Next month sees Botox’s birthday: it will be 12 years since it was approved for the treatment of lines between the eyebrows.
It’s a huge market. By 2018, it is estimated that the anti-ageing procedure will be worth $2.9bn globally. In America there’s been an increase of over 700% in treatments since 2000, and the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery recently attributed the rise of the “selfie” in contributing to our fixation with our faces. The Guardian wrote “the main reason more and more people are paying for ‘injectables’ is that they have got cheaper and more accessible, and the stigma around graduating from a moisturiser to a needle has evaporated.”
Botox was approved in 1989 for treating uncontrolled blinking, and in the year 2000 for spasms of the neck. Its uses continue to evolve, too, with the advent of research in stroke victims and those who suffer from extreme arousal.
Conversations around injectables are improving in a more general sense, too, with safety, advertising and cash the topics du jour.
The Advertising Standards Agency recently banned Botox adverts from two leading aesthetic companies for contravening ASA regulation – the advertising of the substance is taken very seriously. Most doctors subscribe to the notion that Botox is a medicine, and should only be marketed as a substance to be administered by medical professionals.
Botox works by temporarily weakening the muscles that gather the skin into folds, making it “crease-proof”, and preventing wrinkles from becoming established. It is a temporary measure that wears off after about four to six months, after which patients will need a “top up.”
There are thousands of studies as testimony to the safety of Botox, and for the face only a tiny amount is used – it’s actually about one tenth of what a patient would receive to use say, cerebral palsy.