- $170 for 20 units of Botox ($320 value)
Botox: Biochemically Calming the Nerves
Botox’s fading of fine lines might seem like magic, but the truth is more scientific. Learn how a formerly deadly toxin helps faces stay fresh with this Groupon guide.
Many fine lines on the face are caused by contractions of muscles just beneath the skin. When we smile, laugh, or imitate a goldfish over and over during the course of the day, we deepen these dynamic wrinkles into more noticeable creases. Botox works by relaxing some of these muscles, resting the skin so that the lines have a chance to fade.
The agent for this transformation is botulinum toxin A, one of several paralytic substances secreted by the bacteria that causes botulism. Though a botulism infection can be fatal, the toxins in Botox Cosmetic are carefully purified and administered in small, controlled amounts that won’t spread to other parts of the body. (Most cosmetic procedures use less than 1/175th of a fatal dose.) This allows medical professionals to target specific wrinkle-causing muscles for injection, without affecting the rest of the face.
On a chemical level, botulinum toxin A relaxes muscles by blocking the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that tells muscles when to contract. It does this by chopping up a protein called SNAP-25 that is necessary to bridge the gap between different nerve endings. Without SNAP-25, the acetylcholine can’t carry its message from nerve cell to nerve cell. The affected muscle is still capable of moving, but, like a child whose school photographer left the room and forgot to come back, it just doesn’t know that it’s supposed to. Since botulinum toxin A doesn’t cause permanent nerve damage, Botox’s effects wear off once nerve endings regrow, usually in three to four months.