We all know that botulinum toxin (the substance used for anti-wrinkle injections) is fantastic at smoothing lines and wrinkles caused by muscle movement and the ageing process, but there’s so much more to this wonder drug. And yes – it is a drug, hence why you can only get it on prescription and why only those with a prescribing qualification can let you have it.
Anyway, botulinum toxin was first created for health indications, and it wasn’t until the late 80s that doctors found that it also worked brilliantly for cosmetic applications. It’s still commonly used to treat medical issues like muscle spasticity and hypertrophy, excessive sweating, teeth grinding, and stress urinary incontinence. Here are some lesser-known areas you can have injected with toxin and how it helps.
1. Neck/ shoulders
South Korean women first starting having toxin injected into the trapezius muscles (the ones that connect the back of the head and the neck to the shoulders) to shape them into a more ‘feminine’ silhouette. Now, while we absolutely do not agree that a slimmer body is a more feminine one, toxin is an option if your trapezius muscles are particularly big or hypertrophic – which can be caused by bad posture or over exercise – and you’d like them to look smaller.
In the same way toxin is used to slim the appearance of trapezius muscles, it can be injected into the calves to relax the muscles, making them look less prominent and muscly. However, we do know that a lot of toxin over a long period of time can begin to weaken muscles, so you may want to be more conservative with how often you repeat treatment in the legs.
It might make you squeam to think of injections into your bladder, but toxin has a high success rate for relieving stress urinary incontinence, which affects women more than men. When the bladder is overactive the urge to urinate once it contracts becomes difficult to control. Toxin relaxes the bladder and stops it from contracting so strongly, and it starts to work in just a few days.
4. Armpits and hands
No one particularly wants to sweat even a little bit. So, if you’re unfortunate enough to sweat excessively (known as hyperhidrosis), it’s a pretty annoying and often embarrassing problem. Toxin in the armpits can help by blocking the nerve signals that tell the sweat glands to sweat from getting through, stopping them from producing sweat. It’s a very straightforward treatment that can be life-changing for people who suffer. We’re told its popular with people with sweaty palms, so they can offer a reassuring, dry handshake – even though we’re all shaking hands less than we used to.
People who find themselves clenching their jaw excessively or grinding their teeth often look to toxin for help. It’s injected into the masseter (jaw) muscle to relax it and reduce wear and tear on the teeth from excessive grinding. Many teeth-grinders and jaw-clenchers find that their jaw appears bigger and more muscly as a result, so toxin can also help aesthetically to slim down the jawline.
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