22 June 2022
Preventative Botox and Baby Botox in Your 20’s Is Real
Botox or botulinum toxin might be one of those things that you’ve always assumed that you will need when you are older or cause a frozen looking face. You are not entirely wrong- after all, botox which is used to eliminate wrinkles tends to appear in the older demographic (although jaw slimming with botox to the masseter muscles still remains popular among my younger patients) and botulinum toxin, when administered in larger doses can cause a frozen or expressionless face. But here’s where you might be in for a shock- the two new trends for Botox is more suited for younger patients who want to be wrinkle free and still look preserve their facial expressions so that no one can ever guess that they had a little ‘tweakment’.
(To learn more about jaw slimming with Botox, please read my Guide to Jaw Botox and Chin Fillers.)
Baby botox isn’t botox for babies but using ‘baby doses’ of botulinum toxin to achieve a more natural look- think of it as erasing the wrinkles on your crows’ feet, forehead and glabella without the frozen and expressionless look that was once de rigeur among Hollywood celebrities. So instead of going full throttle with botulinum toxin, smaller doses of botulinum toxin are used in the same areas of the face and with each injection spaced further apart so that the muscles do not completely ‘freeze’ up to allow more natural movements of the face.
Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton have been widely speculated to have undergone very minor ‘tweakments’ and Baby Botox to enhance their looks without drastic changes. Kim Kardashian’s looks, on the other hand, have changed dramatically over the years.
Baby botox looks set to to be another trend in the world of anti-aging dermatology with celebrities toning down on their facial enhancements for a more subtle, younger and more refreshed without looking over the top. As one magazine put it, “Less Kardashian, More Markle”. It’s all about looking less plumped and frozen; with less dermal fillers and botox (botulinum toxin). If you’d like to see examples of botched botox, this blogpost Too Much Botox: Botox Gone Wrong will share more.
Another fan of Baby Botox is yours truly. I have wrinkles at the outer corners of my eyes. These wrinkles are called crows’ feet wrinkles. Sharing with you my results of Baby Botox (administered by myself of course; perks of being an aesthetic doctor). As you can see in my before picture on the left, my wrinkles are very obvious when I smile. 1 week later after Baby Botox for my crows’ feet wrinkles, I can still smile naturally and my wrinkles have disappeared in the after picture on the right.
If the concept of Baby Botox sounds familiar, you are absolutely right. I have discussed the concept of Baby Botox because I tend to advocate more natural looking results (and treatments) that balance out your facial features- be it Botulinum toxin, facial fillers or threadlifts. It’s not always about looking better, not different version of you. Instead of hearing a friend ask “Hey, why can’t you move your forehead?” or “Did you do something to your nose?”; wouldn’t you prefer to be hear a comment like “Hey, you look younger” or “You look better”, without speculation that you had a little help.
The catch with Baby Botox? There is one downside with Baby Botox: top ups. Top ups of Botulinum toxin are just repeat injections of Botulinum toxin when their effects wear off; typically in 4-6 months. This duration varies from person to person but is broadly the same across the major brands of Botulinum toxin- Botox; Dysport, Xeomin and soon to be released, Jeuveau. With smaller doses of botulinum toxin injections, the effects of Baby Botox can wear off faster than with a higher dose of botulinum toxin and you may require top ups at shorter intervals. Secondly, because a smaller dose of botulinum toxin is injected into the muscles, the muscles of the face may not be completely relaxed. This means that not all the wrinkles may be eliminated. But that’s not really a big problem, you can just treat the remaining wrinkles with another small dose of botulinum toxin injection in one to two weeks, if necessary.
To understand more about how botox or Botulinum toxin works, please read my guide to Botox Safety.
In short, Baby Botox isn’t exactly new. It’s about eliminating wrinkles while letting the face move for natural looking results.
Not to be confused with Baby Botox is another trend- preventative (or preventive) Botox. Yup, this trend of preventing the onset of wrinkles is one for the millenials and Insta-gen.
If you have always assumed that botulinum was for the ‘older’ crowd to erase the wrinkles on their forehead/glabella/ crows feet; get ready for a paradigm shift called Prejuvenation. Just like the way Rejuran Healer and Vampire facials/ Platelet Rich Plasma treatments (PRP) are shaking up anti-aging game by repairing the skin and face before damage sets in or becomes apparent. Prejuvenation is a cross between prevention and rejuvenation and is no longer limited to millenials seeking treatments before visible signs of aging appear. The concept is to keep skin healthy and ahead of aging so that you will not require as much work later in life. Prejuvenation or Preventative Botox also ties in with Baby Botox as the doses of Botulinum toxin required are much lesser.
To learn more about these revolutionary anti-aging treatments, please read my blog posts Rejuran Healer: What You Should Know Before Getting It and Vampire Facials and Platelet Rich Plasma.
Crows’ feet wrinkles are the wrinkles at the outer corners of the eyes as seen in Jennifer Anniston.
Horizontal forehead wrinkles on Ryan Gosling
Glabella wrinkles are the two vertical wrinkles at the inner corners of the eyebrows; just above the nose.
Botulinum toxin is a neuromodulator that relaxes muscles where they have been injected so that these muscles do not pull on the overlying skin to cause wrinkles. In preventative botox, botulinum toxin is injected into hyperactive facial muscles near the eyes, forehead and glabella where they will cause wrinkles in due time. By relaxing these muscles, the other muscles of the face are activated and ‘retrained’. This then allows the facial muscles to age more evenly.
Is preventative botox suitable for me?
Although the patients seeking preventative botox are younger- namely their 20’s and early 30’s; there is no minimum or maximum age limit for preventive botox. It all depends when you get the first signs of wrinkles or furrows on your face. Without treatment, all wrinkles and lines deepen with age. For more severe cases, the wrinkles can change from dynamic wrinkles to static wrinkles and this ends up requiring more than 1 modality of treatment. So by getting treatment early, the worsening of wrinkles and aging can be delayed or even prevented.
What are dynamic wrinkles?
Wrinkles are an inevitable part of aging and they appear most commonly on the upper half of the face- the outer corners of the eyes (“crows’ feet”); the glabella (“number 11” between the brows”) and the forehead. All wrinkles begin as dynamic wrinkles- this means that these wrinkles are only apparent when we use our muscles of facial expression to smile, laugh or frown. When our facial muscles are at rest and we do not display any facial expressions; these wrinkles are not seen.
Wrinkles appear as we age due to a variety of reasons-
1. Repeated facial expressions (the more you frown and the more you smile- the earlier the onset of your wrinkles). The muscles of the face pull the overlying skin to create groove under the surface of the skin.
2. Aging– our skin loses collagen and elasticity with age. Skin also becomes drier and thinner over time. This leads to wrinkles and lines looking deeper and more obvious with age.
3. Lifestyle related– Other external factors- namely sun exposure and smoking- that accelerate the rate of collagen loss in our skin also cause the formation of wrinkles.
What are static wrinkles? Resting angry face explained.
Just like wine, wrinkles evolve over time. Unfortunately, wrinkles do not get better with age for the reason mentioned above.
Dynamic wrinkles evolve to become deeper and involve larger areas of the face as we age if these wrinkles are not treated. Over time, dynamic wrinkles turn static. This means that even at rest, without using the muscles of facial expression; these wrinkles are seen, making you look older and possibly, angrier than you would think. Years of untreated dynamic wrinkles have caused the skin above the dynamic wrinkles to form grooves and so the wrinkles have turned static.
Can botox be used to treat dynamic and static wrinkles?
Dynamic wrinkles can be treated with botulinum toxin alone. However with static wrinkles; both the muscles (causing the facial expression) and the skin have to be treated too. Botulinum toxin can reduce the severity of static wrinkles by reducing the dynamic component of the wrinkles. The overlying grooves of the static wrinkles can be treated with a dermal filler to smoothen out the lines or with fractional CO2 laser or chemical peels to resurface the skin.
In the last few years we’ve seen a pivotal shift in the types of patients coming in for botox. Gone are the days when botox was limited to more mature patients getting their wrinkles and lines fixed. These days, patients are getting younger and coming in at the first sign of wrinkles as well as before their wrinkles appear to fix these early signs of aging.
With baby botox and preventative botox, smaller doses of botulinum toxin can be employed in targeted areas of the face to treat these wrinkles or hyperactive muscles. With this conservative and careful approach, your face can still move and no one will ever guess you had little ‘tweakment’.