Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin injections were the single most popular cosmetic treatment of 2018, according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. More than 7.4 million treatments were administered in the United States in 2018 alone, with a trend toward younger patients getting botulinum toxin type A (BoNTA) injections for the first time.
Perhaps as a testament to the popularity of these treatments, the latest brand — Jeuveau (also known as #Newtox) — officially entered the market earlier this year.
So how do you know when is the right time to start these treatments?
Although none of these brands are FDA-approved for the prevention of wrinkles, several studies suggest they can have a “prejuvenation” effect when started early enough. I notice that my patients who have been getting BoNTA for a few years have better skin quality than those who don’t.
How do botulinum toxins work?
Botox, Dysport, Xeomin and Jeuveau are all botulinum toxin type A and work the same. These BoNTA injections work by temporarily relaxing the facial muscles that contract. The most common areas to get BoNTA injections are on the forehead, between the brows and around the eyes, as these areas experience lots of movement and quickly form lines and wrinkles. Relaxing the muscles prevents creases that form on your face with movement.
Twin studies have shown that the twin who received BoNTA injections had fewer wrinkles than the twin who did not. It is believed that one reason for this is the lack of movement of the muscles. Patients who have one side of the face paralyzed have more wrinkles on the side that moves as compared to the side that is paralyzed.
There may be more to it than just lack of movement. Researchers have found that BoNTA injections also increase collagen production within the skin and decrease enzymes called MMPs, which cause collagen to break down. Because of these qualities, it is believed that starting BoNTA injections sooner rather than later can have a preventive effect, allowing you to get fewer injections as you get older without seeing as many lines and creases.
Am I too old to start Botox?
There is no specific age cutoff to getting BoNTA. Once you see that you are developing wrinkles with movement, it is a good time to start preventing wrinkles. I have had patients as young as 20 years old get BoNTA. If you are 50+ years old, you can still benefit from BoNTA injections. Depending on your skin quality, severity of wrinkles and cosmetic goals, a combination of BoNTA and fillers may yield the best results.
Of course, all cosmetic treatments have limitations, so it is important that you have realistic goals. Don’t expect BoNTA to make you look like you did in your 20s when you’re 60 — but it can make you look like a more youthful and refreshed version of yourself.
Getting BoNTA in your 20s may help to prevent new wrinkles from forming on your face, causing you to require fewer BoNTA injections as you age. So, it is better to start sooner rather than later. If you are already past your 20s and 30s, though, it is never too late to start injectable treatments to help you achieve a more youthful appearance.
For more skincare tips and tricks from Dr. Leslie Baumann, be sure to follow Baumann Cosmetic on YouTube, or follow @BaumannCosmetic on Instagram or Facebook.