As we age, it's perfectly natural to develop fine lines and wrinkles under the eyes, along the forehead, between the eyebrows and around the nose and mouth. These are all areas of frequent expression and the sign of a life filled with joy and surprise, so these little lines are nothing to be ashamed of.
That being said, there is also nothing wrong with making the decision to soften your wrinkles with a treatment like Botox. By now, you probably know that Botox, when performed by a board-certified dermatologist, is incredibly effective at reversing the signs of aging in almost every area of the face. But perhaps you've also heard the rumor that getting Botox in your 20s and 30s can actually stop wrinkles in their tracks with a treatment often called "preventative" Botox.
So, what is preventive botox and can it really prevent wrinkles when you get the treatment early on? Before, we called on board certified dermatologists Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich, Dr. Azza Halim, Dr. Ben Lee and Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank to find out everything you need to know about preventive botox.
What is preventive Botox?
Botox is one of the most commonly used treatments for the visible signs of aging (such as wrinkles). Typically, people begin to consider Botox once their fine lines and wrinkles begin to deepen and become more visible. Meanwhile, preventative Botox refers to the idea that you can receive Botox injections before the appearance of wrinkles to prevent them from forming in the first place. The idea is that if you get Botox before you start to see wrinkles, the Botox will weaken the facial muscles that cause wrinkles in the skin, thus significantly slowing the formation and deepening of wrinkles.
"Preventive Botox is not for everyone," explains Dr. Vasyukevich. "People with strong, overactive facial expression muscles (i.e., people with "expressive" faces) would benefit most from this type of injection. These patients would have an almost smooth forehead at rest, but very deep wrinkles when asked to raise their eyebrows or frown.
Benefits of Botox preventive
- Prevents deep static lines from developing
- Can completely prevent wrinkles
- Saves on high Botox costs in the future
As with many other things, wrinkles are easier to prevent than to remove them. So, if you think you want to treat your wrinkles in the future, it's more effective (and less expensive) to get ahead of them than to try to eliminate them retroactively. Deep wrinkles require more units of Botox and usually more frequent visits to the dermatologist to see the desired effects.
When is the best time to get preventive Botox?
There is no exact science as to when you should start Botox. "You can start when you notice wrinkles that bother you, which can occur as early as your early 20s or as late as someone in their early 40s. Many factors come into play, including age, genetics and skin type," says Dr. Frank. Consistent use of sunscreen from a young age is also an important factor.
Not surprisingly, in cities like Los Angeles, Botox is more common at a younger age. "Most people start thinking about Botox treatments when they begin to notice early wrinkles in the upper third of their face, usually in their late 30s and early 40s," says Dr. Lee. "More and more people are starting Botox treatments before they notice visible wrinkles, in hopes that they will never appear. In our Los Angeles practice, a significant portion of our neuromodulatory patients are in their mid-20s." Frank recommends waiting until you're a little older to start Botox, as chronic muscle weakening over decades can change the anatomy of the muscle. face.
How to prepare for preventive Botox
Although neuromodulatory treatments do not require much preparation, it is important not to take over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin for a week before the injection, as they may increase your risk of bruising. Also be sure to avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours beforehand.
What to expect during a preventive Botox treatment
After discussing your treatment goals with your provider, you will mutually agree on the amount of Botox to inject. Tiny needles are then used for the injection and strategically and precisely placed in specific muscles, usually around the forehead, between the eyebrows and in the outer corners of the eyes. The entire process takes only a few minutes.
As far as treatments go, preventive Botox is relatively painless according to most patients, as numbing cream and other pain prevention methods are typically used to minimize discomfort. An ice pack will be applied afterwards to minimize the risk of bruising. You will be able to resume your normal activities within two hours of the injection.
Preventive Botox vs Baby Botox
Preventive Botox and Baby Botox are completely different injection strategies. Preventive Botox is for people who have not developed significant wrinkles, while Baby Botox is for those who have already developed wrinkles and want to get rid of them slowly over time rather than with one treatment. "Baby Botox could be used as a preventative treatment, but it may not be the most effective or practical way to maintain a youthful appearance," says Vasyukevich.
Potential side effects
Botox is considered a safe treatment when performed by experienced hands (i.e. a board-certified dermatologist). However, as with regular Botox injections, Vasyukevich explains that there is a possibility of minor asymmetry (usually easily corrected), droopy eyelids or double vision.
Discuss your individual concerns and goals with your doctor before any treatment, as starting too young and using the product too aggressively for decades can worsen the natural weakening of muscles. And as with any injectable, avoid medi-spas and opt for a certified injection like a dermatologist or facial plastic surgeon.
Botox prices can vary and the treatment is not covered by insurance. "You should never look for bargains in cosmetic treatments," Dr. Halim warns. "It's your face, so it's simply not worth the risk." In the hands of an experienced provider, Botox costs about $9 to $12 per unit or more. Expect to spend 300 $ to 600 $ for typical treatment areas (forehead, glabella and eyes). Vasyukevich recommends repeating injections every six months to a year.
There is very little to do after a Botox injection. Halim advises standing for the first four hours after treatment to minimize any spread of the product to areas the treatment was not intended for. Also, avoid facials or lying on your stomach for the first 48 to 72 hours, as this can lead to unwanted results. "Regular use of sunscreen, good hydration and appropriate skin moisturizers will be helpful in prolonging the effects of Botox," says Vasyukevich.
The last takeaway
Cosmetic treatments are a deeply personal choice, and one that should only be made between you and your doctor. While Botox is becoming more normalized as more and more people realize how natural, common, and safe this neuromodulator is, it doesn't mean that Botox is "mandatory" just because you reach a certain age. But if slight wrinkles or fine lines are starting to bother you, preventive Botox can be incredibly effective in softening those wrinkles and preventing deeper ones from forming. Remember, this is not a one-and-done. For optimal results, you will need to have your preventive treatments every six months or so, which can be costly. Always see a board-certified injector for Botox; when you book a consultation, they can tell you if you're a candidate for treatment, how often you'll need to come in, and how much money you should expect to set aside for your treatments.