Should You or Shouldn't You?
Top docs debate the pros and cons of popular anti-aging treatments
The Pros: With Botox procedures becoming ever more common, this is clearly the era of the fret-free brow. "Botox can soften current wrinkles and prevent future wrinkles," says Wu. "A study this past October even showed that botulinum toxin increases collagen production." Approved for cosmetic use since 2002 (and for treating certain nerve disorders in children since 1989), Botox is now injected to flatten crow's feet, slim the lower jaw, and lift the neck.
The Cons: It's possible for Botox to migrate to an area of the face that wasn't injected. Dr. Wu explains, "It takes about four hours for Botox to bind to muscle after injection." Other potential side effects may also cause you to frown. They include ptosis (eye droop), an overly arched look to the brows, and bunny lines (telltale lines on either side of the nose) because, well, your muscles have to contract somewhere. Avoiding problems can come down to doctor expertise, says Peredo. But can repeatedly atrophying a muscle, as Botox injections do, eventually cause sagging? "Yes," says Connecticut-based Dr. Nicholas Perricone, one of the few derms not in favor of injecting the toxin. Indeed, a study in the Journal of Biomechanics showed that repeated injections of Botox may cause muscles to atrophy and turn to fat, leading to skin sag. Equally disturbing, this effect may migrate to other muscle groups, not just affecting the part of the body that was treated.
The Bottom Line: If you feel that Botox may be a good option for you, say, you want to soften your "11 lines" (the vertical divots between your eyebrows), then do your homework. Ask for recommendations, read reviews and pick a board-certified dermatologist who is conservative in the amount of product he or she injects. You can always add more, but if you're treated with too much, you'll have to wait months for the Botox to wear off.