Botox has become one of the most popular cosmetic procedures around the world. And for good reason: Botox injections are relatively affordable – compared to a facelift or many other forms of facial rejuvenation. They are extremely easy to administer; you’re typically in and out of your doctor’s office in 20 minutes. And they are also entirely pain-free. What’s more, Botox is FDA-approved and has an impeccable safety record. (Dysport or Xeomin are also safe alternatives, but unlike Botox they are not FDA-approved.) But lately a new term has cropped up: preventative Botox.
At What Age Should You Start Botox Injections?
The rule of thumb used to be to start Botox injections once your resting face showed lines and wrinkles on your forehead and around your eyes. For most people, this occurs in their 40s and 50s.The way Botox works is that it paralyzes your facial muscles. Of course, you don’t want to have a paralyzed or “frozen” face. But when administered by an experienced plastic surgeon in precisely the right dosage, it can work wonders softening or even erasing the lines in your face.
However, doctors have lately observed a significant increase in younger patients using Botox preventively, or so-called “preventative Botox.” It is not uncommon for women – and increasingly men – to start using Botox in their 30s and even 20s. The idea is to delay the formation of future wrinkles by training your facial muscles otherwise. If you don’t use the muscles you typically use to purse your lips or furrow your brows, then you won’t later form those deep lines in those places.
Is this really true?
Preventative Botox: Myth or Fact
Studies suggest the answer is yes. Botox doesn’t just make your wrinkles disappear by paralyzing certain facial muscles, it also seems to increase the elasticity of your skin while it’s in effect. Starting with Botox early apparently helps to keep your skin elastic at the same time as preventing you from forming those habits that cause wrinkles to form. Also, starting early means you’re not going to need as much in the future, meaning you’ll have to go back less often for more.
But does this mean you should start Botox injections on your 20th birthday? Not necessarily. Throughout your twenties, your skin has enough volume and elasticity that it can withstand the activity of your underlying muscles. Some plastic surgeons suggest that you wait until the skin beings to lose volume and thickness, sometime between 30 and 40 years old. Why start early when you’re showing no signs, when it’s still just as effective if you start after the first lines have formed? You could potentially save a good amount of money by only starting with Botox when you really need it. When you’re in your twenties, you may not have the means to see a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist on a regular basis. And if you don’t have it done by a proper professional, you might end up looking like the front page of a trashy tabloid.
Botox or Not: Don’t Forget to Take Care of Your Skin
Another reason for not starting preventative Botox too early: It might lull you into an easy fix. In your 20s and 30s, what you really should focus on is taking good care of your face. Most plastic surgeons will urge you to practice good eating habits, wear sunscreen religiously, and avoid smoking to preserve your youthful skin.
Lastly, there is something refreshing about your youthful smile that you don’t want to take away. Sometimes it’s worth showing a perceived imperfection in exchange for having a unique and interesting face. If we all strive for perfection at an early age, we might all end up looking the same.
Taking all this into consideration, we counsel our patients to come in for Botox when their facial lines begin to bother them. Based on genetics and environmental factors, it might be earlier for some and later for others. Preventative Botox is definitely a thing, but don’t feel like you have to have it so you don’t age horribly later on. That is simply not true.
A good argument for starting earlier rather than later can be f0und in the other, non-cosmetic uses of Botox. It has been proven to help against migraines, and more recently dentists have also started to use Botox in patients who clench their jaws or grind their teeth excessively.
We hope that we’ve helped you better understand preventative Botox and when and how it can be used effectively. If you have any questions, call the friendly staff at NuBody Concepts to get more information!