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In the 18th century, botulinum toxin was discovered as the cause behind deaths from poisoned meat. Fast-forward to the ’70s, and ophthalmologists first use that same toxin — a muscle-paralyzing neurotoxin we now know as Botox — to treat strabismus (crossed eyes).
Patients find that their crow’s feet smooth out after injections, says dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman. By 1989, pharmaceutical brand Allergan buys rights to it, Botox becomes FDA-approved for treating muscle spasms, and docs begin off-label trials on wrinkles.