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Preventative Botox – crazy trend or important cosmetic procedure?

In recent years more and more patients inquire about so-called “baby” or preventative Botox. Sounds good, right? Using Botox to prevent wrinkles… However, not many actually know what exactly it is and whether or not they are good candidates.

First of all, let remind ourselves what Botox actually is. Botox is a trade name for a toxin found in bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum. It is used in a very (very!) diluted form and when it is injected into a muscle, it relaxes it. The skin on top of the muscle then stretches and appears smoother. Typically we inject it between the eyebrows, around the eyes and in the forehead, so when the muscles relax, you can no longer make certain facial expressions and your skin will therefore not wrinkle.

We (Doctors) use the name “preventative” or “baby botox” for the method of delivering of lower amounts of toxin into muscles to prevent wrinkles from appearing, become permanent and/or progress with age. For example, some people have a habit of frowning when they look at a computer screen, thinking about something serious etc. In such case lines between eyebrows, or so-called “11”, can already form in your early 20’s. Some of us have very expressive faces, so forehead wrinkles can come as a result of active muscle movement when we are still young and get very deep even before our 30’s. When you notice a faint line on your forehead even when your face is at rest – it is the right time to do something to prevent it from getting deeper and becoming permanent.

I often hear that people are afraid to lose their personality, their unique facial expressions, after Botox. No one wants to be “frozen”, more and more patients are asking for a natural but more relaxed look. “Please make me look like I had a good vacation” – is the most common request.

In such cases “baby botox” is a good option to consider. Using a moderate amount of toxin won’t stop your muscles from moving but it will relax them enough to prevent you from using them too much.

Some describe the feeling “like having a Band-Aid between your eyebrows”, it won’t stop you from frowning but it will make it more difficult. However, keep in mind that a lower amount of toxin won’t last as long as a “standard” dose. You might notice that your full range of movement might be back as soon as 2 months after treatment. Then again, the idea of “baby botox” is not to “freeze” your face but to help you to forget that habit of frowning in the first place.

When is the right time to start “baby botox”? It is never too early to start anti-aging regimen. And if you start botox early enough as prevention, and if it is done correctly, you won’t need so much in the future so for some people late 20’s or early 30’s is the right time to start.

However, I can’t recommend a best or most suitable age to start Botox…it really depends on your facial muscle’s activity, skin type, life style, your goals and expectations.

So please ask yourself first whether you did everything possible to make your skin smoother before sticking a needle in your forehead? Do you have a good skin care routine?  Very often using a good night cream, serum and light peeling can reduce the depth of wrinkles by 50%! 

And if you decided that it might be for you, that you might need it as a preventative measure – please remember that it is still a medical procedure. It involves needles and risks such as bleeding, bruising and infection.

So choose wisely, research a facility and practitioner with whom you are planning to start your ant-aging journey to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Always ask your doctor how many units were used for you, what is the after procedure precautions and possible side effects. Be reasonable; do not expect the effect of a face lift especially if you are going for preventative treatment. It is always better to wait until the effect completely wears off before repeating the procedure. If you are using botox as prevention the best is to repeat it once or twice a year.

Read more, ask questions and decide what is better for you, because in the end of the day the best wrinkle is the one you never get.

by Dr. Inna Gaponko


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