How Much Botox Do I Need?

By WD Staff June 8, 2015 2 Comments

how much botox do i need

It’s a common question asked by most Botox patients: How much Botox do I need? This is an important consideration before undergoing a Botox treatment as the amount of Botox (units) required determines the overall cost of the procedure.

Every patient is unique in terms of both facial characteristics and desired result. Each individual facial muscle requires a differing amount of Botox in order to fully relax and prevent wrinkle formation. To further complicate matters there are a variety of other characteristics that influence how your body reacts to Botox injections. These can include your gender, size and strength of your facial muscles, and your metabolism.

Despite that, there is a set of guidelines provided by Botox’s manufacturer Allergan that can provide an estimate on how much Botox each patient will need for the result they seek.

What is a unit of Botox?

Botox is measured in units, an arbitrary unit of measurement derived by animal studies that correlate to a fixed number of botulinum molecules. Units measure the biologic strength of the Botox; it’s a scale to standardize the ability of Botox to relax the nerve. Units are unique to Botox and are determined by Allergan (all other neurotoxins and dermal fillers are measured differently). Each vial of Botox contains 100 units, which can be split into individual blocks for treating various areas.

Guidelines: Botox units per facial area

Generally accepted guidelines have been published that list amount of Botox in units to treat the most common areas.  Most Botox providers use these guidelines as a starting point and customize a treatment plan for each patient (given the patient’s current condition and desired results):

  • Frown or Glabellar Lines: 15-25 Botox units
  • Crow’s Feet: 5-15 Botox units per side
  • Forehead lines: 10-30 Botox unites
  • Eyebrows: 2-5 Botox units per side
  • Nasalis “Bunny” lines: 5-10 Botox units
  • Upper lip lines: 4-8 Botox units
  • Smile lift: 3-6 Botox units
  • Dimpled chin: 2-6 Botox units
  • Marionette lines: 2-8 Botox units

Note that the only treatments listed above that are FDA approved are for glabellar lines and crow’s feet. The other treatments are considered off-label uses.

Characteristics that influence how much Botox is needed

There are many different factors that can determine how well a patient reacts to Botox, and therefore impacts how much neurotoxin is required to achieve a desired final result. Some of the most well-known characteristics include:

  • Gender: Typically men have larger facial muscles compared to women and thus they generally need more Botox.
  • Facial muscle strength: Beyond size, people have differing facial muscle strength which is typically developed through repetition of actions like frowning, smiling, squinting, or pursing the lips. Individuals who are more prone to these repetitions will require more Botox.
  • Metabolism: Everyone has differing metabolism levels which will determine how long the effects of Botox will last. Botox typically lasts for 3-4 months.

Get the recommended number of units

At Westlake Dermatology we make sure all of our Botox patients, whether first time or returning, receive the proper amount of Botox as determined by our providers. Attempting to save money by undertreating an area will not create a satisfying result and could end up costing you more money if a fix is needed. An experienced Botox injector will determine the right amount of Botox needed to deliver the results you are looking for.


WD Staff

A united group of skin care specialists from Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery with contributions from Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Aestheticians, Physician Assistants, Aesthetic Nurses, Marketers and Patient Coordinators.


2 Responses to “How Much Botox Do I Need?”

  1. Rae says:

    Great post Maegan, I’m currently thinking about Botox and this was helpful. I didn’t understand units and areas but I think I get it now.

  2. Julia says:

    Very helpful post guys, I’m coming in next week knowing more about how botox works

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