Botulinum Toxins: From Poison to Cosmetology


Botulinum toxin, also known as “miracle toxin, ” is a neurotoxin secreted by botulinum bacteria. This toxin can block the neuronal signals responsible for muscle contraction and result in temporary paralysis of that muscle. Two types of botulinum toxin (i.e., A & B) have been extensively studied and used in cosmetology and beauty with astonishing results and outcomes. This toxin first gained popularity due to its lethal poisoning potency, then became a must-have substance used in the modern aesthetic practice and anti-aging medicine (read more about anti-aging medicine here).

History of Botulinum Toxin

Botulinum toxin has an exciting and long history and has affected humankind since the beginning of history. The first reported botulism toxicity dates back to 1735, when several German villagers died after consuming “Blunzen,” a popular sausage made from pork stomach filled with blood and spices. Dr. Kerner, a German physician, was the first scientist to study Botulinum and named it “sausage poison.” He also discovered that this poison would be deactivated in the presence of salt or heat.

In the twentieth century, when the food canning industry started to bloom, food poisoning became a life-threatening epidemy. Later, a group of scientists discovered that Botulinum acts by blocking neuromuscular signal transmission. Known as the most poisonous substance in history, Botulinum was used in biological warfare during WWII.

Four decades later, the scientists discovered that this toxin could also be used therapeutically. In 1989, Botox® was approved by FDA to treat blepharospasm, strabismus, and hemifacial spams in children younger than 12 years. In 2002, FDA approved the cosmetic application of Botox® to improve the appearance of glabellar lines, and in July 2004, it was approved to cure axillary hyperhidrosis. Botox is an off-label remedy for gummy smile, eyebrow lifts, and even depression in cosmetology.

Use of Botulinum in Aesthetic Practices

Botulinum toxin is widely used in aesthetic and cosmetology practices to reduce the wrinkles and lines at the forehead (forehead rhytids), lips (peroral lip lines), crow’s feet (smile lines), and glabellar lines between the two eyebrows. Botulinum injections are also attractive options to treat the indentation lines on either side of the mouth, also known as nasolabial folds. This miracle toxin has also been used to treat platysmal bands on either side of the neck, dimple chin, and facial sculpting to change the contour of the face.

Commercial Botulinum preparations are constituted with normal saline in predetermined doses for each target muscle and application. The application of Botulinum is associated with minimal side effects such as swelling, pain at the injection site, and skin redness. Its cosmetic results will appear 3 to 4 days after application and last for 3 to 4 months. Repeated injections of Botulinum are known to be safe and yield excellent, long-lasting results. The preparations of Botulinum in the United States are sold under the trademarks of Dysport, Botox, Xeomin, and Neurobloc/Myobloc.

Botulinum (Botox)
Botulinum (Botox) is widely used variety of non-invasive facial rejuventation approaches

Botulinum injections can be used in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures. Contrary to skill-oriented, expensive aesthetic approaches such as surgical facelifts, lasers, and dermal fillers, Botulinum injections are relatively cheap and patient- and doctor-friendly. The discovery of this miracle toxin and its journey from being a lethal biological substance to the cosmetologists’ best friend changed the field of aesthetics and cosmetology.

Botulinum injections are among the most common and most popular non-invasive cosmetic operations in the United States compared to other invasive anti-aging modalities. This method is easier to perform and yields noticeable results in a shorter period of time. The Botulinum toxin industry projected sales in the next few years estimated to be worth billions of dollars. Every day, new applications for Botulinum are introduced to the cosmetic markets by cosmetologists and physicians. As famous Swiss doctor Paracelsus said, “All substances are poisons; there is no substance that is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy.”

At our Centre of Wellness, we offer our clients a wide range of cosmetology and beauty online courses. By taking these courses, you will get an insight into the basics and principles of cosmetology and skincare. Contact us today, and our representatives will help you find the best options to help you start and further your career as a beautician and skincare specialist.

Centre of Wellness