Preventable Botox, Too Soon?

Preventative Botox

The role of Botox (officially Botulinum Toxin) as our little anti-aging assistant is well established. The injections treat facial skin to rejuvenate fine lines and wrinkles and make us appear younger. Whether it’s ‘natural’ or ‘necessary’ are subjective opinions. The truth is: these injections work. The proof is in the wrinkle-free pudding. But! There are increasing murmurs about a whole separate strategy. Traditional Botox injections have been sought out after a certain age. The timeline for using Botox would be an individual finding some fine lines somewhere on their face, feeling concern over these lines, and then proceeding to find treatments to lessen their noticeability. Well some new science (call it an anti-aging breakthrough) is advising people who find themselves in the throes of battle against time to get ahead of the game. Yep—preventative Botox. A treatment before these wrinkles develop in the first place.

The argument for Botox as prevention views the injections like a trip to the dentist. Go to the dentist to prevent cavities and go to the dermatologist regularly to prevent wrinkles. Easy peasy. But does this pre-emptive skin strike really make sense?

Many dermatologists recommend earlier-than-later Botox as a way to stop these fine lines and wrinkles in their tracks. The rule of thumb for those who advocate for preventative action is that when you see lines beginning to form when your face is at rest—time to book a treatment. Facial lines form all the time during facial expressions (depending on previous Botox history). When these lines remain afterwards, it is a clear sign that these lines are becoming permanent.

There are two main opinions. Some skin professionals feel there is no such thing as ‘too young’ for Botox, and others believe it is far less extreme to just wait until the unwelcome lines actually show up.

Early Botox injection effect

Those who prescribe early Botox injections see it as an obvious part of a dedicated skin care regime. High quality cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreen (obviously), diet (think water and collagen, graceful anti-agers) are complimented by targeted treatments. Our facial muscles are very similar to every other muscle in our body. The more you work out your face, the more definition you’ll have. Makes sense. So, by beginning Botox treatments early, you’re essentially inviting these muscles to take a break from constantly ‘working out’ and stay somewhat relaxed. It follows that someone who begins these treatments at 25 will have had fewer facial workouts then someone of 45. This means the longer you wait to begin this muscular relaxation, the more it becomes a process of reversal rather than prevention.

Early Botox injection effect

Early Botox injection effect

Cons of early Botox injections

That pretty much sums up the pro-early Botox camp. Let’s look at the potential reasons why not. Some dermatologists believe that starting botulinum toxin injections too early could encourage the targeted muscles to become too atrophic (essentially too thin) which could make the individual look prematurely aged. Yikes! Some argue this is extra true when it comes to forehead muscles. Excessive muscle loss in the forehead area could flatten both the muscles and the skin in that area. If this happens, you would be able to expect more wrinkles than if you’d never had an injection in the first place. Of course, this is opinion rather than absolute fact as the studies on preventative Botox are relatively anecdotal in nature.

Reason of being wary of starting Botox injections early?

There is one other key point from those who are wary of starting these injections too early. Some fear that once you start Botox it can become incredibly hard to stop. Relying on treatments to attain a desired look becomes the norm and you might start booking more frequent trips to feel satisfied with the results. This is relevant to the preventative Botox conversation. These treatments are only ‘preventative’ as long as they are kept up. Once the injections stop, the muscles will begin to move again. This means the wrinkles could return or form if they hadn’t yet.

Deciding to get any facial procedure is a personal choice and it helps to be well informed. Check out the options for Botox (preventative or as a combative strategy) as well as other treatments that work to aid in the quest to age gracefully. Infrared light treatments or skin resurfacing are excellent options if you aren’t ready to begin the Botox injections just yet.