Does Preventative Neurotoxin Work to Slow Aging?

Does Preventative Neurotoxin Work to Slow Aging? featured image
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Requests for neurotoxin injections are climbing. According to the Aesthetic Society, there have been significant increases in the number of botulinum toxin injections (including Dysport, Botox Cosmetic, Jeuveau, Xeomin and Daxxify) over the past few years. Pressing pause on certain lines and wrinkles is increasingly common in people within the age range of 35 and 50, with more than 9 million people receiving a neurotoxin injection in 2022, according to SpaMedica.

We’re also seeing a rising trend in preventative Botox, with the Aesthetic Society’s 2022 statistics showing that patients aged 17-35 now make up 30 percent of clientele seeking aesthetic treatment and patients as young as 18 are seeking botulinum toxin injections from their board-certified doctors.

Sound a bit young for wrinkle-freezing?

Some doctors say that preventing signs of lines and wrinkles before they show themselves can actually be beneficial for the long-term.

Featured Experts

  • Lily Lee, MD is a plastic surgeon based in Pasadena, CA
  • Michael Horn, MD is a plastic surgeon based in Chicago
  • Andrew Smith, MD is a plastic surgeon based in Irvine, CA
  • James Zins, MD is a plastic surgeon based in Cleveland, OH

What Is Preventative Botox?

Preventative Botox or neurotoxin seeks to address skin before wrinkling has occurred. Patients looking to get preventative neurotoxins may be starting to see fine lines in some areas, but have yet to develop the kind of deep set wrinkles that neurotoxins typically address.

“I do think you can prevent some wrinkles from forming with use of neurotoxins, but it takes commitment,” says Pasadena, CA plastic surgeon Lily Lee, MD. “Our current neurotoxins generally last about three to four months, so getting injected twice per year or less will not help in prevention. However, if someone were to constantly freeze their forehead muscles from moving, the muscles will atrophy a bit and the skin superficial to the muscles will not develop deep wrinkles.”

Those looking to get neurotoxins for preventive aging are usually going to be in their 30s, an age which has already seen a significant drop in collagen production. By the time we’re 25, the amount of elastin and collagen produced in our skin starts to slow down, and thus when wrinkles first start to form.

Will You Need Neurotoxins?

The Genetic Factor

Wrinkles may still be hiding during your early twenties, but Chicago plastic surgeon Michael Horn, MD says there is a tell-tale sign that deep creasing is in your future: “If someone has lot of animation in the face, that’s a sign to start getting injections.”

Dr. Lee notes she noticed this wrinkle-warning sign with her own daughter, who was just a baby when she started making intense facial expressions. “Genetics has a lot to do with strong facial muscles,” she explains. “When my daughter was a baby, I could see her ‘frowning’ with little muscle balls above her brow, even when she was sleeping. As an infant, her skin was nice and thick so obviously there were no wrinkles, but I just know that over the next couple decades, she will develop ’11’s’ between her eyebrows from her strong corrugator muscles. Looking at your biological relatives can tell you a lot.” 

If you’re someone with a predisposition for deep wrinkles, you may find that the pros and cons of preventative neurotoxin work out in your favor. While the treatments need to be conducted regularly and can definitely add up, the security of knowing a troubling wrinkle won’t be making a canyon on your face is definitely a pro.

Because animated faces are a sure sign of deep wrinkles to come, using a neurotoxin to weaken those facial muscles may lead to less wrinkles and a smoother appearance over time.

Choosing a Neurotoxin

Type Finder

According to Irvine, CA plastic surgeon Andrew Smith, MD, the best time for neurotoxin injections is when you start noticing very fine lines in the glabella (between the eyebrows), forehead or crows feet.”

To determine which neurotoxin is best for your specific needs and whether or not you’re old enough to be receiving neurotoxins, visiting a board-certified doctor nearest you is your safest route.

“There is one neurotoxin in particular that the younger generations are reaching for,” notes Dr. Horn. “The younger you are, the faster you want results, and that is why we see a lot of our younger patients lean towards Dysport. It [tends] to set in a little quicker than Botox.”

On the other hand, Dr. Lee praises the newest neurotoxin on the U.S. market, Jeuveau, which she says “does not spread as wide of a radius from injection point as the others and it seems to have a more gradual onset, creating less ‘stiffness,'” an attribute she pins as “great for younger people.”

Does Preventative Botox Work?

According to Cleveland Clinic plastic surgeon James Zins, MD, the idea is to weaken the facial muscles most responsible for wrinkle formation. “The concept is twofold,” Dr. Zins explains. “First, to break the habit of frowning and second, to train, weaken or atrophy those muscles so that they’re not as active and thus, might not lead to wrinkles.”

But so far, there’s not too much data to back that up. “The idea of it is more theoretic than operational,” Dr. Zins clarifies. “I think it’s a reasonable assumption, but we don’t have hard data to support it.”

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