Over dinner one night in 1987, Vancouver ophthalmologist Jean Carruthers told her dermatologist husband, Alastair Carruthers, that she suspected the botulinum toxin she was using in her practice to calm spastic eye muscles could also erase wrinkles.
The first lady of Botox …Dr. Jean Carruthers discovered, quite by accident, that injections of botulinum type A could erase lines and wrinkles.
Botox: A Canadian Heritage
it was 1987..... Dr. Carruthers was working as an ophthalmologist treating children as well as adults with a variety of disorders such as blepharospasm (uncontrollable spasms of the eye lids) . She shared her office with her dermatologist husband Alastair who, at the time, had a busy practice treating skin cancer and cosmetic dermatology. Jean was using a form of botulinum toxin type A known as Oculinum, to treat strabismus (misaligned or “crossed” eyes).
The Angry Patient
“After the study one of the dystonia patients I was treating got very angry with me”, she remembers. “she came in to see me and pointed to her forehead and said ‘you didn’t treat me there’. I said ‘I’m so sorry I would have treated you there but I didn’t think you were spasming’ then she looked at me and said ‘I’m not spasming its just every time you treat me there I get this beautiful untroubled expression! I wouldn’t have seen that as being a really important comment except for my husband was a dermatologist and he had told me how difficult it was to treat people with deep frown lines with the fillers that were then available.”
The anti-aging treatments of the time were collagen and fat injections but their success had limitations and had some dangerous side effects such as the possible fat migration from the forehead into the eyes and damage vision.
How a Dinner Conversation Started an Anti-Aging Phenomenon
Later at dinner that night Dr, Carruthers had a conversation with her husband that would change both of their lives forever. They decided to do a study with his patients and her Oculinum.
“You know when we were first doing our research it took us from 1987 to 1990 to persuade 30 people to have it injected because the reaction back then was ‘you want to inject WHAT into my wrinkles?’”, explains Dr. Carruthers. “We published our findings in the Journal of Dermasurgery and when we gave the paper at the annual meeting of the American society for Dermatologic surgery in Orlando in 1991 our friends all came up to us and said ‘that’s a crazy idea, that’s going nowhere’”.
Penicillin for Self Esteem
But the Carruthers duo continued conducting clinical trials and presenting their findings and slowly but surely their believers began to grow. Doctors were nervous about the idea that they were injecting their clients with a “poison”.
“It was the start of a new era because suddenly you didn’t just have to have surgery”, says Dr. Carruthers. “Suddenly you could do all these wonderful things like lift brows, undo crow’s feet and relax lip lines without surgery.” The results are amazing and she describes it as “penicillin for self-esteem”
Dr. Carruthers is a firm believer in the preventative measures when it comes to anti-aging including recommending the enVy anti-aging pillow that promotes an off-your-face positioning to reduce sleep wrinkles and maintaining cosmetic treatments.
So...Would you allow your anti-aging expert inject you with Botox?