Digital Lifestyle makes for worry lines? Botox may be the answer?

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Some interesting information coming out of the UK, where it is claimed that Botox use has increased in an increasingly younger age group.  No longer is Botox the province of the middle-aged matrons, it is claimed.  And the reason is put down to squinting at computer and other LCD screens.

Medical experts at Court House Clinics in the UK believe the number of women in their 20’s seeking Botox treatments is in part due to the rise of daily computer use and smart phone technology.

They base some of this on the sales of smart phones.  They state the analytics company IDC has reported smart phone shipments of 144.9 million in Q1 of 2012 compared to 101.7 million units in Q1 in 2011.  These figures, they say, along with societal pressure to look eternally young has led to a massive increase in the number of young women seeking Botox treatment.  The increase being touted is 410 percent!

Dr Patrick Bowler – Medical Director Court House Clinics, says, “We have to accept that our lifestyles are changing as fast as the technology boom is altering our lives.  Look around and we see people immersed in their mobiles.  Also most people now work with computer screens.  When you look at people using these devices they are concentrating hard.  The natural reaction of the face when concentrating is the “frown” or screwing up of the eyes.  If you over use any part of your face lines will develop.  This can be seen with, for example, smokers where the lip area becomes more lined and creased.  The new generation of young women are spending more time on these devices with the resultant consequences.  Women are now more aware that they can help prevent these lines deepening with the use of treatments like Botox.  It’s not about age, it’s about treating the individual and what is happening to their face and there has been a noted increase in younger women troubled by static frown lines in the last five years.”  Constantly peering down at a small screen such as the ones found on an iPhone, Blackberry or other handheld device has caused more facial wrinkles to appear in young women, he says.

Dr Bowler’s theory is one supported by Dr Sebagh of the US who amongst other things has been responsible for treating celebrities like Cindy Crawford for wrinkles.  “The phenomenon of increased facial wrinkles can be seen on anyone who has and regularly checks a Blackberry or iPhone,” said Dr Sebagh last year.

So what exactly is Botox?  It is a prescription-only medical product that contains tiny amounts of highly purified botulinum toxin protein refined from the bacterium, Clostridium botulinum.  Botox has a unique, protected molecular structure that stabilizes the core toxin from degradation.  When injected at FDA-approved and labeled doses into a specific muscle or gland, the Botox neurotoxin diffuses locally to produce a safe and effective result by producing a localized and temporary reduction in the overacting muscle or gland, usually lasting up to approximately three to ten months depending on the indication and on the individual patient.

However, it should not be thought that Botox is purely for people with wrinkles.  According to the manufacturer Allergan, “Patients should receive their treatments in an appropriate medical setting from people who are well trained.  We heavily discourage – we even mandate – that our sales people don’t go to places like spas.  We will supply to anyone who can establish their credentials as a medical professional.  If it’s someone new, we make sure they have a valid license through a state medical society.”

Non-cosmetic use of Botox includes bladder treatment, for example.  Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have found that injections of the Botulinum toxin can help treat people who suffer from an overactive bladder.  The patients suffered from a variety of conditions, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and stroke.  Professor Michael Chancellor, an expert in urology and gynecology at the University of Pittsburgh, said, “Bladder dysfunction affects a staggering number of people worldwide.  The use of Botox injections can offer many of these patients a safe, but temporary, solution to this embarrassing problem.”