Ask A Dermatologist: Can Botox Prevent Wrinkles?
The use of neuromodulators like Botox as a preventative treatment by younger patients is on the rise. According to the American Society for Plastic Surgeons, 107,423 people in their 20’s underwent a neurotoxin treatment (including Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin) in the United States in 2017. That’s a 36.84% increase from the year 2010.
The trend is also happening here in Austin, with many of our younger patients asking if Botox can prevent wrinkle formation. Often these are individuals with little to no current wrinkles at rest who wish to proactively use a neurotoxin to prevent line or wrinkle development.
It’s true that neurotoxins like Botulinum toxin injections have the ability to prevent or limit future wrinkle formation. After all, neurotoxins like Botox limit the contraction of underlying facial muscles that can result in the development of dynamic and static wrinkles. These are wrinkles that are formed through years of repetitive facial motions like deep frowning, smiling, squinting, and puckering of the lips.
When treating young patients whose goal is prevention rather than correction, we use very small amounts to slightly blunt the movement of muscles, rather than stop all expressions. This can be a very affordable procedure, less than the cost of a haircut and color every 3-4 months. The benefits are very real and worth it in the long term.
A study from 2006 looked at the long-term effects of Botox on two identical twins. After 13 years, the twin who had been getting Botox 2-3 times a year had fewer fine lines on the forehead and around her eyes. She looked noticeably younger than her twin who hadn’t received any Botox. This highlights the old adage – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Younger patients will benefit from other preventative methods in addition to neuromodulators like Botox. One of the most important ways for people in their 20’s to prevent aging is to maintain a proper skin care regimen that includes wearing a high-quality broad-spectrum sunscreen and an antioxidant daily. Other lifestyle choices like avoiding cigarettes or alcohol and eating a healthy diet are also proven wrinkle preventives. Lastly, several in-office cosmetic treatments including laser resurfacing, chemical peels, microneedling can help the skin look its best.