Photo credit: Victoria Rokita via Unsplash
By now, there’s a good chance you know at least something about Botox, hailed by many as a modern and increasingly mainstream miracle for smoothing out wrinkles and—at least visually—turning back the hands of time.
But what is botox exactly, and how do you know if it’s right for you? From process to payments, board-certified dermatologist Jenny Liu helps us break down everything you need to know before you go.
“Botox, also known as botulinum toxin, is derived from bacteria that temporarily causes paralysis of muscle, thereby reducing the appearance of dynamic wrinkles,” explains Dr. Liu. “It’s used for cosmetic purposes, but also medically for hyperhidrosis, migraines, and vocal cord spasms administered via injection into the muscle.” Dr. Liu points out that, while there are different types, they all work similarly in that they affect the communication between neurons and muscle, “essentially disrupting that process so there's no muscle movement.”
Botox is approved by the FDA for those ages 18+, with experts prescribing it as a preventative treatment for those in their mid to late 20s and early 30s.
“Prevention can be helpful, but overdoing it when not a lot of wrinkles are present has been associated with muscle atrophy,” cautions Dr. Liu. “It’s typically recommended for those bothered by deep wrinkles, especially when present with facial expression. Common areas of concern include lines along the forehead and around the eyes. Some may also be treated for bunny lines (along the nose), gummy smile, and neck bands.”
When it comes to payments, Dr. Liu says you can typically expect to shell out between $250 and $600 per treatment based on the amount of Botox used.
“It largely depends on the treatment area. A typical forehead usually requires about 25-30 units, crows 24 units, with most places charging between $8 and $15 per unit.”
Post-session, you can typically expect to see results between three and fourteen days. “Those results will usually last three to six months, depending on the type of botox and amount used, as well as the individual,” says Dr. Liu.
“Some people may actually develop antibodies to certain types of botox, rendering them a lesser or ineffective solution, while certain supplements such as Zinc may help to increase duration.”
As for common misconceptions around Botox and fillers, Dr. Liu points out that Botox works to reduce the appearance of deep lines, usually created by repeated muscle movement most commonly used for the upper face (such as the forehead and crows, whereas fillers help to improve volume loss that comes with aging.
“Fillers may be linear fillers that work primarily through direct filling. Some fillers may also help to stimulate internal collagen production. By improving the volume loss, they also indirectly help with deep lines,” she explains.
AquaGold Micro-Infusion, also known as the micro botox facial, takes from the idea of microneedling, acosmetic procedure that involves pricking the skin with tiny sterilized needles in an attempt to stimulate the production of new collagen, explains Dr. Liu.“It’s in a sample form and combined with the delivery of a formula, such as Botox, essentially creatingmicrochannels to allow for deeper penetration of ingredients and leaving you with a glowing, plumping effect,” explains Dr. Liu. “It can also help to even out skin texture and tone, andhas been shown to help reduce redness associated with rosacea.”