BOTOX

REPORTER: SOPHIE HULL

Botox is booming in Australia. Last year sales skyrocketed by 30% to become our most common cosmetic treatment. But there are still questions about its safety and what the drug can actually achieve. Sophie Hull with some facts about Botox.

''I do say that I'm a botox addict'' said Janine.

They're young.

''I won't be able to frown'' said Fleur Druett.

And old.

Male....

''Really I don't see a reason to stop'' said Ray Crocker.

And female.

I'd rather give up my morning coffee than my botox.

All part of the 300 million dollar a year dependency Australia has on a drug it simply can't get enough of.

''You have to die of something don't you. I may as well look good'' Said Nicky Crocker.

And if you're not already hooked on the benefits of botox, now there's the book, enticing us all to "give it a go".

Armed with her botox bible, Janene Tomelty, is on a crusade, pushing this so called modern day miracle on the unconverted.

You're right it does sound like a bit of a promotional tool for botox, but it's all the right information - it's an amazing product.

While working at Allergan, the company which manufactures Botox, Janene was legally restricted from publishing a book about the drug. So she left to write one. Its title says it all 'Relax...It's only Botox'.

''I think often botox is blamed for effects it had nothing to do with'' said author Janene Tomelty.

Meet Janene and she's very persuasive. But before you take your consider taking your first shot, there's something you should know, it's a habit that's hard to kick. Once you start, and the effect takes hold, you can't stop. You will always need more.

''It always wears off and the muscle always returns to exactly the condition it was pre-botox'' said Janene.

''Some things I'll give up and botox definitely isn't one of them'' said Nicky Crocker.

Nicky Crocker and her husband Ray are both on the botox merry-go-round. They have top-up injections every few months. And they're more than happy to encourage others to hop on board.

''Im a big fan. I love it, I think it's really awesome - don't you?'' Said Nicky.

''Yeah I think it's great'' said Ray.

''I think in the work environment these days it's a very competitive world and you need to be on top of your game mentally and in your appearance as well'' said Ray.

''It's a little bit like getting your nails done used to be a big deal having the acrylic nails and now I think it's in the same basket'' said Nicky.

Australia's now the biggest user of botox per capita in the world. In fact it's become our number one cosmetic treatment. And its promises are luring in a new fan base, the elderly, some in their 80's, and the young, fresh faced botox virgins in their early 20's.

''Just stop the frowning, I didn't enjoy frowning it just gives me a bad feeling and I don't want to be a frowner'' said Fleur Druett

Fleur Druett began having regular botox treatments at just 24.

''Life is hard, things that happen make you frown upset. That is why I have chosen to use Botox'' said Fleur.

''I think the more you're exposed to a particular result - a botox result. You do think it's more normal and more natural, and then when you suddenly see someone frowning dramatically you think "oh goodness gracious" haha said Janene.

''Why do we want to cover up smile lines or frown lines - by taking away the lines we can't take away the emotion'' said Jackie Maxted.

Jackie Maxted is from industry blog, beautyheaven.com.au

''So if someone is concerned about looking angry or looking worried maybe they should be looking inside and say "am I worried, am I angry", maybe I should be thinking about that and maybe I should look at ways of addressing that rather than sticking needles in our face to get rid of those lines'' said Jackie Maxted.

Botox is the brand name for a purified toxin - Botulinum Toxin Type A. A chemical extracted from a highly lethal bacteria - clostridium botulinum. At it's deadliest it's the cause of botulism - a disease that attacks the nervous system.

''It does have a name as a poison but it's a toxin, which is actually just a protein, and the protein is what relaxes the muscle'' said Janene.

A relaxant used in high doses since the early 1950's to medically treat plasticity and muscle spasming. For years Botox has been plagued with bad publicity. The industry is quick to challenge that no fatalities have ever been linked to the small amount administered in cosmetic procedures.

''Its actually been tested time and time again in a variety of medical conditions to ascertain that it is a safe product to use, and to work out exactly how to use it and it always proves to work as expected'' said Janene.

Janene's only warning is to select your practitioner carefully.

''Only registered doctors and nurses can inject botox, it's an S4 which is a controlled drug in Australia and therefore training is necessary. If botox is injected into the wrong muscle - that muscle too will relax which is the expected effect of botox, but not where you wanted it necessarily'' said Janene.

As for all those frozen Hollywood faces. Janene says don't blame botox, it's probably other more invasive cosmetic treatments such as surgical brow lifts, facelifts, and fillers that are the culprits.

''I think a lot of people think botox plumps up lips, and makes the face very, very tight and frozen looking, and while it does relax the muscles, and give the appearance of a shiny frozen look - perhaps in certain areas at a higher dose, generally speaking. It's a very flexible drug and can make your face look very soft and very natural looking'' said Janene.

For further information on Janene Tomelty's book 'Relax...It's Only BOTOX®', or to buy on-line, go to www.shortstoppress.com or www.janenetomelty.com