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

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

If you're getting Botox for the first time, you might have a few questions.

First of all, we’re so excited that you’re making time for some self-care! But we also know that you might be wondering, "How much Botox do I need?" or "How long will my results last?" 

We're here to answer some your questions, so you can walk into your first treatment with confidence. 

So, how much Botox do I need?

We hear it all the time — "How much Botox do I need?" There's not a one-size-fits-all answer here, but your skin care provider will help determine the right dose for you based on your skin goals. 

Although the right amount of Botox varies from person to person, let's talk averages so you know what to expect. There's a recommended range for different areas of the face. 


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. Minimizing the movement of the frontalis muscle 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 achieve results. In most cases, no more than four units are injected into a single area (especially if you want a smooth, natural look). Smaller doses are often given near the hairline as well, which help to relax those forehead muscles and keep everything looking smooth.


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. Many patients stack their Botox and filler treatments for even more impactful results here!


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 to relax it and reduce how much of your gums show when you smile. 


Finally, the jawline is another common treatment area, 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 your 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?

Now that you have a good understanding of the number of units you might need, you're probably wondering — 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 sets in slowly instead of right away.

If you’re looking to get treated before a big event, give yourself a little downtime. Not only can it take time for you to see the results you want, but you might also experience slight redness, irritation or bruising. 

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 valid and important questions to ask your skin care provider before getting Botox for the first time. At Skin Pharm, we're all about open and honest communication — we want you to feel confident that you’re getting exactly what you want out of your treatment! 

If you’d like to discuss your options, schedule a skin consult, and one of our providers will go over everything with you. We look forward to seeing you!


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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