Sonya Bass, CH
In the quest for eternal youth, it seems people will do just about anything and pay any price-even if it means shelling out hundreds of dollars to have bacteria injected between their brows! Botox injections are a booming business in North America..
In the quest for eternal youth, it seems people will do just about anything and pay any price even if it means shelling out hundreds of dollars to have bacteria injected between their brows! Botox injections are a booming business in North America. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, almost 900,000 people in the US underwent this cosmetic treatment in 2001.
Botox, the brand name for a strain of neurotoxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, was first approved in the '80s for medical use as a relaxant for cervical dystonia (a neurological disorder causing neck spasm) and to correct strabismus (crossed eyes). Related to botulism, a type of food poisoning, Botox produces much the same effect, attaching to nerve endings and causing muscle paralysis.
The theory is, if you can't move your face, you won't get wrinkles. This toxin is most popular for frown lines between the eyes, but it's also used on the forehead where repeatedly raised eyebrows cause horizontal wrinkles, and on "crow's feet" at the corners of the eyes. The smooth look lasts about four to six months.
Botulism can actually cause death, usually from respiratory failure. Though Botox injected into a wrinkle is localized to the area of injection, some of the possible side-effects are classic, though milder, symptoms of botulism, including drooping eyelids, flu-like symptoms, nausea, neck pain, headaches, muscle weakness and respiratory infections. Because Botox has only recently been approved for cosmetic use (Health Canada approved it in April 2001), the long-term effects are not known.
Cosmetic Botox Injections
Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2001
Natural Botox Alternatives
Let's face it: injecting a strain of botulism in your face is a bit extreme. Before you think about following this fad, try these less drastic measures to smooth your worried brow.
De-Stress Your Face
A tense look and furrowed brow are sure signs you're having a stressful day. When you feel your face tensing, take a deep breath. As you exhale, let the muscles in your face and shoulders relax. Appreciate how much better that feels than hunched-up shoulders and a wrinkled brow!
The best thing you can do to prevent wrinkles is not fret so much about getting them. Relax, unwind and enjoy life a smile is the simplest way to look years younger, and it will prevent you from getting those frown lines in the first place!
Plump it up
When the cells of the skin are hydrated, they are plump and healthy. But if you're not getting enough hydration, wrinkles can develop. Coffee, black tea, pop and alcohol are all diuretics that encourage the body to release water. Instead, drink plenty of pure water and herbal teas.
Cover it up
Sunburn is very damaging to the skin, whether you're on a sunny hoooooooliday or out on the ski hills. If you're on the beach, wear a light cotton shirt to protect your shoulders and the delicate skin of the neck. A wide-brimmed hat, now very fashionable, is a must for the days when you are out enjoying sun. If you're on the slopes, winter sunshine is deceptively strong, especially if it's reflecting off snow. Wear a baseball cap or brimmed hat, and look for naturally based sunblocks that contain skin-friendly essential oils, available at health food stores.
Topically applied lotions will assist the skin to retain moisture. Look for natural skin care products that contain hyaluronic acid, a natural component of the skin that works to increase permeability of skin tissues, allowing lotions to be readily absorbed.
With age, the production of hyaluronic acid decreases, but aloe vera naturally has similar properties, with the added benefits of healing and regenerating skin cells. Other natural remedies that can assist the skin cells in retaining moisture are pantothenate, a B vitamin, and vitamin E. Look for these skin protectors on the labels of the naturally based lotions and creams you purchase.