We’ve all heard about the wonders of Botox and how it can take years off your looks, but have you ever heard you should back off Botox as you age? While the benefits of neurotoxins are well documented and have been used in the cosmetic sector for decades, there’s still a time when too much for too long can have an adverse effect.
How long should you continue with injections as the years turn into decades? We talked to board certified plastic surgeons to hear their thoughts on Botox and when LESS really is MORE.
Avoid the Artificial
When neurotoxins such as Botox, Dysport and Xeomin are injected, they can safely and effectively erase lines in the forehead, between the brows and at the outer corners of the eyes. Dr. Christine Hamori, a plastic surgeon from the Boston area says as you age, you may want to back off Botox injections to avoid being too smooth and shiny. “You want to be able to animate and look a little bit your age, so it looks natural, not too flat and waxy. That’s really important,” says Hamori.
The shiny or waxy appearance Hamori speaks of is what can happen when your forehead becomes too frozen from too much Botox. Keep in mind, Botox and other similar brands are toxins, and while they’ve been proven safe, the toxins work by paralyzing the muscles. The paralysis keeps you from over animating or frowning, and in turn, reduces wrinkles. But just like any other muscle, the forehead muscles can thin or atrophy when they’re not used over many years. This can be good and bad. Good when you don’t develop permanent lines and wrinkles; bad when there’s overuse and your eyebrows drop down as a result of atrophied muscles. Think about a time when you may have injured an arm or a leg and you weren’t able to use those injured muscles. What happened? That arm or leg shriveled up and atrophied!
“Repetitive use of neurotoxins needs to be watched.” – Shaun Parson, MD
Dr. Shaun Parson, a plastic surgeon from Scottsdale, Arizona says “Repetitive use of neurotoxins needs to be watched. I’ve seen people who now aren’t getting good effects [with their neurotoxins] and have heavier brows and we end up doing brow lifts. Would they have eventually had surgery anyway? Maybe, It’s hard to say because everyone ages differently and at a different rate.”
Accept the wrinkle…
So what do we do? If you’re like many people who love Botox, it’s hard to cut down or do without. Dr. Hamori says you don’t have to stop, just alter the dosing. “Maybe come in a little more frequently but do lower dosing. More dilute and just put the neurotoxin in a couple of spots and not as heavily as you normally would. This way you can have a little bit of motion in your brow.” Hamori says as you get older start accepting a little wrinkle above your brow. It looks more age appropriate anyway!
If you’re concerned about over-doing Botox and you’re striving for a natural look, consider lowering the dosage and go in for more frequent touch-ups. Also keep in mind, Botox must be injected precisely, by an expert. Even though Botox is an extremely common procedure, it’s not a “simple” procedure. When it’s injected poorly the result can be a very unnatural.