Botulinum Toxin in Cosmetics
Nowadays, chemicals can be found in almost everything – food, drugs, cloths, cosmetics, and others. The ingredients used in cosmetics draw particular attention as women use beauty products every day and adhere to different procedures in order to prolong their youth and stay attractive at any age. Cosmetic surgeries and almost non-invasive interventions became a usual practice as many people undergo them to remain beautiful. Botox injections belong to the list of such procedures since every year the number of people making them increases. However, only a small part of them knows that such wrinkle-flattening shots are made of Botulinum toxin – an extremely poisonous substance, little amount of which can kill everyone on earth. Even though humans learned to use its toxicity for good, they need to be aware Botox in cosmetics as many of them will definitely make injections to preserve beauty at any cost. Used in beauty-preserving industry, the chemical shows substantial results – it either flattens the wrinkles or paralyses the facial muscles, taking what remains from beauty away for the rest of person’s life.
Botulinum toxin is a lethal chemical substance causing botulism – the disease that ends many lives. Botulism occurs as a result of the bacteria that produces toxic substance (Jimenez). People can acquire it from canned food, products that are not preserved in a proper way, as it is a perfect environment for Botulinum bacteria development. The infection penetrates to the organism through the wound (Jimenez), however, infecting through consumption of poisoned food is also possible. The situation becomes more complicated due to the fact that the bacteria can produce different types of toxins and each of them acts in a different way. If one is infected, it is important to find out the type of toxin to prescribe the most appropriate treatment. Thus, Botulinum toxin, which causes botulism, is an extremely dangerous substance.
Despite the fact that the toxin is a deadly poison, humans learned to use if for peaceful purposes. Wendell Berry, in his work “Preserving Wildness” states that “people divide all reality into two parts: human good, which they define as profit, comfort, and security; and everything else, which they understand as a stockpile of “natural resources” or “raw materials,” which will sooner or later be transformed into human good” (517). Berry means that people have learned and keep learning to turn everything into something useful. Thus, they managed to make a deadly poison serve as a treatment since Botulinum toxin can be used in medicine. Chang et al., for example, indicate that Botulinum toxin injections improve scar quality in the patients who undergo cleft lip repair. These people suffer from being noticed due to big red scar they have on their faces – from nose to upper lip. Botulinum toxin products remove redness and flatten sharp edges. Also, drugs made of this chemical substance are extremely effective for treatment of diplopia (Isaac, Catai Chalita, & Pinto 213), which is a side effect some patients have after Botox shots. Surprisingly enough, the properly chosen dose of the chemical can diminish the manifestations of this outcome. Al Gore, in his Speech at the Kyoto Climate Change Conference, indicates: “We want to forge a lasting relationship to achieve a better future” (857). Although Al Gore talks about climate change, his words can be true regarding to many aspects, including Botulinum toxin use in daily life. Like snakes’ poison, Botulinum toxin is now applied to cure people. The lasting relationship between deadly substance and people has been introduced. Even though medical application of the substance is not rare, cosmetic uses of Botulinum toxin derivatives is more popular.
The application of Botulinum toxin has become a real breakthrough in cosmetology. Healthcare providers use it on a daily basis as Botox shots are proved to reverse some aging processes. Not only stars have special injections in order to look better and conceal the manifestation of their physical age. Ordinary people are willing to pay much money for such “beauty-returning injections” as well. Hexsel et al., for example, indicate that the shots to face, neck, and décolleté have great effects as they reverse and slow down aging processes by flattening wrinkles (60). In addition to this, Bonaparte et al. state that cosmetology has developed to the extent that three different Botox formulas were developed on the basis of this substance and all of them are actively used to flatten wrinkles. Therefore, scientific discoveries enabled cosmetologists to use deadly poisons to make people look better.
Botulinum toxin is reported to result not only in visible appearance changes. Fink and Prager (38) indicate that the changes that cosmetologists grant to women with the help of Botox injections lead to positive psychological alterations of their patients. Fink and Prager insist that flattened wrinkles make women perceive their age, appearance and health in a different, more positive way (38). A woman sees that she is beautiful and consequently starts feeling better. For this reason, one might claim that application of Botulinum toxin in cosmetology has many positive outcomes as in addition to appearance amendments, patients demonstrate positive psychological changes.
Even though Botulinum toxin is actively used to cure people and bring their beautiful appearance back, it still remains a deadly poison. If the dose is higher than allowed and if a person has contraindications, “peaceful” Botox shots that are so appreciated by beauty stalkers can actually kill a patient. In some conditions in cosmetology, such chemical substance can lead to “asthenia, generalized muscle weakness, diplopia, ptosis, dysphagia, dysphonia, dysarthria, urinary incontinence, and breathing difficulties” (Medication Guide). Moreover, due to the fact that medications containing the Botulinum toxin are classified as neuromodulators (Nguyen et al. 145e), Botox shots can aggravate some chronic undiagnosed conditions. Another risk is the transmission of pin site infections and viral illnesses such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (Medication Guide) – a fatal degenerative disorder that is not treated. Even though the Medication Guide states that the risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease spread is very remote, there is such possibility. Therefore, adherence to Botox injections as the means to stay young can be extremely dangerous.
Death and deadly diseases are not the only complications that patients having Botox shots might develop. Haenzi et al. conducted a research, which proved that Botox injections can cause loss of perception in many patients, especially when the dose is higher than allowed (120). People who adhere to medications containing Botulinum toxin used in cosmetology are also reported to develop diplopia (double vision) (Isaac, Catai Chalita, & Pinto 214). Anyway, double vision is treated with the same poisonous substance. Extracts from Botulinum toxin, used in cosmetology, are reported to paralyze facial muscles and diminish their activity (Havas et al. 895). Diminished activity slows down aging processes (Hexsel et al. 60; Nguyen et al. 145e). However, it often results in distorted emotions. In other terms, the Botulinum toxin found in Botox shots have a negative influence on the processing of emotional language (Havas et al. 897). In their pursuits of lost beauty, people often become the victims of the marketing techniques and trust cosmetologists that neither can ensure positive result for the clients nor even guarantee that they will stay alive after procedures with Botulinum toxin products application.
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To conclude, modern cosmetology has developed to such extent that even deadly poisons can be used to bring back fresh look and beautiful appearance. Botulinum toxin is one of such substances. The injections made of the toxin, known as Botox shots, are extremely effective in flattening wrinkles, improving scar quality in the patients who undergo cleft lip repair and diplopia treatment. Beautiful appearance achieved with Botox shots application amends the psychological state. However, Botulinum toxin use in cosmetics has numerous side effects. The most dangerous one is death as the toxin can stimulate adverse organism reactions. Moreover, people receiving Botox injections can develop double vision, muscle paralysis, distortion of emotional language processing, loss of perception, and many others. Due to the fact that possible negative reactions and outcomes are extremely dangerous, people are recommended to avoid having Botox shots. However, their desire to be young and beautiful is often stronger than the fear to die, so Botulinum toxin remains often used in cosmetology.
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