Facial muscle relaxers like Botox and Dysport have long been in use for hiding visible wrinkles. But in recent years, there has been an upswing in their use among younger users. The average age for starting treatments with facial muscle relaxers was between 35 and 45. But this average is beginning to drop with the preventative Botox trend.
Over the past 10 years, there’s been a >40% increase in users between the ages of 19-34. Instead of using facial muscle relaxers (FMR) in reaction to wrinkles, younger users are using it to prevent them. It’s now being incorporated into self-care routines for both women and men.
Today, we’re taking a deeper look into what this trend is all about.
How Facial Muscle Relaxers Work
The contractions of facial muscles over time cause wrinkles to appear. FMRs inject a specialized protein, like Botox, into the target muscles. This prevents the muscle from contracting, softening and reducing existing wrinkles. Applying this same treatment before wrinkles form can help prevent or reduce their eventual appearance.
Facial muscle relaxers are FDA-approved for the treatment of anyone aged 18 and older. But since the traditional use has been to remove wrinkles, the average age skewed higher.
The Difference between Standard Botox & Preventative Botox
The first, and the most obvious, difference is that preventative Botox occurs before wrinkles begin to form. But the actual treatments themselves are not quite the same either. Both the dosages and frequency can differ between preventative and traditional responsive treatments.
For preventative Botox, the doses are significantly smaller. Stopping or delaying the development of wrinkles requires less restriction than removing them. As such, a lower dose is sufficient. As well, people tend to get preventative Botox treatments less frequently. For traditional Botox injections, most plastic surgeons recommend waiting 4 to 6 months between treatments.
For preventative care, many people will wait 8 months to a year between injections. Although there is a smaller dosage, making it harder for the body to become resistant to it, there’s also less need for frequency since wrinkles aren’t present yet.
Does It Work?
Preventative Botox does actually work. Granted, like regular Botox treatments it doesn’t affect wrinkles caused by sun damage.
Simply put, the facial muscle relaxers train your face to avoid wrinkle-forming habits. The key is having a doctor who truly understands facial anatomy and aesthetics. A good plastic surgeon can examine your face and determine where you are most likely to develop wrinkles. This informs where they administer doses to maintain your youthful, natural appearance.
Importance of a Reputable Plastic Surgeon
For younger people focused on self-care, it can be tempting to find the lowest-cost solution. But when you’re looking at your health and your face, it’s definitely worth seeking out a professional plastic surgeon. As mentioned above, an experienced plastic surgeon has a better understanding of facial anatomy and symmetry. As a result, they can better predict where you will develop wrinkles, so you can get more effective Botox treatment.
But, it’s not just your appearance that matters, it’s your safety. While Botox is FDA-approved, it’s really only truly safe in the hands of a professional. If you go to a less reputable clinic you never know where it was sourced or how it’s been stored. This puts your health at risk. As well, you lose certainty that you are receiving the right doses in the right locations. This can result in the frozen look that Botox is sometimes criticized for.
Fortunately, all these risks can be mitigated by going to a reputable plastic surgeon. The preventative Botox self-care craze works and, as a result, it looks like it’s here to stay. Just make sure you get it done by a professional. Look younger and stay younger by preventing wrinkles early. And that’s nothing to frown about.
Dr. Victoria Hayward is a plastic surgeon specializing in anti-aging, skin health, and cosmetic surgery. She practices in Newmarket, Ontario and the GTA. She operates at the Plastic Surgery Skin Clinic along with clinic owner Dr. Richard Rival. Together, they offer a number of services, including anti-ageing solutions like facial muscle relaxers.