History of the Botulinum Toxin



Botulinum Toxin may help with the reduction of wrinkles. While it’s thought of as a purely cosmetic treatment, it is used for many other forms of treatment such as excessive sweating, uncontrolled blinking, and crossed eyes. The medical term for which is Hyperhidrosis, Strabismus, and Blepharospasm.

What we know about the botulinum toxin today can be looked into further by understanding its interesting history.

Early History

The botulinum toxin is a drug made from simple bacteria known as Clostridium Botulinum. This drug, while beneficial for cosmetic purposes, is not to be ingested. It can cause the life threatening disease of Botulism. Botulism causes severe food poisoning.

The botulinum toxin was first discovered by a scientist known as Emile Pierre van Emermengen. An epidemic of food poisoning came about in Belgium where thousands of people were affected by the often-fatal disease of Botulism. What was noticed about the disease where the droopy eyelids and weakened muscles of its sufferers.

It wasn’t until the 1920s when a group of scientists at a university known as the University of California began to isolate the Botulinum Toxin from its bacteria. After 20 years had passed, Dr. Edward Schantz began to isolate the Botulinum toxin to a crystalline form.
A bioweapon was needed and Dr. Edward Schantz was on the case during the second world war. It was a highly poisonous toxin, so just a small amount could cause someone to become paralyzed and die.

Medical Research on the Subject

Dr. Alan Scott had his bat at research of the toxin in the 1960s. He conducted his research at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and had great success studying how paralyzes happened in the poisoning of the muscles while the toxin was making someone sick. His research helped us find a treatment for some medical conditions when the toxin is in its purest form. It can treat medical eye diseases such as twitching, blepharospasm, and strabismus.

At first this toxin was tested on monkeys. Once all studies were done, it proved his theory that the Botulinum Toxin can be used as a medical aid in the treatment of several different types of eye diseases. Dr. Scott then went on to start a pharmaceutical company known as Oculinum, this company produced a drug named after itself, the FDA sent its final approval out in 1989. It was approved to treat both strabismus and blepharospasm. It was first produced in the Uk in Porton Down under the name of Dysport.

Joining forces, Mr. John Lee, who partnered with the Moorfields Eye Hospital, worked together with Dr. Scott and introduced this important toxin to the UK. Together, they taught many UK trainee Ophthamologists how to use the drug in minute amounts to correct conditions like double vision, help with lower eyelids, and the condition of strabismus.

Let’s look at the rich aesthetic history of the Botulinum Toxin!

A pharmacuetical company known as Allergan then purchased Oculinum in 1991 and renamed the drug Botox. By this time, physicians had noticed something interesting in the patients of Oculinum that surprised them greatly. Those who used Botox to treat eye conditions noticed a reduction in wrinkles around the eyes. Somewhere in the early 90s a doctor known as Dr. Jean Carruthers and her partner are thanked for discovering the cosmetic use of the Botulinum Toxin.

Dr. Scott was nothing but surprised at the newly discovered effect of his product. Dr. Scott pitched in his two since on the subject on a CBS morning show in 2012. He stated that some of his patients did remark on how the product got the lines out. This amused him on how right the users of the product were. It shows us how useful it is to listen to our patients. Dr. Alan Scott is often remembered as the Grand Father of Botox. He passed away shortly after the 2020s began in his 90s.

How does the Botulinum Toxin work?

The Botulinum Toxin blocks the hormone acetyelcholine and that’s how it performs its job. This compound makes muscles droop and pause and is heavily involved in muscle movement. The relaxed state of the skin can last several months. This results in the reduction of wrinkles before it has to be reinjected in the forehead and glabella.

The Cosmetic Use

It was first approved in 2002 for cosmetic use, although it had been used for cosmetic use for quite some time before then.

So many uses today

Doctors discovered many uses of the drug beyond its treatment of medical issues that pertain to the eye and cosmetic uses like anti-wrinkle treatment. It can also be used to treat conditions like cervical dystonia and migraines. These conditions all affect the muscles. It has been shown to increase muscle spasticity in those who suffer from the condition known as cerebral palsy. Conditions that affect the urinary sphincter and vocal cords may also be treated. It may also be an effective treatment for many other conditions that have to do with the muscles.


The Botulinum Toxin had its bizarre findings and numerous consequences. This toxin has reached the spot of being a deadly toxin, but it has safely made its way into the beauty world. It came to be a bioweapon during world war two (although it was never used as such) to an overall popular cosmetic treatment. Botox has one of the weirdest histories in medical science.

If you want to see what Botox® can do for you, book your appointment with Bromley Aesthetics online or over the phone on 07490 708932. We look forward to helping you restore your self-confidence and love the skin you’re in!

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