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We’ve all heard the saying proclaiming, “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.” This rings true for many aspects of aging and skin health from daily sunscreen use to routine nightly applications of retinol. But what about Botox? Is preventative Botox a thing? Should you be getting it at 20? Believe it or not, there’s no treatment more popular among 20-somethings than Botox. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons statistics show botulinum toxin procedures have increased 28 percent since 2010 amongst 20 to 29-year-olds and doctors say the number of young people who are opting for preventative Botox, in other words, using Botox to stop wrinkles before they start, continues to grow.

The question remains, “how many wrinkles could a 20 year-old have?” Most people aren’t even thinking of, much less worrying about wrinkles at that age. 

Botox is one of those things you’ve always assumed is far off on the horizon 15 or 20 years. Ultimately, the injectable is mostly used by an older demographic to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, however, there are exceptions. If constant eyebrow furrowing has created the first signs of an angry crease or premature crow’s feet around the thin skin of eyes are a perpetual cause of annoyance, injectables can help. The stipulation when it comes to Botox and filler: targeted tweaks are a better idea then doing too much too soon.

You may still be asking, “why start Botox so young?”

Preventative Botox is used to retrain facial muscles and improve facial imbalances that can cause wrinkles. The use of precise and discrete placement of a neuromodulator like Botox, affects specific muscles that are pulling in an unwanted direction. This allows opposing muscles to pull in the opposite direction to become stronger over time, contributing to the muscles to aging more evenly. The reason people develop wrinkles to start with is because, over time, the skin weakens and can’t easily bounce back from the creasing caused by laughing, smiling, furrowing your brow, and all the other movements your face makes regularly.

Combined treatment plans for best results

Typically, the recommended treatment for wrinkles is two fold. A topical retinol product is used to stimulate collagen, which strengthens and reinforces your skin. The at-home regimen is combined with  neuromodulators, (like Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin) to relax facial muscles and prevent the muscles from constricting and wrinkling overlying skin. Used together retinol and Botox are a highly effective combination. Preventative Botox simply begins the process a bit earlier. 

Botox (and all neuromodulators) prevent what is called dynamic wrinkles, or wrinkles caused by muscle movements. Those normal actions are usually behind lines that develop around the sides of your mouth, horizontal lines across the forehead, crow’s feet, and wrinkles on the side of your nose. By immobilizing these muscles with Botox, their movement is prevented and as a result, the ensuing wrinkles.

Why it’s a good idea

Doctors that specialize in aesthetics, like Dr. Ramirez Gavidia, can predict if and where you might need preventative Botox just by looking at your face. For instance, a person who habitually purses her lips and furrows her brow, potentially will start to get lines around her mouth and forehead in her 20s. An expert injector can inject Botox in the right places to help retrain a person’s face to no longer routinely make the facial gesture lowering the odds that they’ll develop permanent wrinkles in those areas.

Guess what? It really works!

Experts agree Botox can reverse mild lines and prevent them from developing into lines or wrinkles at all. The best time, of course, to start treating wrinkles is when they first appear. Wrinkles will start to appear when you’re making facial expressions and go away at rest, but over time wrinkles will begin to stay, even when you’re not making a particular facial expression.

When to start treatment

It’s ideal to initiate treatment at the earliest sign of resting wrinkles, before wrinkles start to get ingrained, because you know they will eventually fully develop. The biggest myth about starting Botox in your 20s or 30s is that you’re going to be hooked on injectables for the rest of your life. On the contrary, patients come back less and less often over time. Some people may need a touch-up after three or four months, while others may not need to come back for a year or even less often.

It’s important to note that preventative Botox is not for everyone.

While everyone needs to use sunscreen, not everyone necessarily needs neuromodulators. Botox is simply additional ammunition in a person’s wrinkle-preventing arsenal. Safe sun habits, vitamin C, and retinols– your daily skincare habits form the basis of your anti-aging defense. If you’re doing everything right, but you are still beginning to have pesky wrinkles form that bother you, Botox might be the answer you are looking for. 

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