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Is Preventative Botox Actually Worth It?

Mary Lucas, RN

Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 9/20/2020

For the last few decades, Botox® has been used as a cosmetic treatment for anti-aging purposes. People get Botox on wrinkles and skin lines to help the skin appear smoother and younger. Recently, younger people are using what's called "preventative botox" to help diminish the effects of aging before it becomes prominent.

Short for botulinum toxin, Botox is a protein that’s injected in small doses to reduces wrinkles by stopping nerve signals from getting to muscles. Botox essentially paralyzes muscles by blocking acetylcholine, the chemical that causes muscles to contract. This typically wears off after three to six months, leading people to go back to get more injections to upkeep their youthful look.

Botox is remarkably popular. It was a $3.169 billion business in 2017 and that number is only expected to increase. Botox has even become streamlined with sleek store-fronts offering consultations and the cosmetic procedures at a quicker rate than traditional clinics. Though one would assume that it would be mainly popular with an older crowd, it has become a mainstay with young people, too. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the rate of women in their 20s doing having Botox procedures from 2010 to 2018 jumped 28 percent.  But is preventative Botox worth it?

What Is Preventative Botox? 

The goal of preventative Botox is to tackle wrinkles and fine-lines before they become super prominent. Towards your mid to late 20s, early signs of aging may start to appear in your skin. 

While most people may think of Botox as a means of reversing aging, preventative Botox is meant to stop the aging process from even beginning. It’s often more subtle and involves lower-doses than regular Botox procedures. 

Although Botox is FDA approved and it’s always administered by a certified dermatologist, using it preemptively is relatively new terrain. 

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Is Preventative Botox Expensive? 

If you search through Google, you surely can find a plethora of “Botox horror stories.” But actually, the potential negative side effects of preventative Botox are a bit more subtle and manifest themselves over time. 

First, this is far from a cheap solution. It can cost between several hundred to even thousands of dollars per year. 

However, since the cost of individual procedures can be anywhere from $300 to $600, the overall price of your Botox regimen will be dependent on your needs. 

You may occasionally pay that sum of money at a hair salon, but do you really want to add another hefty, regular expense to your budget?

Preventative Botox: Side Effects and Risks

In addition to costs, starting Botox too early can actually have a negative impact on your skin and ironically, make you look older. 

Speaking to Vogue, a dermatologist cautioned how "If you do too much Botox on your forehead for many, many years, the muscles will get weaker and flatter.” This could lead to skin that appears to be thinner, aged, and eventually has even more wrinkles. 

Of course, it’s worth noting the above is just one dermatologist’s opinion, and that the scientific consensus supporting that opinion is thin.

Even though there’s a lack of consensus about how detrimental it is for your skin, the term “preventative” is a bit misleading because it is far from a one-time procedure. In order to maintain that youthful look, you will have to frequently go back to get more Botox. On top of that, preventative Botox is a bit more nuanced than regular procedures and it takes more careful research to find a dermatologist that understands your needs. 

Despite its ubiquitous popularity, Botox, like any medical treatment, has its own set of side effects as well. These include pain, drooling, headaches, and dry eyes. So, is preventative Botox a good option? 

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When it comes down to it, starting Botox early simply doesn’t seem worth it. 

It may bring quick results but you will be bound to a fairly expensive product for a very long time if you want to sustain the results. There are cheaper — and less potentially detrimental — solutions for your skin. 

Hers’ anti-aging cream contains tretinoin — a retinoid medication that helps speed up rejuvenation by boosting the rate of the turnover of dead skin cells. 

In addition, it can increase your collagen and give you a more youthful appearance by smoothing out your skin and reducing wrinkles. Unlike Botox, this anti-aging cream doesn’t require any consultations and has minimal side-effects. 

You just apply a bit of the cream on your face two to three times per week and  then see what works for you. On top of that, it can be delivered to your door.

Preventative Botox might be trendy. And in the following years, it could gain even more popularity as clinics become quicker, more sleek, and alluring. However, there’s no reason why you have to resort to injections when there are other ways to get youthful skin.

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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.