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What’s Inside Botox?3 min read

Botox for fine lines and wrinkles
Picture of Dr. Phillip Chang

Dr. Phillip Chang

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

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Botox has been America’s go-to anti-aging answer for years. By diminishing wrinkle lines, folds, and unwanted creases, Botox has gained renown for it’s anti-aging and preventive aging abilities. It’s an injection procedure that’s minimally invasive and has little recovery downtime, making it both convenient and effective. However, most people don’t know the fascinating science behind Botox and how Botox works. 

Read below to learn more about the science behind Botox and find answers to other common Botox questions!

What is Botox Made Out of?

Botox (aka, Botulinum toxin) is a protein derived from a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which can be found in many organic substances like dirt, forests, lakes, and animal or fish intestinal tracts.  

Botox is a neurotoxin, meaning that it destroys nerve tissues by preventing a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine (which plays an important role in the nervous system) from being released from nervous axon endings at nerve synapses. This results in flaccid paralysis, which reduces muscle tones. An overdose of the botulinum toxin results in botulism, which is a very rare and fatal illness in which the body’s nervous system slowly shuts down entirely. 

Cosmetic Botox is a very small dose of botulinum toxin. Since it is a toxin, it temporarily paralyzes muscles. Botox has benefited many nerve and/or muscle disorders, as well as successfully help hide the signs of aging.

In Summary:  Botox is a naturally occurring toxin that can be harmful in large doses, although doctors and scientists use a very small dose to treat muscle and nervous system disorders as well as for cosmetic benefits.  

Is Botox Vegan?

Technically, Botox is vegan. It is a harvested bacterium. However, since it is a medical product, Botox is required by law to do safety testing on animals. Nonetheless, Botox and Juvederm company Allergen have been working to reduce animal testing by 95% within the next few years.

Is Cosmetic Botox Harmful?

While side effects are not common with Botox, mild symptoms like fever, headache, nausea, numbness, and temporary paralysis in nearby muscles is possible. 

Can I Be Allergic to Botox?

While it is rare, some people are allergic to Botox. Any of the side affects listed above, swelling, redness, itchiness, and other unusual symptoms may indicate an allergic reaction. It can take up to 2 days for these symptoms to manifest after injection. Allergy cases (which are rare to begin with) most often happen in patients who are receiving Botox in previously infected sites or who suffer from other bodily infections.

Is Botox "Rat Poison"?

Botox is a toxin, and in early testing it was tested on rats, however, it is not “rat poison”. It is an FDA approved toxin to treat medical disorders and anti-aging affects.

Is Botox Safe?

Yes, Botox is safe. Between 1989 and 2003, only 36 cases of side effects or complications were reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and at least 13 of those cases were results of pre-existing underlying conditions.

Ready to learn more?

If you’re wondering whether Botox may be the best cosmetic solution for you, we invite you to simply come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate. To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

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