It was not long ago that I reached news that cosmetics were one of the major economic markets in South Korea. Apparently, there are increasing numbers of people who wants to get a surgery in South Korea. Then, some days later I’ve gotten the news, a Chinese travel agency advertisement caught my eyes. The advertisement showed a “Cosmetics Travel to Korea” and I thought that cosmetics are one of the most important elements of human life. Therefore, I thought of investigating the role of chemistry behind the cosmetics.
People want to become pretty, but the genetics always hinders their wants. As the human civilization entered the 21-century, cosmetics became more important. The cosmetics have developed throughout, and now humans can change their appearance without any physical surgeries. It is the invention of Botox.
Well then why Botox out of all of the cosmetic goods? That is because, Botox is the most common and has some history, and it has been commonly used and popular.
According to http://navercast.naver.com Botox is mainly consisting of botulinum toxin, and this botulinum toxin is a form of a protein that is connected with disulfide. During this process, every 50 kilodaltons of protein mixes with every 100 kilodaltons of disulfide and create botulinum toxin. However, most of the times, bacteria produce this substance. A bacteria called Clostridium botulinum when entered into human body, stays into the intestines of humans and produces this toxin and most of the time causes botulism. The function of the botulinum toxin is basically hinders the neurotransmission of muscle contraction, so that muscle contraction does not occur and eventually the muscle gets paralyzed.
Now there is a chemistry part in this substance called botulinum toxin. “The toxin, a zinc proteinase, acts by preventing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from vesicles at the neuromuscular junction. As a proteinase, the toxin cleaves one or more of the fusion proteins by which the vesicles release acetylcholine. In the absence of acetylcholine, contraction of the muscle–or in some cases, the activity of a gland–is temporarily inhibited.” (Ember, 2005). This is an actual chemical process that creates the effect. To sum up, botulinum toxins prevent acetylcholine, CH3COOCH2CH2N+(CH3)3).
Now the fearful part of botox and botulium toxin is that 12 to 16 nano grams of botulium toxin can kill a man of 60 kilograms. Therefore, if you think about it, you can kill basically all the human beings on earth with only 130 grams of botulinum toxin. Because of this trait of Botox, it was once tried to develop as a bio-chemical weapon during World War II.
However, today its uses are beneficial. It is used to cure crossed-eyes, excessive sweating, muscle convulsion (widely known as muscle cramp), some Parkinson’s disease, and etc… And most importantly, in cosmetic Botox is widely used. Moreover, as I know its danger of killing humans, I researched how much does every dose of Botox does it usually contain. In a bottle of Botox, it contains 100U and in every each one shot of Botox on human’s face does not exceed 100U. Moreover, for it to kill a human being, it needs 2800 to 3500 U of Botox. Therefore, in this 100U, contains about 0.4 to 0.6 of botulium toxin. However, it is not still 100% safe to use Botox. Benefits of using Botox overwhelms the risk of using Botox, so it is right to be used, but it still needs careful supervision that if someone uses more than 100U.
Yeo In Hyung (2012.03.19). Botox. General format. Retrieved from http://navercast.naver.com/contents.nhn?rid=44&contents_id=7614&leafId=44
Lois Ember (2005.06.20). Botox. Retrieved from http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/83/8325/8325botox.html
Botulinum Toxin A, Molecular Model. [Photograph]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest. http://quest.eb.com/images/132_1189041
Medical Equipment. [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest. http://quest.eb.com/images/132_1259640