Botulinum toxin (Botox) has a long list of cosmetic benefits.
You probably know that it smooths out fine lines and wrinkles and even treats certain medical conditions.
Did you know that Botox can also help you achieve a slimmer face — no gym or makeup required?
This article will explore everything there is to know about using Botox to achieve a slimmer-looking face, including price, procedure, and how to find a qualified doctor.
Botox Cosmetic is a popular type of injectable neurotoxin. It uses botulinum toxin type A to temporarily paralyze muscle.
It can be used to treat medical conditions, such as hyperhidrosis and chronic migraine.
Botox got its start as a cosmetic treatment, specifically to treat muscles of facial expression, explains Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
This includes the “11 lines between your eyebrows, crow’s feet around your eyes, and horizontal forehead lines.”
In addition to smoothing wrinkles, Botox can be used to slim and contour the face.
Doctors achieve this by targeting the masseter muscles at the back of the jaw. These muscles can give the face a square shape.
This procedure is referred to as masseter reduction.
“The masseters are a set of muscles that span the mid to lower face and are responsible for chewing,” explains Dr. Gary Linkov, a facial plastic surgeon practicing in New York City.
If you involuntarily grind your teeth at night, also called bruxism, these muscles can get bigger.
“Injection of Botox into these muscles helps to reduce their activity, which can have a dramatic effect on facial contour.”
Currently, Botox use in the lower face is considered off-label, meaning it’s not currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However,
According to Dr. Will Kirby, chief medical officer at LaserAway, facial slimming via Botox Cosmetic is surprisingly simple.
“The healthcare professional will do a brief visual assessment of the area to be treated, he or she will palpate the area to be treated, manually isolate the muscles, and then do a series of two to three injections to each side of the lower face.”
The procedure shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and the pain level is low. “Most patients don’t even really notice much discomfort at all,” he says.
For those with a low pain tolerance, a numbing cream is available.
Recovery time is very minimal, as it’s a quick in-and-out procedure. However, patients are advised to avoid the following activities immediately after the procedure:
- touching or rubbing the injected area
- lying down
- leaning down
- taking pain relievers or drinking alcohol
Botox typically takes 2 to 5 days to start working, with full slimming results seen in a few weeks. This treatment wears off after 3 to 4 months, so to maintain a slimmer appearance, you’ll need to continue to get injections several times per year.
While facial slimming with Botox is a relatively low-risk procedure, there are potential side effects that can occur.
In addition to bruising or discomfort, these side effects include:
- muscle weakness
- muscle stiffness
- dry mouth
- temporary smile distortion
- dysfunction in speech or swallowing
- temporary weakness when chewing
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call or make a trip to your doctor immediately:
- facial swelling
- severe pain
- signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives or shortness of breath
“In theory, any time a needle enters the skin a bacterial infection can occur,” adds Kirby, but that’s exceedingly rare.”
If you want to get Botox, you’ll have to pay for it yourself since it’s not covered under insurance.
The average cost for the procedure is typically around $400 to $600 for treatment on both sides of the face. However, this number varies, depending on where you live and who you choose to do the procedure.
For instance, Zeichner says that the cost can range from $600 to $1000 per treatment for a facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist performing masseter reduction in New York City.
Pricing also varies on how much product is actually injected, says Kirby. “Healthcare practitioners can price Botox Cosmetic one of two ways: either by the ‘area’ or by the number of units used.”
The average price per unit of Botox is typically around $10 to $15, depending on a practice’s pricing policies.
To give you the idea of the numbers, Linkov said that it usually takes 20 units of Botox on each side to achieve the desired effect.
It’s important to find a qualified healthcare provider to perform the procedure. After all, this could be the difference between liking your results or not.
This is why it’s always recommended that you choose a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon since they’re experts in facial anatomy.
To find the right doctor, you can look to social media and doctor’s websites to find the kind of results you’re looking for.
You can also use this link to find a provider in your area.
Your consultation visit
Once you’ve found a doctor that meets your criteria, the next step is to schedule a consultation.
Here’s a list of sample questions to ask during your initial consultation:
- How often do you perform this procedure?
- Do you have any before-and-after photos I can look at?
- What will my results be like and how long will they last?
- Do I need to reach an ideal weight before treatment?
- If I lose weight, will it affect my fillers?
- How much will this cost?
- How often will I have to repeat the treatment?
A slimmer, more defined face could be just a few Botox injections away.
Masseter reduction has even been said to give the appearance of a 5- to 10-pound weight loss.
Finding the right board certified doctor to perform the procedure is vitally important. Your face is in their hands, so choose wisely.
Lastly, be aware of any serious side effects that can occur. If these happen, be sure to either call or visit your doctor right away.