Botox for Preventive Anti-Aging: Experts Reveal What It Can and Can't Do

When Botox Cosmetic was first introduced as this magic anti-aging solution in a bottle, its use was more limited to those with mature skin who were deep in the throws of the aging process. But, as we’ve learned more and more about neurotoxins over the years, there’s a whole new type of patient who is much younger than the first generation of users and are lining up for Botox Cosmetic for its preventive effects.

“We are seeing both women and men seek out Botox at younger ages, as they are more savvy about anti-aging today and are interested in prevention. They understand that starting early will make maintenance much easier in the future,” says Great Neck, NY, dermatologist Kally Papantoniou, MD. “But the right time to start really depends on each person, their individual needs and their facial expression patterns.”

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Nanuet, NY, dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD, adds that 20 years ago Botox Cosmetic was used to block muscle movement to get rid of lines. “Since, we’ve learned to establish another effect—the anti-aging effect of botulinum toxin [even before wrinkles form].”

If you want to prevent the signs of aging but don’t really have many lines or wrinkles, Dr. Papantoniou says that injecting neurotoxins in strategic locations will help prevent the development of wrinkles and fewer units are required to accomplish this. However, Dr. Waldorf adds that once you see changes at rest, toxins alone may not be sufficient.

However, just because you choose to start getting regular injections of Botox Cosmetic at 25 instead of 45, doesn’t necessarily make you immune to aging and here’s why. Getting injected before the signs of aging are really evident will help—you’ll be less likely to develop lines and wrinkles around the eyes, nose, and forehead, which can reduce the need to do as many lasers, fillers and surgical procedures in the future. “I always explain to patients that when it comes to prevention, treatment and maintenance, there is no one magic bullet. Just as it takes top, bottom, accessories and shoes to make an outfit, keeping ahead of the aging process takes a holistic approach to all the aspects of aging,” says Dr. Waldorf. “Botox works on the muscles effect on the skin. Volume replenishment requires fillers, improvement of texture and color changes of photodamage require resurfacing generally with lasers like Fraxel dual; sagging skin can be improved using energy-based devices like Ultherapy and Thermage. And of course, ultraviolet exposure and cigarette smoking will age the skin disproportionately—Botox alone wont fix that.”

So, even if you start Botox Cosmetic at a young age and do it religiously, you’ll still experience signs of aging. And while the face as a whole should always be addressed, starting Botox Cosmetic sooner rather than later will make you look better than if nothing were done at all.

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