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The (Strange) History of Botox

Ever wondered, "what is Botox?" or "where does Botox come from?" This article uncovers the strange but fascinating history of Botox...

Botox - or rather botulinum toxin (Botox is just a brand name) is huge at the moment! A seemingly miracle-based substance that helps women in their mid-thirties and above get rid of those troublesome lines and wrinkles - what’s not to love?

But despite the recent hype, botulinum toxin has actually been around for longer than you probably imagine…

The history of Botox

Botox in the 1820s

German physician Justinus Kerner discovers the connection between sausage poisoning and paralysis and even death of several people. He studies botulism poison, and becomes so fascinated with finding a cure that he even injects himself with it.

Who knew Botox started with a sausage!

Botox in the 1880s

Scientist Dr. Emile Pierre van Ermengem investigates a case of food poisoning after 3 people died and 23 people are paralysed after a funeral dinner. He isolates the botulinum toxin responsible for botulism.

Ok, we know - not exactly the beginnings you were expecting, but stay with us...

Botox in the 1920s

Scientists at the University of California begin working on further isolating botulinum toxin.

Botox in the 1940s

Research into botulinum toxin as a biological weapon becomes a focus in the US due to its paralysing qualities.

Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you?

Botox in the 1950s

Botulinum toxin is first considered as a relaxant for overactive muscles.

Botox in the 1960s

Research by Dr. Alan B. Scott is conducted into botulinum toxin for crossed eyes (strabismus).

Botox in the 1970s

Dr Alan B Scott gets FDA approval for injecting small amounts of botulinum toxin into humans for strabismus, facial and neck spasms.

Botox in the 1980s

Pharmaceutical company Allergan buys rights to sell Dr Scott’s botulinum toxin type A. They later buy the rights to the substance and call it Botox.

Botulinum toxin becomes FDA-approved for treating crossed eyes and excessive blinking.

Botox in the 1990s

More research into botulinum toxin finds it can also be used to treat excessive sweating, overactive bladder and more.

And here’s the crazy bit...

Dr. Jean Carruthers discovers that botulinum toxin results in reduced forehead wrinkles in her strabismus patients.

This (obviously!) becomes huge news in the world of dermatology, and Botox becomes the must-have anti-wrinkle treatment.


Botox in the 2000s

Botox becomes FDA-approved for treatment of cervical dystonia and excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)

By this point, its use as an anti-wrinkle treatment is hugely popular.

Botox now

As you know, Botox is huge nowadays…

It’s used for a multitude of cosmetic and medical purposes and is helping boost confidence and rejuvenate skin around the world.

In fact...

  • 32% of global consumers are considering a facial injectable in the coming year (Allergan, 2019)
  • 82% of international consumers think injectables are socially acceptable (Allergan, 2019)

The future of Botox

And it’s only going to get bigger...

Global Botox spend expected to reach $4.57 bn USD by 2024 (Statista, 2019)

Got questions about Botox? Discover more about the anti-wrinkle injection in our treatment guide.

Our Glowday search tool allows you to search for and book a Botox practitioner in your area as well as giving you the opportunity to look at Botox before and after images and reviews.

Botox is a registered trademark

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