Morsani College of Medicine

Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery

“Do I need Botox yet?”


As a cosmetic practitioner this question is common dialogue with patients in our practice on a daily basis. I am sure that other cosmetic providers can agree that we often hear “I’m not ready for Botox … I really don’t need it yet”. The truth of the matter is that most people that think they “aren’t ready” are the ones that can benefit from Botox the most. What do I mean by this? Let’s take a quick moment to learn the basics of Botox so that you too can make an education decision on whether or not Botox is right for you.

Botox is actually a preventative measure used in combating wrinkles that form from making an expression. This is why you will hear providers call them dynamic wrinkle lines or wrinkles of motion. The idea behind Botox is that it temporarily weakens a muscle complex, therefore not allowing you to use that muscle to its full potential. When you are not able to use the maximum potential of that muscle it allows that area to rest. Over time, this will soften your expression lines. In younger patients these expression lines can easily resolve with one or two treatments of Botox. More mature patients have been making these expressions for much longer therefore their dynamic wrinkle lines can actually become etched in scars that are significantly more difficult to treat with Botox. So the key to Botox is starting early and not when those lines become obvious or pronounced at rest. With that being said, it is never too late to start Botox, even more mature patients can see a great benefit from using Botox. Most patients will start Botox in their late 20’s and 30’s. Unfortunately Botox gets bad press when it is “over done”, mostly by patient request, from those that suffer from what we call “wrinkle-rexia”. Bystanders should not know that you have received Botox, only that you look “soft, natural, well rested, and really good for your age”.


Now understanding the importance of starting Botox early, let’s dive a little deeper into the science behind Botox. Botox is a protein derived from the bacterium clostridium botulinum that has qualities of a neurotoxin. Botox decreases muscle activity by blocking overactive nerve impulses that trigger excessive muscle contractions. It was FDA approved in 2002 to use in between the brows but we often use it off-label to soften crow’s feet, forehead lines, and in the lower face to achieve the best outcomes for our patients. The results of Botox last about 3-4 months and can vary between patients and areas of the face. It takes anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to see the initial results post injection. The Botox injection procedure is very quick and can easily be done during lunch hour or in between errands. Some practitioners will use ice or numbing cream prior to injection, to minimize discomfort. Common side effects include headache and pinpoint bruising. Other less common side effects are flu like symptoms, droopy eyelid, and heaviness in the brows. All side effects of Botox are transient meaning they go away in a few weeks following the procedure. Most would consider Botox and safe and effective cosmetic procedure.

So the next time you ask yourself “Do I need Botox yet?” I encourage you to reference this post and inform yourself on the benefits of starting Botox early and often to maximize your anti-aging potential.