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Botox: America’s most popular cosmetic procedure turns 10

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In the 1820s, a doctor named Justinus Kerner conducted a study that led him to discovering a bacteria called botulinum, which he believed to be nothing more than a poison. More than 100 years later, doctors purified this toxin and it became Botox, the substance we all know and love today as the injectable than can make wrinkles disappear and help a person look years younger. Now, Botox is celebrating its 10th birthday as being one of the most popular cosmetic procedure in America.

Recently, WPTV in Florida published a brief history of Botox injections as a cosmetic procedure to mark this milestone.

Botox received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 15, 2002, mainly for use on lines between the brows. Since then, doctors have been discovering all sorts of purposes for Botox injections, some cosmetic and some not. For example, Total Beauty states that professionals have used Botox injections to cure migraine headaches and ease severe underarm sweating, two conditions that can seriously impact a person’s quality of life.

WPTV went on to say that since receiving FDA approval, Botox has ranked the most common cosmetic procedure year after year. Approximately 5.7 million Americans had the injections in 2011, 518 percent more than the 1.1 million who had the injections in 2002.

Botox has even been able to survive the economic recession, where so many other cosmetic procedures have failed.

“We’ve seen our Botox numbers go up pretty much every year. Maybe people are coming a little less frequently, but more people are coming and they’re doing more areas,” said Kenneth Beer, a West Palm Beach, Florida dermatologist, quoted by WPTV.

Fredric Brandt, a dermatologist in Miami, told the news source that Botox is “the biggest revolution in cosmetology and dermatology in the last 30 years.” The news source stated that Botox is a purified form of botulinum toxin type A, which is a potentially fatal natural poison. There’s nothing to worry about, however, because in small doses the the toxin simply temporarily paralyzes small muscles that cause lines and wrinkles. Typically, Botox injections last about four months.

While some people have criticized the procedure, Beer and Brant agreed that Botox has offered their patients a simple way to look and feel younger, which may boost their confidence.

“Botox really opened the door and unleashed a new era of cosmetic dermatology,” said Beer, quoted by the news source. “So it was really that approval that unlocked the door to doctors to provide safe and effective cosmetic treatments.”