In the last decade or so, botulinum toxin (also known as Botox) has garnered itself a great reputation for its safety and efficacy in smoothing wrinkles. It really does deserve its place as a gold standard anti-ageing “go-to”. Thing is, because it’s so good at its job in the aesthetic world, people don’t realise it was actually developed for therapeutic use.

The origin of botulinum toxin begins in Belgium in the early 1920s. It was there that scientists discovered clostridium botulinum, a bacterium responsible for causing a paralytic illness known as botulism. Twenty years later, in the 70s, a new generation of scientists would figure out a way to isolate the bacterium’s paralysing element, botulism toxin, and start putting it to good use. Initially experiments included correcting strabismus (crossed eyes) in monkeys, during which dramatic wrinkle-smoothing was noticed as a “side effect”! You can then fast forward to 2002 where, after many years of off-label use for aesthetic purposes, botulinum toxin gets FDA approval for official use for cosmetic purposes, with several more medical applications to follow.

So, wrinkles aside, what else can botulinum toxin treat? Here are just a few of its other uses and some of them might surprise you.

Excessive sweating

Hyperhidrosis is a condition characterised by uncontrollable sweating. In the past, treatment options where either nerve surgery or a life resigned to using clinical strength anti-perspirant after several showers a day.

Now, however, thanks to botulinum toxin that can block the nerves responsible for activating the sweat glands, patients can get real relief without having to resort to surgery. If you’re interested, chat to your doctor at Skin Renewal. We treat hyperhidrosis affecting underarms, hands, feet and more and the results last between three to for four months.

Headaches

Tension and migraine headaches are still not well understood. Still, when many patients getting botulinum toxin for wrinkles told their doctors that it was also helping reduce the severity of their headaches, researches started running tests. In one study, nearly half the people given two rounds of Botox shots reported that their monthly headache days were reduced by half. After five rounds of treatment, the number of people reporting this relief increased to 70-percent.

Doctors believe it’s working because botulinum toxin blocks the neurotransmitters that carry the pain signal to your brain. Again, botulinum toxin for migraine relief is something we offer at Skin Renewal and treatment usually lasts between six and nine months.

Gummy smile

Yep, it’s true! At Skin Renewal we use botulinum toxin to correct a gummy smile. All this in-and-out treatment requires is just a few quick and painless shots delivered on either side of your nose and just above your lip. The goal is to relax your mouth to the point that you can smile, but aren’t able to lift your lip as high, so you don’t expose your gums.

While it takes about a week to kick in, our patients love the results and return every four months to maintain their locks. As it requires so little botulinum toxin, this particular treatment is very easy on the pocket.

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