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I have Botox, and now I have Baby Botox. I’m more than happy to admit that I give nature a helping hand. I was curious to try Botox a few years ago, loved the results, and have had it a handful of times since. Traditional Botox smoothes out unwanted lines in about 10 days, and there is minimal pain. It is a bit pricey to have done, but you get quick results. My love affair with Botox changed, though, after a particularly stressful Southern Rail journey. I disembarked the train, checked my makeup, and realized in the 45 minutes it had taken me to travel from East Croydon to Haywards Heath I had been joined by a particularly aggressive frown line. I booked in for a treatment pronto and decided to have a little more than I’d had before.
A few weeks later, a very close friend called to tell me she was pregnant to which, of course, I was elated—and animatedly so. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my other half looking at me with a curious, and then quite angry, expression. When I finally hung up, he pounced, “You’ve had Botox? Haven’t you?” While I don’t disclose to him every treatment I book in for, I’m not going to lie. “Yes,” I said. To which he retorted, “Your eyes look mental!” And, if I’m honest, peering into a mirror later that evening, I noticed they didn’t look like my eyes—too smooth and wide, even when I tried to squint. That’s when I went in search of something a little more discreet and discovered Baby Botox. It’s the treatment that, now having experienced it, I’m convinced every A-lister is onto. It leaves your complexion looking fresher and smoother but with totally natural movement (key for any actress). Now it’s marketed as the entry-level Botox treatment, like riding a bike with stabilizers or swimming with water wings, but it has some surprising uses as well. Needless to say, I won’t be going back to the classic any time soon.
Keep reading to learn what experts have to say about Baby Botox.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Pamela Benito, DDS, MSc, is a facial aesthetics specialist with over 10 years of experience. She is based in London.
Dr. Jennifer Chwalek, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology.
What is Baby Botox?
Your gut response to those words together might have been confusion. Botox for babies? Don't worry, that's not what we're talking about here. Instead, it's simply a smaller amount of Botox. There's no shame in getting any kind of Botox, traditional or Baby Botox. But if you're looking to dip your toes into a more natural look, you might want to know more about this treatment. Dr. Jennifer Chwalek explains that since there is no standard definition of what a baby size is, the name refers to "a micro-droplet technique of injection fewer units more precisely and superficially to give a more natural and even look."
When performing Baby Botox, dermatologists don't completely relax the muscle. This makes it so your face still has flexibility.
Benefits of Baby Botox
- More natural appearance
- Fewer side effects than regular Botox
- Retain facial movement
- Prevent wrinkle formation
- Release tension in jaw
Baby Botox is spread across the face in smaller amounts, and may be best suited for people who want to get a head start on anti-aging measures or those who have lighter lines. While Baby Botox is a great entry-level treatment, Dr. Benito explains, “It’s also for anyone who doesn’t want a heavy look.”
Dr. Chwalek says that Baby Botox "works best for younger patients, or patients who have less defined/etched lines." So if you have deeper lines, you may want to go with the usual Botox. Baby Botox might not give the desired results if you have deeper lines, but always check with your doctor.
Another benefit of Baby Botox is that it can also be used in more areas of the face and body than the traditional-strength treatment. “Baby Botox can be focused into the usual areas where you would have traditional Botox, the frown lines, forehead and crow’s feet, but Baby Botox can also be used to give a lot of areas a little lift and tighten,” says Dr. Pamela Benito, DDS, MSc.
How to Prepare for Baby Botox
First, you should know what you're getting into. "As with any cosmetic treatment, it is important to discuss your individual concerns and goals with your doctor prior to any treatment," says Chwalek. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have, and make sure they tell you exactly where they plan to administer the Botox. Ask to see a portfolio of before-and-after images to ensure that you actually like their work. And it's probably a good idea to skip heavy makeup on the day of your appointment.
What to Expect During a Baby Botox Treatment
"The process is the same as regular botox injections," says Chwalek. "The only real difference is the amount used and possibly the number of total injections."
"The idea is that we don't completely relax the muscle so that there is no movement (ie.frozen), but instead weaken it enough so that it doesn't contract with the same intensity (resulting in a smoother appearance of any facial lines). Rather than look completely frozen, there is still some natural facial expression," she adds.
Baby Botox vs. Botox
You might be surprised to learn that it isn't a different formula in Baby Botox. Both treatments use the same strength of botulinum toxin, but a far more delicate approach is taken when it comes to administering Baby Botox. “You’re trying to have a very natural, not frozen, result. It prevents wrinkles, but you’ll still have movement,” explains Benito. “It acts like a little complexion freshener. “
“When it comes to the lower third of the face, you have to be more careful and use less,” Benito says.
And this is where Baby Botox really comes into play. “You can use it to treat the Marionette lines around the mouth which can make you look sad. The bunny lines on the nose. It can treat smoker’s lines, or, in older women, it can even be used to tighten the chin,” explains Benito.
And it’s not just the face where Baby Botox can be employed. “We can use it on the neck to lift, on the décolletage to tighten any fine lines, and under the arms to prevent sweating,” adds Benito.
Baby Botox can be injected into the muscles where your jaw joins your skull to prevent clenching and grinding of the teeth. This means that Baby Botox can be helpful for people who are looking to address jaw pain and pressure. “As a side effect of this, we noticed that these muscles relaxing gives the jawline a V-shape and actually slims the face,” Dr. Benito told me. Win, win.
Most surprisingly, Dr. Benito revealed that Baby Botox can be injected into the gums to drop the lip and conceal a gummy-looking smile. Be aware that if you want to explore the lesser-known uses for Baby Botox, you need to visit a professional with plenty of experience, as there can be complications injecting in the lower part of the face.
Potential Side Effects
The side effects of both types of Botox are pretty similar. While already a generally safe experience, Baby Botox has even fewer side effects than regular treatments. These can include bruising around the injection sites, asymmetrical results, and more.
"Like regular botox injections, there is always a risk of potentially dropping the brow or eyelid ptosis if the injection is placed incorrectly or if it migrates. However, this is less of a risk with 'baby' botox since less units are being used (so it is less likely that it would be enough to fully relax a muscle," says Chwalek. Overall, the side effects should be fairly minor.
The cost can also be similar for Baby Botox, because you are paying for the experience of the practitioner as well as the product. "Sometimes botox is charged by the unit and sometimes by the area," says Chwalek. "Depending on the practitioner, it may cost the same or may be slightly less. It doesn't always cost less because it still requires in-depth knowledge of anatomy and the skill of knowing how much to inject and where."
Baby Botox with Benito starts at $268.
Traditional Botox lasts around four to five months, while Baby Botox lasts three months (longevity can change from person to person). Personally, I find that I only need to have treatment once a year. “This makes sense,” says Dr. Benito. “If your muscles are not able to frown for a few months, you’re essentially re-educating them. Once the Botox wears off, it will take a while for your muscles to start moving again as they once did.”
Benito sees Baby Botox as a real preventative measure, one that she hasn’t had to resort to yet (she has the smoothest forehead). So what’s her secret? “I’ve been using sunscreen daily since my early 20s, and I have never had Botox in my forehead. Even if you drink plenty of water and use good skincare, it’s the sunblock that makes the difference. You won’t see it now, but come your late 30s and 40s, that’s when the damage from the past 20 years shows up.”
As well as sunscreen (SPF 50), Dr. Benito recommends using a vitamin C serum and hydrating moisturizer daily. Here are our top picks including the best lightweight SPF 50 that won't aggravate or clog sensitive or spot-prone skins.
The Final Takeaway
Baby Botox is a fantastic option for those who are just starting out with Botox or who want a more natural-looking result. If you have shallow lines or want to prevent wrinkles down the line, it could be the perfect procedure for you. The downtime is limited, and you don't need to do much in order to prepare or to recover.