When Is the Right Time to Start Botox?

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Denervating agents Botox, Dysport and Xeomin have become the standard for a facial refresh without going under the knife, and for good reason. When injected into the face, the safe and effective injectables inhibit the muscle contractions that lead to wrinkles for about three to four months at a time. Approved as a cosmetic treatment for improving facial lines since 2002, Botox has become a household name. However, as the media reports on young celebrities and even teenagers visiting their doctors for preventative treatments—there is some controversy surrounding the praised neurotoxin. The questions arises: When is the right time to start Botox injections?

That all depends on the patient, says Louisville, KY, plastic surgeon M. Bradley Calobrace, MD. “Everybody ages differently, so it is difficult to give an exact age of when to start Botox treatment for everyone considering it,” Dr. Calobrace explains. “However, the best time to start Botox injections is when age lines are minimally visible or unformed. For most people, this starts to happen in their late 20s or early 30s.”

Studies reveal that Botox injections administered to adults when lines were first starting to become visible actually soften the muscles and can retrain the muscles in that area. Dr. Calobrace says that by softening the muscles, Botox can become a preventative treatment, if done two to four times a year, for those who are trying to reduce the amount of wrinkles they get as they age.

“The bottom line is that any reputable and ethical plastic surgeon will discourage a patient from seeking Botox injections if they are in their teens or younger,” says Dr. Calobrace. “There is no point in preventing wrinkles at that age because they are still very youthful and show no signs of visible age lines. There should be no need for them to have to worry about that yet.”

If you think you’re ready for Botox, New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD suggests having a conversation with your board-certified dermatologist. “I think the best time to start is when you feel the wrinkles are just starting to persist at rest,” says Dr Day. “Botox can help relax the expression and avoid that line from becoming permanent or getting deeper. Your doctor will be able to best guide you if it's really the right time for you.”

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