How Much Botox Do I Need? A First-Time Guide

How Much Botox Do I Need? A First-Time Guide

If you’ve decided to take the leap and finally schedule that Botox appointment you’ve been talking about, congratulations!

We’re so excited that you’re taking the time to do something nice for yourself, because self-care is essential. 

However, we know that first-timers have many great questions — it’s a whole new world, after all. We’re here with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, like “how much Botox do I need?” so you can walk into your appointment with confidence.

So, how much Botox do I need?

The great news about questions like “how much Botox do I need?” is that you won’t have to be the one to decide (on your own, at least)! Having your Botox performed by a licensed provider means you have access to incredibly knowledgeable professionals who can find just the right dose for your unique needs. 

Having an idea of what you should expect is never a bad idea, though, so let’s go over the recommended range for different areas of your face. Remember, there is no “magic” number — it depends on what’s safe and how deep your lines are. 

THE FOREHEAD—

Three main areas of the forehead may need Botox — the frown lines between the eyebrows (also known as “glabellar lines” or “11s”), lines at the top of the nose (known as “bunny lines”) and lines across the entire forehead. The muscle primarily targeted to smooth those lines and wrinkles is the frontalis muscle, which raises the eyebrows and the skin over the nose and eyes. Stopping the frontalis muscle from performing these jobs also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Other muscles involved in and around the forehead include the corrugator and depressor super-cillis (right above the eyebrows) and the procerus and nasalis (between the nose and eyebrows).

Botox recommends using up to 20 units to treat glabellar lines, but providers can go up to 30 or 40 depending on the severity. While this may sound like a lot of Botox, the forehead is also the largest treatment area, so it requires more units to be most effective. In most cases, no more than four units are injected into a single area (especially if you want to keep more of a natural look). Smaller doses are often given near the hairline as well, which help to freeze those forehead muscles and keep everything looking smooth.

THE EYE AREA—

The eye area is another popular place for Botox injections, primarily because of the prevalence of lateral canthal lines (“crow’s feet”) as we age. But that’s not the only complaint people have with their eye areas as they age — fine lines and wrinkles under the eye or sagging above it are also common complaints. Most of these complaints involve the orbicularis oculi muscle surrounding the eyes. 

Botox recommends a dosage of 24 units for crow’s feet alone (divided between each eye), as these are often some of the most established and hard-to-treat lines. Other areas around the eyes require much smaller doses — the under-eye area often only needs one to two to be effective (try combining with filler for even more rejuvenating results).

THE MOUTH—

The other common area people request Botox injections to treat is the mouth area, specifically around the lips. The primary muscle target here is the orbicularis oris, which surrounds the mouth and helps control the movement of the lips. Two of the most frequent types of fine lines and wrinkles in this area are known as “smile lines” and “marionette lines,” which occur around the outside of the mouth. It shouldn’t take more than six units to treat the area, but your skin care provider will use discretion and consider the severity of your fine lines and wrinkles as well.

In addition to smoothing the skin, using Botox around the mouth can help naturally relax the mouth and make your lips appear subtly larger. This is known as a “lip flip,” and adding filler can take your results to a whole new level if you prefer more obvious results.

Another common target of Botox around the mouth is helping minimize the appearance of a “gummy” smile. Botox can be injected into the upper lip, relaxing it and reducing how much of your gums show when you smile. 

THE JAWLINE—

One last target of Botox treatment is the jawline, most commonly the masseter muscle. When the jawline is injected with Botox, it helps create a more defined, slimmer profile. As an added side effect, Botox in the jaw area has also been said to help reduce the risk of tension headaches, especially for people who grind their teeth or deal with TMJ! It’s a win, no matter how you look at it. 

Because the masseter muscle is larger in size, you may need more units to get the desired results. However, most people usually receive between two and six, which may go slightly deeper into the muscle than they would in more superficial areas like around the eyes. 

How long will it take before I see results?

So you’ve scheduled your appointment and have a basic idea of how many units of Botox you will need for each area of your face — how long will it take before you see results?

Like most cosmetic treatments, the results of Botox aren’t obvious immediately after your appointment. When Botox is injected into the muscle, it gets to work by blocking the nerves that tell your muscles to move. However, that doesn’t mean those nerves stop as soon as the medication reaches them — it takes a few days for them to get the message, which is why Botox shows up slowly instead of being a quick fix. 

If you’re looking to get your skin touched up before a big event, don’t schedule your appointment a day or two before and expect results (plus, your skin will likely still be a little irritated and bruised).

Most people notice optimal results from their Botox about one to four weeks after their initial injections, which is why we recommend scheduling your appointment about two weeks before any big events. These results generally last between three and four months before needing to be refreshed. That means you’ll need Botox appointments roughly three to four times a year to keep up your results. 

If you decide that you don’t want to pursue additional appointments, your Botox will begin to wear off more and more after the three to four-month mark. Your skin will eventually return to where it was before Botox, but you can always choose to restart injections again in the future!

To wrap things up...

How much Botox do I need? How long will my results last? These are all incredibly valid and important questions to ask your skin care provider before your Botox appointment. At Skin Pharm, we welcome open and honest communication — we want you to feel confident that you’re getting exactly what you want out of treatment! 

If you’d like to discuss your options, feel free to schedule a skin consult, and we’ll go over everything with you. You deserve the best skin possible, and we’d love to help get you there. We look forward to seeing you!

SOURCES:

Dosage Dilution table1 Reconstitution BOTOX® Cosmetic (onabotulinumtoxinA) Dosage | Allergan

Consideration of Muscle Depth for Botulinum Toxin Injections: A Three-Dimensional Approach | PSN

Botulinum toxin (Botox) A for reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles: a literature review of clinical use and pharmacological aspect | PMC

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