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What’s the deal with topical Botox?

CosmeticChem is curious…What is a topical Botox(tm)? Does it work the same way as injectable Botox(tm)? So far how many “In-vivo” studies have been done to check the efficacy?

The Beauty Brains respond:cute_easter_bigfoot_sticker-rd656125a4b544110841bdc1f3d4cc6cc_v9waf_8byvr_324

Topical Botox? Yeah, right. That’s right up there with anti-wrinkle lotions that work like lasers, hair growth products, Bigfoot, and the Easter Bunny. Wait a minute…what’s that? There’s a peer reviewed, placebo-controlled study that says this might actually work?!? What the hell?!?

Promising test results for topical Botox

A 2010 study conducted by Dermatology Research Institute, LLC, Coral Gables, Florida , sponsored by Revance Therapeutics, Inc., Newark, California, found botulinum toxin type A (also known as Botox(tm)) significantly decreased lateral canthal lines (LCLs also commonly known as crow’s feet) when applied from a topical gel.

It’s a small study (n=36 adults) but it certainly looks promising: the results, which were statistically significant at the 99% confidence interval, 50% of the panelists showed a decrease in LCLs by 2 units or more compared to a placebo control (after 8 weeks). What does all that mean? Unlike so many studies on cosmetic products, this one was done with in vivo (on real people, not just in a test tube in the lab); it was done with a proper control (tested against a gel that did NOT contain the toxin); and the results where statistically significant (which is indicative that the results will be repeatable.)

Stylist.com interviews a dermatologist who comments on the study and raises concerns such as the fact that the effect is much less than you will see from injectable Botox(tm) and that it’s likely to only work on crow’s feet because it’s easier for the toxin to penetrate the thin skin around the eyes.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Topical Botox is apparently more reliable than Bigfoot or the Easter Bunny, which is more than you can say for a lot of anti-aging products. It will be interesting to see if further testing leads to a commercially viable product.

Reference: Dermatologic Surgery

Image credit: http://rlv.zcache.com/cute_easter_bigfoot_sticker

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Kosmeonautka March 27, 2015, 3:30 am

    Nice! I have never heard of topical Botox before but – I’m a bit ashamed to say – I would definitely consider it a hoax a minute someone tells me about it. So again, Science scores a point 😉

  • Eileen March 27, 2015, 7:52 pm

    This has been in the news for awhile. It’s my understanding that it would still be considered an in office procedure because you are still dealing with a neurotoxin and a good result requires knowledge of facial anatomy. No one wants to end up with drooping asymmetry! Personally, I have no problem with getting a Botox injection every four months in the glabella (area between eyebrows). It keeps me from looking like a mean old school marm! (Yes, I’m a retired educator 🙂 ). My doctor has excellent technique and it feels just like a few pricks. It’s not a big deal and, of course, a patient can always ask for numbing cream if they have a very low tolerance for pain or if they’re having a sensitive area like the lips done. If a topical preparation were to be developed that had as good an effect as injection, it would be wonderful as it would eliminate the chance of temporary redness at the injection site or the occasional minor bruising.

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