I think it’s safe to say we all know the benefits of using Botox to get rid of deep wrinkles, but what about preventative Botox? Can the early use of Botox actually prevent wrinkles?
What is Preventative Botox?
First, let’s start with understanding Botox.
Botox (botulinum toxin) is used to temporarily paralyze muscles most commonly on the forehead, around the eyes, and frown lines. It blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles so they can’t contract, making the wrinkles relax and soften. Botox can last anywhere from 3-6 months.
It’s a minimally invasive procedure. It’s injected with a very fine needle into specific muscles causing minor discomfort and only taking a few minutes. It’s important to note that botox is different than dermal fillers, which use gel or collagen to make your skin feel firmer, botox is a nerve blocker.
When using Botox as a preventative measure, it starts before any wrinkles or fine lines in your face are visible.
How does it work?
The majority of wrinkles are caused by repetitive movement of those muscles and using Botox as a preventative measure can limit those expressions to potentially prevent wrinkles from happening in the first place.
When you start at a younger age, there will generally be fewer fine lines and wrinkles to work with as you get older, ultimately needed less Botox than someone who started at an older age.
How effective is it exactly? While it can’t prevent wrinkles from forming, it can prevent you from seeing them.
Who is the ideal candidate for preventative Botox?
People in their mid-to-late 20s or early 30s would be considered great candidates for preventative Botox.
However, most experts avoid pinpointing a specific age because the ideal age varies from one person to the next. We all use our facial muscles differently, expressing differently, and the overall health of the skin is an important factor too. Therefore, it’s recommended that the best time to start treatment is before lines appear when resting your face.
Experts say that after two years of injections every three to six months, injections can be pushed to every six months with the same level of effectiveness.
There are a few factors that contribute to how much a Botox treatment will cost to you. This includes:
- Whether you are getting Botox for cosmetic or preventative purposes, insurance won’t cover it.
- The level of experience of your provider
- The cost of living where you get the treatment
Botox usually costs between $400 to $700 per area, however, the cost is fairly candid. There are no hidden costs, you can return to work that same day, and appointments only last 10 minutes to a half-hour. If you find yourself spending a significant amount of money on beauty treatments and wrinkle creams, you can make the argument that preventative Botox can save you money over time.
Additionally, if your Botox injection isn’t given by a skilled, experienced, professional, while the prices may be cheaper, you risk serious complications.
Risks and Side Effects
Botox is safe for those who are careful about finding a trained provider. With preventative Botox, you risk the side effect of “frozen” or “locked” facial expressions. If you don’t have any wrinkles, to begin with, speak with your specialist to carefully weigh the side effects and outcomes of Botox for you.
The most common side effects of Botox, preventative or not, include:
- Sinus Inflammation
- Flu-like symptoms
- Dry eyes
- Swelling or bruising at the site of your injection
In more rare cases, side effects can result in a medical emergency. Call your doctor if you have any of the following side effects:
- Difficulty breathing
- Double or blurred vision
- Loss of bladder control
- Itchy rash or hives at the site of treatment
Regardless, the risk is minimal if you go to a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist for Botox injections.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Botox, there are quite a few options out there that may work better for you. This includes:
Other injectables. There are injectable alternatives such as Dysport and Myobloc. Both are essentially the same thing as Botox and perform in the same way, but these alternative injectables tend to be more expensive and not much of a difference compared to Botox.
Facial creams. Antioxidant creams and cell regulators have a direct effect on collagen production and metabolism in the facial skin cells, therefore effective. While they are easy to find, there’s a ton of different types and it may be hard to choose. Creams can also end up being expensive. Ask your dermatologist what he or she would recommend for your specific skin type.
Chemical peels. While chemical peels are considered safe and effective, they require some recovery time. For deep chemical peels, you may even need a surgical dressing on the wound. Wrinkles will still develop after a chemical peel and you may need another treatment.
Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a holistic alternative to wrinkle prevention and appears to be effective, however, studies are limited. Additionally, it can end up being an expensive procedure and the results are temporary.
Preventative Botox: Is it for me?
Small treatments and maintenance over time will result in much more natural long-term results. You may be able to prevent wrinkles all together with the use of preventative Botox. Be sure to do your research on who a local, accredited, and trained physician is and then schedule a consultation.
Dr. Rimma Finkel
Dr. Finkel is double board-certified in Plastic Surgery. Her professional memberships include:
- American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
- American Association of Plastic Surgeons
- American Board of Plastic Surgery
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons