Considering America's most popular minimally invasive cosmetic procedure? Do your research first!

Over 6.7 million Botox procedures were performed in 2015, making it the most popular minimally invasive procedure in America, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 

That number continues to rise each year as women (and some men) younger and younger begin prophylactic Botox to prevent wrinkles from forming in the first-place. It's especially tempting if you're done having children and looking to get your groove back. Botox and fillers are certainly buzz worthy, but are they for you? 

As with all cosmetic procedures, especially medical, we recommend working with a licensed professional, preferably a medical doctor to discuss and carry out the procedure (you can read about my experience with Restylane Silk here.)

We also have a list of topics/questions to discuss with your doctor about the procedure based on your individual case and expectations. Here are the minimum 7 questions you should ask before getting Botox:

1. What is the procedure like? Will it hurt? What are the side effects?

Every patient should ask about the actual procedure and its immediate aftermath. Will there be swelling and blotchiness? “Everyone reacts differently given skin color, texture and injection site. It is important you get a real expectation,” explains Dr. Hochstein, Dr. Board Certified Plastic Surgeon of over 20 years. Ms. Titova his trusted assistant, suggests taking Arnica tablets two days before treatment to reduce bruising at the injection site. Typically, “the actual injection feels like a small prick. It’s not deep like an injection at the doctor and the needles are smaller,” assures Titova. Dr. Hochstein also advises women to get their Botox done at a reputable MedSpa or plastic surgeons office administered by licensed professionals.

2. What will my results be like and how long will they last? 

Botox is expensive and often requires multiple injections to achieve your desired look. Every patient reacts differently to Botox, but on average, the results last 2 to 6 months, with 4 months being the average. The licensed professional administering your procedure should be able to gauge anticipated results depending on the area so you know what to expect before committing money and time. “Botox done to smooth deeper wrinkles like frown lines and crow’s feet often see them return within 4 months because it’s such a repeated expression,” explains Ms. Titova.

3. What is the best way to achieve a natural, smooth yet unfrozen look?

They key to a natural look is how much Botox is administered. You want to be clear that you are trying to rid wrinkles and/or lift brows without compromising your ability to express yourself. For example, if you're getting Botox for crow’s feet, the injection must target a specific area as not to disrupt the cheek movement. “When you’re starting out with any procedure it’s important to do it gradually and keep things as natural as possible. It’s very important to understand how the muscles in the face all connect and work together so you achieve the balance between smoothing wrinkles without compromising facial expression,” says Dr. Hochstein.

4. Your motivation/why you want Botox.

We all want to look our best however, exploring the motivation behind your decision matters. If you’re in your 20’s, are you trying to prevent wrinkles or are you obsessed with the smooth faces you see on Instagram? “We get a lot of models and social media influencers with millions of followers coming in for Botox, shares Dr. Hochstein. “They believe their livelihood requires them to maintain a perfect flawless complexion,” he adds. Older patients start with the smoothing of wrinkles, heightened brows, and lifted eyes, then add fillers and other procedures to the mix to achieve their desired outcome. 

5. How you will be charged.

Some doctors bill based on the region, while others charge based on the amount used. It's important to know an estimated cost before treatment. The average cost of Botox is between $300 and $900. Doctors in major cities with cosmetic surgeons who perhaps treat celebrities and socialites are good at what they do and their rates will reflect that. “When it comes to any procedure, you get what you pay for so it’s important to do your research,” advises Dr. Hochstein.

6. What areas of the face can be treated?

“Traditionally, Botox is used in the upper face to treat forehead wrinkles, frown wrinkles, and smile lines around the eyes. However, we can also use it to correct some lower face and neck concerns,” explains Ms. Titova.

7. Is Botox a good alternative to a face lift?

According to both Dr. Hochstein and Ms. Titova, Botox should not be thought of as a face lift alternative, but should be highly considered by a younger patient as a preventative treatment. Botox can be started as early as in your 20's to relax expression wrinkles. That way you can age gracefully without the need for a face lift later on.