BOTOX® – Past, Present and Future


BOTOX® is a much discussed subject these days. Whether you are for it or against it, its success cannot be denied – and with the increase in demand for anti-ageing therapies it looks like it’s going to be around for some time yet.

How it was discovered

Back in 1977 and like many discoveries, the pioneer at the time had little idea just how widespread the product or procedure could become. Botulinum Toxin was originally discovered by American scientist, Dr Alan Scott who observed how the body responded to the resulting toxin.
But it was a leading ophthalmologist in the 1980s who discovered the paralysing effects of the drug could be used as a treatment for a problem with eye muscles. Through injecting clostridium botulinum bacteria the muscles of the eyes (not the skin surround the eyes) relaxed allowing unaligned eyes and squints to correct themselves. It was after several applications of the drug that showed an improvement in the condition of the skin around the eyes. Improved skin surface and wrinkles were almost eradicated for 3-4 months. The drug was already being called Botox at this stage. Scott held on to his stake in the business until 1990 when the drug was sold to pharmaceutical giant Allergan. Today BOTOX® is sold around the world and administered by many clinicians from surgeons to beauty therapists.

Uses for anti-ageing

Since the FDA approved the drug in 2002, there have been many more aesthetic and medical benefits to the BOTOX® treatment. These range from migraines, dental problems, excessive sweating, muscle stiffness and now urinary incontinence.
But the highest demand continues to be in the anti-ageing market – in particular the facial and neck areas. The most commonly treated areas are:

  • Frown lines
  • Forehead lines
  • Crow’s feet
  • Brow lifting
  • Definition of the chin/jaw (bruxism)
  • Correcting a downward turned smile
  • Brow lift
  • Reduce a gummy smile
  • Smoker’s lines around the mouth
  • Nefertiti lift
  • Suppliers, products available and where it is available

Although BOTOX® is the market leader by far, there are some alternatives available. It is difficult for other products to compete in this market due to government approval cycles. It is also a natural behaviour by clinicians and patients alike to stick to what they know and trust and as BOTOX® has a long standing safety and effective rates its reputation builds stronger every year.

Depending upon the country you live in there are some alternative products. In the UK there are:

  • Botox (Vistabel),
  • Dysport (Azzalure)
  • Xeomin (Bocouture)
  • Neurobloc (type b toxin)

A good provider will be able to make the right patient assessment and advise if their condition and desired outcome is suitable for BOTOX®. The patient might actually be better off having a different procedure such as a Dermal Filler (DF). Although part of the injectibles procedure, DF serums work in a different way to BOTOX® by plumping up the dermal layers and literally filling wrinkled skin. Popular brands of DF are Juvederm and Restylane.

Risks and regulations

The product in its pure form is a neurotoxin which causes the disease botulism, an intestinal poisoning which is a very serious illness and left untreated can cause death. However, under controlled conditions the BOTOX® serum’s toxic uptake and its spread to the digestive system is very rare.

Also rare, but reported problems, include double vision, breathing problems and allergy-induced rashes.
One of the most common reactions is due to a person having too much of the treatment. The effect has become known as “frozen face”. We’ve all seen the celebrities who were so delighted with the early results, they just couldn’t get enough. Too many of their facial muscles become paralysed and is incapable of any expression. And if they are not being honest when asked about anti-ageing treatments, they are making themselves look vain and foolish as well!

Regulations aim to improve patient safety by creating higher practice standards via training, qualifications and experience of providers. Although not yet mandated, training academies are encouraging only those with a medical background such as doctors, dentists and nurses to train up to administer injectibles like BOTOX®. Guidelines drawn up by the newly formed Joint Council for Cosmetic Practioners (JCCP) recommend a Level 6 (graduate degree) before training for BOTOX®. A good training provider will be accredited by the government’s examining body, EduQual, so that the qualification is recognised by employers and other industry organisations.

Who can administer and what training is involved

The demand for BOTOX® has caused a need for more providers of the serum. But although the procedure is non-surgical and considered low risk, it is not without some dangers. Governments around the world are beginning to take a more serious position on the provision of BOTOX® and new guidelines are being embedded throought the medical profession and training centres.

Clinicians who are well-placed to train up to administer BOTOX® are those that have already achieved a high level of education and experience ie Level 6 (Graduate Degree). Typically those are:

The training involves gaining a full understanding of the BOTOX® procedure end to end. A typical style of BOTOX® course will involve:

  • Patient assessment
  • Theoretical study on the history of the drug, how BOTOX® works, facial anatomy, complications etc.
  • Classroom tutorage
  • Practical applications under the supervision of a tutor
  • Final assessment

The Future and benefits to clinicians offering BOTOX as anti-ageing treatment

There are number of positive factors impacting the demand for BOTOX® which means training to become a provider is a great career move:

  • The price is relatively affordable compared to traditional surgical treatments
  • More applications can benefit from BOTOX® such as urinary incontinence – something a nurse would be well trained to help with
  • Easy to train up for
  • A quick and easy treatment for the patient
  • A low-risk procedure
  • More men are having the treatment – effectively this could double today’s sales in a few year’s ti

Increased earning potential with flexible working conditions are appealing and many medical professionals are considering a complete change or diversifying their roles to include the offering of BOTOX ®injections. There are many business model options – which might look like any of the following:

  • Aesthetics business start-up such as an independent clinic or hire space in another’s clinic
  • Employment by another aesthetics business eg. spa or clinic
  • Employment within a medical environment such as hospital (public sector or private)
  • Mobile aesthetics practitioner (indemnity policies must be cleared against non-established clinic properties)
  • Freelance services to a mix of the above option

Why MATA

Any training course you consider must be absolutely right for you. You need valuable, high-status certificates that prove your aptitude and delivery.

Reasons why the MATA course is perfect for you:

  1. It is internationally recognised and the BOTOX® course serves as one unit towards a UK Level 7 UK (Master’s Degree).
  2. An academy led, fully comprehensive course comprised of all aspects on the BOTOX® industry.
  3. A sought-after Gold Standard” qualification that employers look for when recruiting the best clinicians.
  4. Designed by British doctors and industry experts, the course has been helped UK and European legislation.
  5. A choice of Foundation Level and/or Advanced Level.
  6. On-going patient care advice and business support.

The MATA BOTOX® Courses are a blended learning approach which includes:

  • Online theory which can be studied in your own time via our university-standard learning platform with interactive tests.
  • Tutorials with hands-on practice with cadaverous materials progressing to live models.
  • Clinic-based assessments and completion of a log book.
  • Written examinations.
  • Ongoing support.

Foundation BOTOX® Course Content

The Foundation Level typically takes around 100 hours to complete. There are four core units and one optional unit covering:

  • Facial anatomy
  • Optional dissection and injectible practice on cadavers
  • Different types/brands of Botulinum Toxin
  • Medical history, consent forms and note taking
  • Patient assessment
  • Frown lines
  • Forehead lines
  • Crow’s feet
  • Brow lifting
  • Achieving a natural result with BOTOX®
  • Pre-treatment and post-treatment care
  • Possible complications and how to avoid/deal with them
  • Demonstration
  • Practical training on models

Advanced BOTOX® Course Content
The Advanced Level should take around 200 hours. Like the Foundation Level, there are four core units and six optional units which cover:

  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
  • Definition of the chin/jaw (bruxism)
  • Correcting a downward turned smile
  • Brow lift
  • Reduce a gummy smile
  • Smoker’s lines around the mouth
  • “Nefertiti” lift

Frequently Asked Questions

Everyone’s having BOTOX®. It looks easy to do but is it easy to train up for?

It is a very quick procedure with minimum risks of toxication or infection. However, it is not completely risk free which is why comprehensive training that gives a full understanding of facial anatomy and the drug itself is essential before practising on paying patients. The MATA course is a straightforward course in two parts: online theory and practical tutorage. You will also benefit from on-going support after the course itself.

I am interested in administering BOTOX®, what qualifications do I need?

Ideally you will have gained at least a Level 6 (Graduate Degree Level) with a medical background.  There are opportunities for beauticians to train and qualify to a high level but there might be restrictions around supervision.  Talk to a MATA expert today to discuss your training options.

What benefits are there to formal training and qualifications?

Education and practical applications before performing injectibles on paying patients is crucial to patient safety.  You will gain a fully comprehensive understand on these treatments along with the appropriate certificate which prove your knowledge and ability to patients and insurance companies.  In today’s scrutiny for ethical business practice, your integrity is unquestionable when you can prove your skills and experience through recognised examination bodies.

I want to offer more than just BOTOX®, what else complements this treatment?

At MATA you can combine the BOTOX® course with a Dermal Fillers course as they are similar injectible procedures which require similar backgrounds and anatomical knowledge.  This is usually a two day course at one of our many centres around the UK.

What are employers looking for?

The best training course you can register for is one that is recognised by the top employers and insurance companies.  A MATA course is recognised by EduQual – the government’s governing body.  It is internally recognised so if you should choose to practise outside of the UK, the certificate will be recognised in most countries.  MATA offers an internationally recognised qualification.

I am a qualified nurse. Will it be easy for me train up to provide BOTOX®?

Yes, as a medical professional qualified to a minimum of Level 6, you will find the BOTOX® course at MATA relatively easy and fun!  Once you have completed the online theory section through our university-standard virtual e-learning platform you will then attend a tutorial session at one of our many centres around the UK.  A final assessment by the expert tutor will complete your course.

How much time is needed in the practical sections?

At a MATA course for BOTOX®, one day is given to practical sessions.  You will have classroom style tutorage, group discussions, practical hands-on sessions and a final assessment.

BOTOX® seems to be the No.1 brand but will it be around for much longer?

BOTOX® certainly seems set to stay as the market leader for a long time yet.  Until a completely risk-free, non-invasive, permanent solution becomes mainstream, BOTOX® will still be in demand and therefore high-quality and experienced providers will be required.  The differences will be in legislation which is where a good training course will give you the leading edge.