What is Botox made of? Botox ingredients and how it works

By Peachy

Botox® is a specific brand of wrinkle relaxers (neuromodulators) used to prevent and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. It works by gently relaxing the facial muscles you desire to achieve a more youthful, fresh look without altering your natural appearance.

It’s one of the most popular treatments for fine lines and wrinkles, especially since it’s proven to be safe and extremely effective. And with results that last up to four months, it’s a great option for the long-term.

If you are considering a wrinkle relaxer treatment, but want to arm yourself with more information first, we’re here to help! This is everything you need to know about Botox, what it’s made of, and the safety of treatment. 

What is Botox?

Many think of Botox® as the wrinkle relaxer treatment, but that’s not quite true. While it’s one of the most popular, it’s actually a brand of botulinum toxin serotype A. The other brands include Xeomin®, Jeuveau®, and Dysport®.

Botox is a neuromodulating protein used to relax targeted muscle groups to improve the appearance of wrinkles in the 3 FDA-approved areas: in between the eyebrows (procerus and corrugator muscles), forehead (frontalis muscle) and crow’s feet (orbicularis oculi muscle). This treatment allows specific muscles to relax without changing their structure.

What does Botox do?

After the protein is injected, it gradually binds to receptors that uptake acetylcholine, which means the targeted muscle can’t contract as fervently. By relaxing muscles that have been contracting repeatedly, Botox can help you prevent dynamic wrinkles that only appear when you emote from becoming deep, static wrinkles

Botox also helps treat the physiological signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, rough or textured skin, and a loss of elasticity. What it doesn’t do? Change the natural appearance of your face. 

Botox ingredients

As complicated as it sounds, Botox is made with only three ingredients:

  1. OnabotulinumtoxinA
  2. Human Albumin 
  3. Sodium Chloride

    Botox’s only active ingredient is onabotulinumtoxinA, which is a neuro-muscular blocker. It works to prevent your facial muscles from contracting, causing wrinkles. The inactive ingredients it’s made from include human albumin (a naturally occurring transport protein found in the body) and sodium chloride (salt). These accessory proteins differ between the other wrinkle relaxer brands (Xeomin®, Jeuveau®, and Dysport®).

    Every ingredient in Botox has a specific purpose and works together to prevent and treat fine lines and wrinkles.

    How is Botox made?

    But how is Botox made? Botox is produced from a culture of the Hall strain of C. botulinum and purified by a series of acid precipitations to a crystalline complex containing the toxin and other proteins. It comes in powder form and is reconstituted with saline into a clear liquid. 

    According to Dr. Mitchell Brin, Senior VP of Drug Development and the Chief Scientific Officer for Botox & Neurotoxins at Allergan, "it starts with the purified raw material botulinum neurotoxin type A, in which less than one gram of the purified toxin is enough to make the world’s supply of Botox and Botox Cosmetic for an entire year."

    Botox safety

    With all this talk of “toxins,” let’s discuss the safety and efficacy of Botox treatments.

    As previously mentioned, Botox® is approved for three specific muscle groups: crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles, and lines between eyebrows. The FDA approved treatment in 2002 for eyebrow lines, in 2013 for crow’s feet, and 2017 for forehead wrinkles. 

    But Botox was approved for medical use in 1989, long before it was considered for cosmetic usage. So while the FDA-approval is relatively new, the science behind the treatment is not.

    Since Botox’s beginnings, no long-term adverse effects have been reported and no systemic safety problems have been associated with FDA-approved uses of Botox®. It is considered a drug with a broad margin of safety and is effective to treat wrinkles. It’s also safe to have done year-round!

    Ready to prevent and treat your wrinkles while keeping your expression? Book a complimentary consultation with one of our Peachy Providers – board-certified Nurse Practitioners – to see what (if any) wrinkle prevention is right for you.