When someone says they “get Botox,” it may not exactly mean what you think. Indeed, there are four such injectables on the market: Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, and now Jeuveau, and all of these use botulinum toxin to smooth out wrinkles and lessen the signs of aging in the same way, though there are many misnomers about how that happens.
“Many people think that they’re fillers, but they’re paralyzing agents. These injectables stop the transmission of the electrical impulses from the nerve endings to the muscles, meaning the muscles cannot contract normally,” says Phillip R. Langsdon, MD, facial plastic surgeon in Germantown, Tennessee, and president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). When you can’t move the muscle, the expressions you make with your face can’t create the fine lines and wrinkles that etch in over time to take up permanent residence on your face. (Though when done right by a trained professional, you won’t look “frozen” or expressionless.)
Within the “Botox” umbrella, there’s been a growing interest in specific types of treatments using these injectables, including “Baby Botox,” “BroTox,” and “Budget Botox.”
Baby Botox: Best for People Looking to Prevent Signs of Aging
“For younger patients, Botox my help prevent or slow down the progression of lines, particularly around the eyes, eyebrows, and forehead,” says Patrick J. Byrne, MD, professor and director in the division of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Lutherville, Maryland. (“Younger” is subjective, but Dr. Byrne says that they see some patients in their late twenties.)
“’Baby Botox,’ is a term that often refers to the desire for subtle, rather than more dramatic changes,” says Byrne. In this event, the doctor would inject smaller amounts of Botox.
BroTox: Best for Guys Who Want to Get in on the Anti-Wrinkle Treatment
Don’t think that botulinum toxin therapy is just for women. In fact, the most common nonsurgical procedure for men is Botox and fillers, according to a 2018 AAFPRS report. Of the plastic surgeons surveyed, they said that their male patients used rejuvenating treatments with the goal of staying “relevant and competitive at work.”
One of the most popular areas to target? The “11s.” “Many men have deep frown lines between the brows. When those lines are deep, it makes a person look older or even angry,” says Dr. Langsdon. He also says that many men may also get Botox in both the crow’s feet and frown line areas, which may have the result of lifting droopy brows — and making someone appear more awake or less serious.
Budget Botox: A Dangerous Cosmetic Trend to Avoid
In a disturbing trend, people may turn to DIY Botox, learning how to inject the toxin into their face via online videos. A study published in August 2018 in the journal Plastic Surgery outlined the problem. Researchers looked at four online discussion forums on the topic and noted that prospective patients were buying unregulated Botox kits online, watching YouTube tutorials, and downloading “Botox injection maps” from the internet. More worrisome, the authors pointed out that people knew that doing so wasn’t safe, but justified that risk with an explanation that they have agency over their own bodies and decisions.
It goes without saying that this isn’t safe; Botox requires a properly trained doctor. There’s also the concern that formulations purchased online are counterfeit. “Injecting may look easy, but to inject it safely requires in-depth medical knowledge of how the body works,” notes the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). For your health and safety — and best outcome — seek out an appropriately trained and licensed physician, says Byrne. To find out if the healthcare professional administering your Botox is legit, take advantage of the free “Is My Doctor Board Certified?” search tool offered on CertificationMatters.org.