Neurotoxins for Preventative Anti-Aging: Here’s What to Know


Requests for neurotoxin injections are climbing. According to the Aesthetic Society, there was a 17.8 percent increase in botulinum toxin injections (including Botox Cosmetic, Dysport and Xeomin) from 2015 to 2019. While pressing pause on certain lines and wrinkles is increasingly common in people within the age range of 35 and 50—more than one million people received a neurotoxin injection in 2019—the Aesthetic Society’s 2019 statistics show that patients as young as 18 are seeking botulinum toxin injections from their board-certified doctors. Sound a bit young for wrinkle-freezing? Some doctors say that preventing signs of lines and wrinkles before they show themselves can actually be beneficial for the long-term.

Early Bird
“I do think you can prevent some wrinkles from forming with use of neurotoxins, but it takes commitment,” says Pasadena, CA plastic surgeon Lily Lee, MD. “Our current neurotoxins generally last about three to four months, so getting injected twice per year or less will not help in prevention. However, if someone were to constantly freeze their forehead muscles from moving, the muscles will atrophy a bit and the skin superficial to the muscles will not develop deep wrinkles.”

The Genetic Factor
Wrinkles may still be hiding during your early twenties, but Chicago plastic surgeon Michael Horn, MD says there is a tell-tale sign that deep creasing is in your future: “If someone has lot of animation in the face, that’s a sign to start getting injections.”

Dr. Lee notes she noticed this wrinkle-warning sign with her own daughter, who was just a baby when she started making intense facial expressions. “Genetics has a lot to do with strong facial muscles,” she explains. “When my daughter was a baby, I could see her ‘frowning’ with little muscle balls above her brow, even when she was sleeping. As an infant, her skin was nice and thick so obviously there were no wrinkles, but I just know that over the next couple decades, she will develop ’11’s’ between her eyebrows from her strong corrugator muscles. Looking at your biological relatives can tell you a lot.” 

Type Finder
According to Irvine, CA plastic surgeon Andrew Smith, MD, the best time for neurotoxin injections is when you start noticing very fine lines in the glabella (between the eyebrows), forehead or crows feet.” To determine which neurotoxin is best for your specific needs and whether or not you’re old enough to be receiving neurotoxins, visiting a board-certified doctor nearest you is your safest route.

“There is one neurotoxin in particular that the younger generations are reaching for,” notes Dr. Horn. “The younger you are, the faster you want results, and that is why we see a lot of our younger patients lean towards Dysport. It [tends] to set in a little quicker than Botox.” On the other hand, Dr. Lee praises the newest neurotoxin on the U.S. market, Jeuveau, which she says “does not spread as wide of a radius from injection point to point as the others and it seems to have a more gradual onset, creating less ‘stiffness,’” an attribute she pins as “great for younger people.”

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