Cosmetic treatments and injectables such as Botox are becoming widely acceptable in today’s times. While it was considered taboo just a few years before, now it’s gaining steam as more and more people are flocking to clinics getting different treatments.

Social media is a major catalyst to this. With the rise of influencers and international celebrities boasting perfectly-sculpted faces and wrinkle-free skin, the beauty standards of society may just have gone higher. Allergan’s recent data shows that 34% of U.S consumers say they always use apps to modify or erase something on their faces before posting a photo on social media – which is easily due to the variety of filters available. As for getting professional treatment, a whopping 98% of consumers worldwide generally say that they consider getting something at some point in their lives. As for Botox and dermal filler injections, 52% of consumers say that they consider getting injected in the future.

Putting the mass appeal of Botox aside, it’s not commonly known that Botox is only FDA-approved for specific purposes. Yet, Botox is used by many for its off-label functions. Read on to find out what off-label is, and why you should only get dermatological experts to administer Botox.

Explaining Botox and “Off-Label”

Botox stands for botulinum toxin, meaning it is, in fact, a dangerous toxin. It works by blocking nerve signals, causing even tiny amounts to result in paralysis or death through respiratory failure. With its blocking power, botulinum toxin is being considered by the U.S military as a potential biological weapon.

Don’t fear though, having Botox injected is in fact perfectly safe, provided that you get your treatment from doctors or medical practitioners who are professionally trained. It has many cosmetic and health-related applications. Now that you know what botulinum toxin really is, don’t just rush off to Botox parties or have it injected by someone who doesn’t have proper qualifications.

So, how can we use Botox according to the FDA?

Before the Food and Drug Administration approves the commercial release of any drug, rigorous and defined studies are conducted to prove a product’s efficacy and safety. When the drug is given the FDA’s seal of approval, there are specific indications, exact dosage instructions, and strict adherence to the “label”. The company can indeed promote this “label” to educate physicians and patients. However, doctors are legally allowed to recommend and use the drug in any manner that they deem safe and appropriate. This way of utilizing a product is what we call “off-label”.

Botox is FDA-approved for treating medical conditions such as overactive bladder, urinary continence, and upper and lower limb spasticity. It was only in 2002 when onobotulinumtoxinA was FDA-approved for the improvement of glabellar frown lines, which is the area between the eyebrows. Similarly, abootuniumtoxinA was approved in 2009, and IncobotulinumtoxinA was approved in 2011. These were FDA-approved all for the purpose of improving glabellar lines.

Nevertheless, Botox is used for many off-label purposes, both medically and cosmetically.

Off-Label Uses of Botox

Medically, Botox can be used to treat axillary hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating in different areas like armpits, soles, palms, and others. Furthermore, the effects of Botox in relieving migraines also seem to work wonderfully well.

Cosmetically, Botox can be injected in numerous areas on the face. It can soften crow’s feet, shape brows, lift brows, define jaws, lift the nose tip, lower the upper lip (gummy smile), eliminate “golf ball” chin, and reduce lines around the mouth. Botox can also be used to reduce bunny lines on the side of the nose and diminish vertical bands on the neck. In addition, doctors have been injecting Botox on the lower cheeks to give the illusion of a slimmer face. Recently, the potential effect of Botox in treating acne is being observed in many cases.

When administered properly, Botox can do wonders on the skin. It’s a procedure done in minutes, with absolutely no downtime.

How do you know it’s safe?

One must be properly trained and licensed to inject Botox. Though it seems like an easy process, the physician needs to understand anatomy and the movement of muscles in isolation and in relation to other muscles. Furthermore, he/she must be able to observe and analyze each patient’s facial characteristics at rest, at normal animation, and at exaggerated animation.

That being said, it’s absolutely imperative to get injected only by licensed professionals inside a proper clinic. If you’re considering getting Botox, or any other cosmetic treatment, be sure that it’s administered by a highly-qualified professional with a history of great experience.