Vanity, Thy Name Is…Botox

While you may not have personal experience with it or personally know someone who has, you certainly have heard of Botox and understand, in the most superficial and general sense, what it is used for – in the cosmetic industry, at least.

Botox is onabotulinum toxin A, a neurotoxic protein, also known as the bacteria clostridium botulinum.  A bacterial infection causes the disease botulismBotulinum toxins are the most lethal toxins on the planet, and have been weaponized by several countries (including the United States) to be used as an agent in chemical and biological warfare.

There are seven types of botulinum toxin, A through G, and there are three type A preparations that are commercially available in the U.S.  Females who succumb to vanity and find unbearable the prospect of maturing into a woman often seek injections of one of these preparations, onabotulinum toxin A (aka: Botox) to reduce visible wrinkles, plump up their lips, smooth out frown lines, and chase away alleged migraine headaches.

It should be a cause for grave concern to those who hold affection for these women (and men) who seek out Botox as a solution to the inevitable fact of aging.  After all, these vanity-stricken, mid-life crisis encountering, superficial and shallow ‘skin deep’ beauties are willingly going under the needle, so to speak, to have the most lethal toxin known to humanity injected into their bodies.

“Oh, it’s perfectly safe…”

Is it?  When is it ever perfectly safe to have a deadly neurotoxin injected into your body?  Regardless of what you are using Botox for – facial wrinkles, overactive bladder, migraine headaches, involuntary muscle contractions, or other physical conditions – it is considered a skeletal muscle relaxant and is an extremely powerful paralytic.  This means that it works (when it does work) by paralyzing your muscles.

Your frown lines don’t magically disappear.  They get paralyzed into submission.  Muscle contractions and cramps aren’t magically healed.  They are paralyzed to the point where they cannot contract or cramp.  Migraines do not magically ease themselves.  The cranial nerves and muscles are being poisoned and paralyzed to mask the migraine.

For the sake of ‘beauty’ you will voluntarily poison and paralyze your body?  The horror story testimonials from actual Botox users, just for urinary infrequency, should scare you away.  There are plenty of other nightmare tales and testimonials relating to Botox use for a variety of conditions.

“It won’t happen to me…”

Some of the biggest health risks relating to the cosmetic or therapeutic use of onabotulinum toxin A (which also causes human botulism) include facial paralysis, inability to chew or swallow, breathing difficulties, muscle spasms, inability to completely close your eyes, bruising at the injection site(s), pain in the surrounding skin tissue and muscle, urinary tract infections, hypertension, flu-like symptoms and fever.

Those are just the more common side effects.  The complete list of side effects includes over 40 different conditions and consequences.

You may think it won’t happen to you.  Your injectionist, who should certainly not be called a ‘doctor’ in even the loosest sense of the word, has no control whatsoever over whether or not the injected toxin will spread to other muscle and tissue.  Precise and very localized injection points do not – in any way – guarantee safety.

Here’s what can happen to you…

Ah, the price we pay for the fleeting illusion of beauty.

One particularly naive young woman, in an article penned for Allure about what happens when you have a Botox injection, displayed her naivety by stating that diluting the botulinum toxin crystals with saline (which is done prior to injection) ‘effectively [takes] out any noxious capabilities‘ of the toxin – but then goes on to explain that efficacy is achieved because the now-dormant (according to her) toxin paralyzes your muscles.  Doesn’t exactly sound like the ‘noxious capabilities’ have been removed when the result of injection is the very capability for which the toxin is being injected in the first place.

It should also be noted (especially by the alluringly gullible Allure author mentioned above) that onabotulinum toxin type A (aka: Botox) is the most potent toxin in the clostridium botulinum family and is fully activated by the bacteria that produces it.

One unit of onabotulinum toxin type A (aka: Botox) has a lethal dose value of 50 (often cited as ‘LD50’) which means that it kills 50% of a group of female Swiss-Webster mice.  Typical Botox injections consist of 50 to 500 units of the toxin.

Oh yes, the naive Allure author also stated that Botox injections do not move or roam throughout your body and that the toxin stays put exactly where it was injected.  Another falsehood.  A 2016 study has shown that Botox does have the capability to roam in your body.  That information, however, is far from new, as is the concern surrounding it…

The concern that this powerful toxin can move beyond the injection site was reinforced in 2009, when the Food and Drug Administration added a prominent warning to prescribing information “to highlight that botulinum toxin may spread from the area of injection to produce symptoms consistent with botulism.”

By the numbers…

The Botox industry is expected to reach $3 billion by 2018, and botulinum toxin injections are the most common cosmetic procedure in the world (6.3 million procedures alone just in the United States in 2013).

Just 50 grams of botulinum toxin could kill every human being on the planet.

The FDA publicly acknowledged the risk of death due to use of Botox as early as 2008, after several children had died as a result of being treated with Botox for various ailments.  Adults deaths have occurred just as frequently, and as early as 2005.  There have also been lawsuits relating to deaths caused from use of Botox in adults and children.

[In 2007] Allergan received [a consultant’s report relating to the safety of Botox], the report listed 207 incidents of possible Botox-related ailments. When Allergan [the manufacturers of Botox] submitted the revised report to the FDA, it listed only 25 incidents. In the same manner, the number of possible Botox-related deaths on the list was cut from seven to none.

Ultimately…

If you are so vain, shallow, and insecure that you have to attempt to improve your outward physical appearance (with injections of the most lethal substance on the planet) just to feel like you are attractive to yourself and others, you don’t need Botox – you need therapy.  Lots of it.

Christmas packages are pretty on the outside, too…but the wrappings are forgotten almost immediately when the package is opened, and they get thrown away at the end of the day.

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