Botulinum Toxin or "Botox"? An explanation.

Clostridium botulinum toxin (Type A) is a neurotoxin, which has been used in the UK for medical purposes since 1989. Today, it is commonly used to treat wrinkles on the face. As we talk, smile and frown, our facial muscles are constantly working, and over time, wrinkles develop in the skin around these muscles. Botulinum toxin works by relaxing the muscles in the face, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and preventing further wrinkles from developing.

Anti-wrinkle treatments using botulinum toxin have become increasingly popular for many reasons; the treatment time required is generally no more than half an hour and the results appear within three to ten days. As no down-time is required following a treatment, it is ideal for those with a busy lifestyle.

While it is commonly referred to as "Botox", it is important to remember that this is actually a brand name. Botox was the first brand of botulinum toxin to be used for cosmetic purposes, which is why this name is most commonly used. Many people talk about having "Botox injections", when what they actually mean is they have botulinum toxin injections; they may be treated with Botox, or they may be treated with Bocouture or Azzalure, which are two other brands of Botulinum Toxin widely used in the UK.

When undergoing any kind of anti wrinkle treatment, you should ensure that your practitioner is using an authentic, licensed brand of botulinum toxin, from a reputable pharmacy or manufacturer and that they have been trained and are experienced in using this product. As the three products each have slightly different properties, results can vary from person to person, which is why it is vital to find out from your practitioner which brand they are using - if you were to ever be treated by a different practitioner or at different clinic in the future, it would be useful for them to know what product has previously been used and whether it gave you the desired results.

This article was written by nurse practitioner Laura Hatton.