and feet by blocking the release of the chemical responsible for stimulating the sweat glands.

Hair Rejuvenation (not FDA approved) Dr. Simon Ourian, a Los Angeles-based cosmetic surgeon, thinks he's found the next big hair loss hope: Botox. Following a series of chemotherapy, his mother began to get terrible headaches so he injected her scalp with the toxin to help alleviate the pain and she began to re-grow hair that she'd lost during her cancer treatments.

Migraines (not FDA approved) Botox is licensed for the treatment of chronic migraine – it’s thought botulinum toxin gets into the small nerves that carry pain from the head to the brain, known as C-fibres. This reduces the amount of chemicals released from the nerve ending and therefore interrupts the feedback pathway that perpetuates migraine and headache.

Case study: “Botox cured my migraines”

In some cases, botox can cure migraines (Credit: Getty)

According to The Migraine Trust, one in seven people in the UK suffers from migraines (they estimate there are 190,000 migraine attacks in the UK every day!). We spoke to one migraine sufferer about how botox relieved her crippling attacks...

“I’ve suffered from migraines for the past 20 years and they’ve varied in severity and frequency over that time. But as I’ve got older and work and home life have become more stressful, I’ve been getting them more regularly and they started to really affect my quality of life. The triggers for my migraines vary – I know, for instance, that for me rose, red wine and tropical juice will bring one on almost immediately - so I avoid them as much as possible, but the problem is, the main cause of my migraine's seems to be stress, which I obviously don't have as much control over!

I had heard about Botox working really well for some people and had always been tempted to try it, but felt a bit apprehensive, I also didn’t truly believe it would work for me. It was only when I started to get three or four migraines a week (curable only by the prescription drug Sumatriptan which for me had some side effects), that I seriously started to think about giving Botox a go.

Four days before I was due to have my treatment I had an attack so severe that I couldn’t even hold my head up in the shower, and it confirmed to me that I needed to try anything that could potentially help.

I was really nervous before my treatment; like a lot of people I really hate needles and had worked myself up a bit thinking about it, but as soon as I walked through the door at the Cornhill Transform Clinic, I felt calmer. I was taken to see Dr Flor Kent who was wonderfully calm and reassuring. Dr Kent asked me to frown and raise my eyebrows and she drew little dots all over my forehead and hair line; I knew what those dots meant and asked her to stop drawing so many!

The injections themselves are done with such a fine needle that you don’t feel it; I would describe it as an uncomfortable sting rather than a pain.

Over the following week I had two ‘normal’ headaches which I was able to cure using regular painkillers (something that hadn’t happened to me in years). I was terrified to jinx it by thinking it had worked too soon, but I’m now three weeks on from my treatment and am amazed to say I haven't had a migraine since!

I’ve even been in situations that would normally guarantee a migraine: a busy day at work with lots of travelling on trains and bright lights, and an afternoon sitting in a beer garden in the sunshine with no food, and it’s only been afterwards that I’ve realised I was completely fine.

Dr Kent advises I get a top up in three months time, but for now, it’s safe to say that Botox has completely changed my life. I hadn’t realised how much being in crippling pain so regularly was getting me down; to me it was normal. But now I have a new kind of pain-free normal and it’s amazing.

Although it may not work for everyone, I’m getting my dad to give it a go too, and would recommend it to anyone who, like me, suffers from dibilitating migraines.”

Celebs on botox

Simon Cowell is a botox fan (Credit: Getty)

Who loves it, who hates it. Here's what celebs think of botox...

Simon Cowell is a regular botox user. He said: “It simply works. You do it twice a year. Who cares? And it balances my smoking and drinking."

Julia Roberts is anti it. She says: “I want my kids to know when I'm pissed, when I'm happy and when I'm confounded. Your face tells a story and it shouldn't be a story about your drive to the doctor's office."

Olivia Coleman is a fan but only when she’s not working: “I’ve had Botox and I love it… I didn’t tell my husband and then for about six months he kept saying, “Hello, Pretty!” and then I told him and he found it hilarious.’

Nicoled Kidman has tried botox (Credit: Getty)

Nicole Kidman has tried it but didn’t like it: "I've tried a lot of things, but aside from sports and good nutrition, most things don't make a difference. I have also tried Botox. I didn't like how my face looked afterwards. Now I don't use it anymore – I can move my forehead again!"

Gwyneth Paltrow isn't convinced: "I don't like Botox," Paltrow tells. "I think on some faces it works, but it's when you can really see it that it starts to look fake. I think people look at tiny patches of their face and try to fix everything–they've lost the plot!"

Penelope Cruz says she’d never try it: ‘I’ve seen my grandmothers grow old and they are so beautiful, every wrinkle in their face tells a story. I want to feel that in 30 years. I would always choose that kind of beauty over that comes from having too much done to yourself.’

Katie Price loves her botox (Credit: Instagram/ Katie Price)

Surprise, surprise Katie Price has boasted of its benefits: "I had Botox. I loved it. When I have more of the stuff I'll tell the world. I don't want wrinkles."

Dannii Minogue has admitted using Botox when she’s been going through hardship to hide her emotions. “I don’t think I’m the only woman to use Botox that way,” she added.

Have you ever tried botox? Did you like it? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter

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