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I've Heard Botox® Is a Poison, So How Is It Safe?

I've Heard Botox® Is a Poison, So How Is It Safe?

You can’t believe everything you hear or see, but if you’ve read that Botox® is derived from a toxin, that’s true.

You might wonder why so many millions of people (and likely, many of the people you know) willingly inject harmful substances into their bodies in the name of beauty. 

It’s because they know the whole truth about Botox — and its checkered past is only the beginning of the story. 

Join our team at Sanford Dermatology as we dive into Botox, where it comes from, and why it’s still the gold standard in beauty treatments.  

A storied past

Botox is the brand name of the botulinum toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. A Belgian scientist named Emile Pierre van Ermengem discovered it first, investigating a breakout of botulism in the late 1800s.

By the 1920s, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, began experimenting with the toxin, attempting (and failing) to isolate it. Twenty years later, Dr. Edward Schantz finally isolated the botulinum toxin in crystalline form. 

Scientists continue to explore the uses of controlled consumption of the toxin. After many trials and much more research, the FDA gradually approved botulinum toxin to treat a wide range of cosmetic and health issues, including:

Allergan became the first company to license and brand the toxin, and over the years, it grew into the household name you know today. 

How Botox works

When we inject Botox into the muscles, botulinum toxin saturates the nerve terminals, binding to them and preventing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. 

That’s science-speak for: The toxin spreads to your muscles and prevents the nerves from sending signals to your brain. 

When the nerves in your facial muscles go radio silent, the muscles are forced to relax. As a result, your skin softens, and so do those pesky wrinkles, grooves, and fine lines. 

Is Botox safe?

The botulinum toxin can indeed trigger a whole-body paralyzation, but rest assured, there’s very little risk of serious complications from a Botox injection. 


For starters, only two of the eight strains of Clostridium botulinum have been approved for clinical preparations. Many years of research and development have gone into creating Botox injections, and only the safest, purest forms are approved for injection. 

Botox is also completely safe when it’s in the hands of a licensed medical professional with experience handling and injecting Botox. That’s why we recommend avoiding “Botox parties” and other bargain scenarios that offer easy access to injectable treatments. 

The risks associated with misuse of Botox include:

In the worst cases, Botox can spread to other areas of your body and cause muscle weakness, vision problems, trouble talking, difficulty swallowing, breathing problems, and/or allergic reactions. 

We thoroughly review your health history and customize the dosage and location of your Botox injections. You never have to worry about overexposure to the toxin or developing serious side effects. 

Our team also makes the final call on who’s a candidate. For instance, we won’t administer Botox injections if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding (an unlicensed Botox injector might not exercise the same discretion).

The bottom line

Yes, Botox is a perfectly safe and effective treatment when you get it from a legitimate medical professional. We’d love to answer your questions and see if you’re a candidate for Botox. Call or click today to schedule a consultation at any of our three conveniently located offices serving Greater Sanford, Pittsboro, and Lillington, North Carolina.

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