The Many Layers of BOTOX

Mention Botox and the first thing that comes to mind for most people is its ability to smooth wrinkles. But there’s more to Botox than that. In fact, a new study suggests there may be way more. Results show that Botox may improve the pliability and elasticity of skin for up to four months.

But first the facts: Botox, or multinational toxin A, is a drug used to treat a good number of medical conditions including overactive bladder, chronic migraines and excessive sweating. Botox really became a household name though once it was discovered that by injecting it into certain areas of the face, it could temporarily relax the muscles that cause wrinkles. Now it’s the number one cosmetic procedure in the country with nearly 7 million treatments performed annually.

The injectable’s popularity could very well increase based on the findings of a Canadian study conducted by Dr. James Bonaparte of the University of Ottawa and Dr. David Ellis of the University of Toronto. The two researchers demonstrated that Botox usage may actually increase the elasticity of skin. It’s no secret that as we age, our skin becomes less elastic. Exposure to high levels of sun and UV rays without protection doesn’t help in that department either.

The study went as follows:
Forty-eight women were enrolled with an average age of 55. They underwent Botox injections to reduce the appearance of mild forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet around the eyes. The pliability and elasticity of each women’s skin were assessed at study baseline, and at 2 weeks, 2 months, 3 months and 4 months following injection.

Among the 43 women who completed the study, the team found that the Botox injections increased both the pliability and elasticity of their skin for up to 4 months – a length of time that matched the muscle-relaxing effects of Botox. In addition, the researchers found that Botox injections appeared to reverse damage to skin elasticity caused by exposure to UV rays. Similarly, the effect waned after 4 months.

Bonaparte and Ellis, who are both plastic surgeons in active practice, believe it might be possible that Botox not only works on the muscle, where it’s injected, but may stimulate skin cells called fibroblasts, as well. When stimulated, fibroblasts respond by making more collagen and elastin, two products that can make skin more elastic and more youthful, with less wrinkles.

It’s pretty exciting news for plastic surgeons, dermatologists and patients alike. Bonaparte and Ellis published their findings in the Journal of American Medical Association’s Facial and Plastic Surgery publication. Look for news of repeated studies. If results are similar, it seems fair to say that Botox delivers more bang for your buck!