Weird But True

The Fascinating Evolution Of Botox

It’s not just for line-smoothing.

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1970s

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).

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1989

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.