Who doesn’t know someone who’s gotten a Botox treatment? The beauty treatment has become ubiquitous and commonplace among celebrities and us regular folk alike. USA today has dubbed Botox the “little neurotoxin that could” which serves to remind us about Botox’s deadly origin. The path from dangerous food-borne bacteria to popular beauty treatment makes for an interesting read. Enjoy!
In the early 1800s, scientist Justinus Kerner began to study a batch of sausages thought to be responsible for the death of dozens of people in Germany. His experiments and case studies led to a better understanding of the neurological symptoms of food-borne botulism (muscle weakness, droopy eyelids, difficulty swallowing, and if left untreated, paralysis and death).
This type of food-borne illness was studied again over 50 years later by scientist Dr. Emile Pierre van Ermengem of Belgium. He named the bacteria responsible for the food-borne illness, Bacillus Botulinus.
In the 1940s, the US began researching methods of creating biological warfare. The deadly Bacillus Botulinim was considered although was not used.
In the 1960s, scientists like Dr. Alan B. Scott were experimenting with the toxin for possible medical and therapeutic uses and almost two decades later, the FDA approved the first medical use. The drug maker who acquired the right of distribution, renamed it the more catchy, “Botox”. Botox was now being used to treat cross eyes (Strabismus) as well as chronic facial and body spasms.
As time passed, more medical uses were being discovered for Botox. One physician, Dr. Jean Carruthers noticed that her patients who received treatment of the eyes, also saw an improvement in their appearance. She published her findings in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology in the 1990s…and the rest as they say is history !
Dermatologists around the country took note and began offering the treatment to their patients. By the late 90’s, the demand for Botox took off and was far exceeding the supply.
Today, Botox remains a popular and effective treatment for plumping up your pout as well as reducing wrinkles.
If you’re considering trying Botox or to learn more about this treatment, please schedule a consultation with one of our skilled aestheticians.