How does Botox work?

Simply put, Botox prevents the muscles from contracting, thus reducing (and in most cases eliminating) the appearance of wrinkles. However, there’s quite a bit more to it than that…

Botulinum toxin (aka Botox) works by splitting key proteins required for nerve activation. The toxin first binds itself to the nerves that use the neurotransmitter (a chemical message released by nerve cells to send signals to other cells) called acetylcholine (which is an organic chemical). Once bound to the nerve terminal many different reactions occur until the toxin reaches inside the cytoplasm (thick solution that fills each cell, it is surrounded by the cell membrane), it is here that the toxin splits SNARE proteins (proteins situated at connection points between muscles and nerves, otherwise known as: neuromuscular junctions). This means that the acetylcholine can no longer bind to the cell membrane and without SNAREs, nerves cannot release the chemical signals telling muscles to move. This prevents the cell from releasing the neurotransmitter, and without this neurotransmitter the muscles enter a state of flaccid paralysis.

Now, if this seems confusing, an easier way of looking at it is to imagine the muscle is a kitchen appliance, let’s say a toaster, and the toaster has a lead and a plug.  For the toaster to work we plug it in, but if you cut the lead (which would probably lead to electrocution so please do not try this at home) then the current can no longer travel from the plug socket – through the lead – to the appliance. So, by blocking the signals that are sent from the brain to the nerves, to the muscles, the injected muscle cannot contract. This is how wrinkles are able to soften, as your muscles relax.

Many people worry that muscle paralysis = skin paralysis, but this isn’t the case. There are two types of nerves in the body; one is responsible for transmitting messages from the brain to the muscles, the other transmits sensations from the body to the brain. As previously explained, Botox only interferes with the nerves that transmit the messages (and only at the specific site injected). After Botox you will not have a numbing sensation to your skin!

Botox is ideal for men and women who are concerned about wrinkles and believe it or not, the earlier you have the treatment the better to prevent wrinkles becoming deep. The procedure is rapidly becoming one of the leading non-surgical procedures thanks to its many benefits, but if you are still not sure whether Botox is right for you – give us a call on 020 3925 3846 to chat it through or check out our online news for more information about Botox.