Botox beautiful-the real truth

Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman are just some of Hollywood stars whose recent ‘plumped-up’ looks many suspect could be attributed to botox. When it comes to beauty, Hollywood leads and the rest of the world follows. But is botox a beauty trend that is worth the risk? It could be, provided the pitfalls are recognised. Nicolette Dirk spoke to Dr Dominique Stott, executive of medical standards and services at PPS, about the real truth of botox beauty.

How did botox originate?
Botulinum toxin is a protein and neurotoxin, which is produced by bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. The bacteria is commonly found in fish or meat that is not prepared properly.In adverse conditions the bacteria form spores which will produce toxin when they germinate. Ingesting the bacteria orally is fatal to humans.

A physician named Justin Kerner, first conceived a possible therapeutic use of botulinum toxin and called it botulism. In the late 1980’s it became refined enough to be used to treat eye problems, chronic headaches and cerebral palsy. Doctors later developed the aesthetic use for it where the paralysis of facial muscles made the skin appear smoother.
According to Dr Stott it has become increasingly popular in South Africa as well because it is a less invasive and expensive procedure than the traditional facelift with excellent results provided, certain provisos are met.

What type of qualifications does a medical expert in South Africa need to do this procedure?
Despite the fact that the procedure is done for aesthetic purposes, this does not mean that your local beautician can administer your anti-wrinkle treatment. Dr Stott says that the injection dosage must be administered by a qualified doctor or dentist, preferably one who has done a training course in administering botox.

“The exact amount must be injected or it can be fatal. Sometimes a client can develop an allergic reaction which is why it is important that someone with medical expertise administers the injections,” says Stott.

What are the medical dangers of botox?
She adds that Iit is also important that before you go for the procedure, you inform the doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions. Although it has never happened in South Africa, Stott says there have been cases where clients, who have not disclosed their medical conditions prior to the botox treatment, became seriously ill and some have died.

“Some allergic reactions can take place soon after a procedure, but others can take days to develop. The reactions can vary from blurred vision to system failure,” says Stott.

Is it safe to have botox injections at parties?
There are several beauty institutes around the country that have jumped on the botox band wagon and now offer botox parties for their clients. But Dr Stott says caution needs to be taken when it comes to injecting this potentially toxic substance.

“It is very important that a medical practitioner administers these injections at these beauty salons. It will be a dangerous scenario where a group of women sit around at a so-called botox part stabbing each other with needles in the forehead. The dosage administered and the site it is injected into, is very important because you need to remember that a toxin is being injected into your face,” says Dr Stott.

So are botox injections practical and safe?
If you are willing to pay between R1500 and R2000 for a procedure, Stott says it is a less painful option to the more brutal plastic surgery. Since its aesthetic introduction in the 1980’s, there have been no cases of people developing antibodies to the toxin.

You will likely have to go two to three times a year to ‘freshen up’ your look because unlike plastic surgery it is not a permanent solution to reverse the effects of time. But after a few procedures your wrinkles will start disappearing, which is something to smile about-if you can.