Botox, it's not new. Since 1973, a purified Botulism toxin has been used to weaken overactive muscles that caused facial tics or crossed eyes. It's also been injected in the arm pits and hands to release excessive sweating.
Doctors and patients have long noticed a positive side effect, that when Botox weakens the muscle, the skin over it relaxes and wrinkles often disappear. Now that the FDA has approved Botox for cosmetic use, patients are lining up, and doctors who've been quiet about using it for wrinkles are openly promoting it now.
When Dr. Michael Lehman said to me, "Why don't you stop by, and I'll give it to you." I said why not? I took my 40 something wrinkles into his office, not really knowing what Botox does to stop a wrinkle.
"It's like a brick wall. It goes in there and selectively inhibits the site," says Dr. Lehman. After a few questions, I laid back and waited for my shot in the head. The needle was small, about a half inch, and surprisingly, it didn't hurt. There's no blood, and no results yet. It turns out, it takes a few days to see the wrinkles smooth out.
The convenience in this procedure is that patients can literally have this done during their lunch hour with no tell tale signs where they've been, and Dr. Lehman says this is not exclusive to the baby boomer age group. "A very wrinkly person in his 70s can be smooth across the forehead in a week's time," says Dr. Lehman.
The only drawback, it doesn't last forever, only about three or four months. Although, Dr. Lehman says that if you have it done regularly, the injections begin to last longer and the wrinkles get even smoother.
The only side effects are two out of every 100 patients may have some drooping of the eye or mouth, if the muscle near it relaxes too much. However, that goes away in a week or two. There may be some bruising at first or a mild headache after the injections, but most would agree the procedure is quick and easy and the results are dramatic, but not cheap. The cost? About $500.
Already, Botox is Allergan's biggest product. Sales worldwide are expected to climb to $420 million this year. Important note: there are some people who should not have this done. If you are pregnant or nursing or if you have certain neuromuscular conditions, you are advised against using Botox.