Botox: A Brief History

Jul 5, 2018

Have you ever wondered how Botox evolved from being a dreaded toxin to being a wonder drug for cosmetic dermatology? Scientists have known about botulinium toxin since at least 1820, when a German epidemiologist was trying to find the source of food-related deaths. In the 1950’s to 1960’s, scientists purified botulinium toxin to see if its ability to relax muscles could help eye-doctors treat patients with crossed eyes and muscle spasms in the eye, and their efforts were successful. Research into the 1990’s revealed that Botox could temporarily alleviate excessive sweating and effects of cerebral palsy. Serendipity is responsible for Botox making the leap to be the giant it is today in treating facial wrinkles and lines. An ophthalmologist treating patients with eye spasms with Botox noticed that the patients she treated with Botox seemed exceedingly wrinkle-free. Though it seems Botox has been a great tool for fighting frown lines and wrinkles for quite some time, it was only approved by the FDA for that purpose in 2002. Then, in 2004 Botox was officially cleared for the treatment of excessive underarm sweating. It’s amazing that a toxin has become an indispensable dermatology super tool so many of us wouldn’t want to live without.