What is Botox, exactly?

As a Botox injector since 2009, I have heard just about everything people think Botox is. “Is it Botulism? How can this be safe? My aunt’s friend had half of her face permanently paralyzed from Botox.” Part of me wants to say sometimes, “Honestly, do you think I would make my career about injecting something so dangerous?”

There are a lot of scary things online about Botox and this phenomena is no different than any other overblown story you hear without all the facts. Sure, there are warnings on the medication from the FDA. And for that, we are grateful to understand the findings of this medication, as it has been studied since the 1950s. Yes, it’s that old and was actually coined the name “Botox” in 1977. With this fact, you can see that this is a drug we know a lot about. A lot.

There are several different types of botulinum toxin, none of which are alike or have the same properties. The Clostridium botulinum bacteria was discovered in 1897. Botox is the PURIFIED protein of the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. This means, there is nothing living in this protein that could “infect” you and cause you to contract botulism from being injected with Botox. This remarkable fact about Botox reminds me a lot of the story of penicillin being derived from mold, creating a purified form to be used as an amazing medication – antibiotics. As a society, we do not discuss the fact that penicillin is derived from a mold which is something that could make us sick; and we trust the years of research and know of people personally, as well as ourselves, who have taken antibiotics with no concern.

All medications are to be respected and used appropriately. If any medication is given or taken in access, adverse effects can happen. Therefore, Botox is to be respected and only administered by a trained medical professional. Along those lines, there are injectors that are using other forms of clostridium bacteria (as they are cheaper) that have not undergone the years of research and FDA approval as Botox. These may be where the horror stories are derived. Make sure that you see what you are being injected with and know the difference.

Botox is a very safe, tried, and true medication and is nothing to be concerned about in the hands of an expert aesthetic medical professional.

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