• Preventative Botox are injections for your face that claim to keep wrinkles from appearing.
  • Botox is safe for most people as long as it’s administered by a trained provider. Common side effects include pain, swelling, and bruising at the site of injection. In rare cases, Botox can be toxic and lead to muscle weakness and other complications.
  • Preventative Botox is common enough that it’s fairly simple and convenient to have done. That said, it’s highly recommended that you go to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon who’s trained in Botox injection rather than a day spa or clinic.
  • Botox isn’t covered by insurance and costs between $400 to $700 per treatment.
  • Preventative Botox effectiveness may vary. It can’t stop wrinkles from appearing, but it can prevent you from seeing them.

Preventative Botox are injections that claim to prevent wrinkles. Botox (botulinum toxin) has been marketed for close to 20 years as a solution for the visible signs of aging on your skin. Preventative botox starts before any wrinkles or fine lines in your face are visible. Botox is the most frequently performed cosmetic procedure in the United States.

“If Botox is injected during the initial stages of fine lines, it will help to stop them in their tracks, says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified NYC dermatologist. “The ideal candidate is someone who has begun to see faint lines. When you see those faint lines, you’re seeing a future wrinkle.”

People in their mid-to-late 20s or even early 30s would be considered candidates for preventative Botox. “Twenty-five would be a good age to start if you have a very expressive face and lines,” explained Jaliman.

Botox isn’t cheap. Moreover, it’s not covered by insurance if you’re getting it for cosmetic or “prevention” purposes. “Botox usually goes for $500 per area [of treatment],” Jaliman told Healthline. That cost will vary depending on the level of experience of your provider and the cost of living where you get the treatment. “You might find places with less expensive prices but you risk complications,” she says.

“Complications are common, as these [injections] aren’t given by a skilled experienced professional,” Jaliman said.

On the bright side, the cost of a Botox treatment is pretty straightforward. There are no hidden costs often associated with many health procedures and skin treatments. While you need to be upright for about four hours after a Botox injection, you can go right back to work the same day, without any downtime.

Appointments are over quickly, too. They take anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour. If you spend a lot of money on preventative wrinkle creams or beauty treatments, you might be able to make the argument that preventative Botox will actually save you money over time.

Some dermatologists believe preventative Botox will stop wrinkles from appearing altogether. Jaliman is one of them.

“When you start at a younger age there will generally be less fine lines and wrinkles to work with as you get older. You will need less Botox than someone who hasn’t had preventative Botox and starts at an older age.”

Botox targets the muscles of facial expression by blocking the nerve signals to those muscles. Because the majority of wrinkles are caused by repetitive movement of those muscles, botox limits those expressions to potentially prevent wrinkles.

Botox works differently than dermal fillers, which inject a gel or collagen substitutes to make your skin appear more firm. Botox is a nerve blocker.

Botox relaxes the muscles underneath your skin by blocking the nerve responses that tell your face to make certain expressions. Wrinkles are caused by your face making the same expressions, over and over again. Botox limits those expressions to potentially prevent wrinkles.

The Botox procedure is fairly straightforward. Before your first treatment, you’ll have a consultation with your provider. That conversation will address your expectations for the treatment. You’ll also go over possible side effects and complications of Botox injections.

At your treatment appointment, you’ll lie down and be instructed to relax. You may be asked to make a certain facial expression, such as raising or furrowing your eyebrows. This helps the person giving you the injection see your facial muscles and fine lines. They can then aim the injection perfectly. The injection itself may feel a little bit painful, and you’ll most likely get more than one shot.

Once the injections have been administered, you may see bumps at the site of the injections for the first half hour or so afterward. You’ll need to keep your face upright for at least four hours. Exercising after your treatment is strongly discouraged.

Botox is most popular in the lines between your eyebrows, the lines around your eyes, and the area above your forehead where your brow “furrows.” These are the most popular targeted areas for preventative Botox and the standard use of Botox, too.

Some people also use Botox to ward off “smile lines” around your lips or around your chin area. These areas are less popular and dermatologists sometimes advise dermal fillers in those areas, instead.

Botox is safe for most people, especially if you’re careful about finding a trained provider. The side effects for preventative Botox are the same as other uses of the injections. Your age at the time of treatment won’t typically put you at a higher risk of side effects.

Common side effects include:

  • headache
  • sinus inflammation and flu-like symptoms
  • dry eyes
  • swelling or bruising at the site of your injection

In rare instances, Botox side effects can result in a medical emergency. You should call your doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • difficulty breathing
  • double vision or blurred vision
  • loss of bladder control
  • an itchy rash or hives as the site of your treatment

One thing to keep in mind with preventative Botox is the risk of “frozen” or “locked” facial expressions that can result from Botox’s muscle-relaxing effects. If you don’t have any wrinkles to begin with, you might want to carefully weigh the side effects and outcomes of Botox.

Recovery after Botox is quick. Within a half hour or so, any bumps you notice at the site of your treatment should start to subside. You’ll need to avoid strenuous exercise and not lie down for a few hours while the injections “set in.” You may also notice some bruising.

Botox begins to work to relax the muscles between four to seven days after injection.

In the days after your treatment, you’ll notice that your muscles are tighter and your fine lines are less prominent. Results of preventative Botox are not permanent.

For most people, the effect of Botox injections starts to disappear after twelve weeks. You won’t need to make lifestyle changes following treatment, but you may want to schedule touch-up appointments every three months or so.

It’s possible that preventative Botox will mean you need less Botox in the future. Since preventative Botox is fairly new, we don’t know much about how long Botox can stave off wrinkles and keep them from appearing. Since results aren’t permanent, chances are you’ll just need to continue treatments to keep wrinkles from showing up, the same way you would with any kind of Botox.

Here are some examples of what facial skin looks like before and after preventative Botox injections:

There’s not much you need to do to prepare for a Botox treatment. While you may be tempted to take aspirin or ibuprofen to lessen the pain or discomfort you feel, those over-the-counter pain medications can thin your blood and are strongly discouraged in the week prior to a Botox treatment. Ask your doctor about any other herbal supplements or medications you are taking before you come to your appointment.

Your skin will be cleaned by your provider before your treatment, but save them some time by showing up to your appointment makeup-free.

The provider that you choose for preventative Botox makes a huge difference in the success of your treatment. Make sure that you identify a cosmetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon to do this treatment. The prices might be slightly higher, but the risk of side effects is significantly lower with a trained provider.

Allergan, who manufacures Botox, provides a physician locator tool that lists doctors near you who have been trained in the use of their product. Word of mouth, online reviews, and consultations prior to your appointment can all contribute to your experience if you decide to try preventative Botox.

Botox is the brand name of the botulinum A toxin manufactured by Allergan. Additional brands of botulinum toxin are Dysport (Galderma) and Xeomin (Merz). However, the name “Botox” is used almost universally to describe all of these products, regardless of the product or manufacturer.