In a world of grooming game-changers, Botox may truly be one of the best. Often confused with fillers, which merely provide structural support that fill in the space beneath wrinkles, Botox’s claim to fame is its ability to go a step beyond by relaxing the facial muscles that cause the wrinkle to form in the first place.
Botox is the brand name of one of the first so-called neuromodulators to hit the market back in 2002. It contains Botulinum toxin-A (a neurotoxin), which was approved by the FDA to reduce wrinkles on the face, primarily forehead frown lines that have the nasty tendency to give away both our age and anxiety levels. And as a growing number of guys are realizing their skincare products can only deliver so much, Botox for men has never been more in demand.
While some have lauded Botox as a miracle, there are plenty who claim it robs the face of genuine expression or results in a permanently surprised look, especially around the eyes. Which is why if you’re thinking of getting Botox, you’ll want to keep reading, as we’ve reached out to two of the best in the business—Konstantin Vasyukevitch, MD, a leading facial plastic surgeon based in New York City, and board-certified physician Azza Halim, MD—to get to the bottom of Botox for men and how to do it the right way.
Meet the Expert
Why Men Might Consider Botox
“The popularity of Botox for men is on the rise,” Vasyukevitch says, as men are specifically looking to do away with the deep lines and wrinkles that make the face appear older. Halim agrees, chalking up the use of Botox to a confidence boost. “Many men feel that maintaining a youthful appearance helps them feel better on Zoom meetings and gain a competitive edge in the workplace as well as the social scene,” she says.
As an anti-aging treatment, Botox is in a class of its own, with both immediate and long-term results that include smoother skin, a reduction in lines and wrinkles, and—over time—the prevention of new lines and wrinkles.
When it comes to seeing a noticeable difference, the results of Botox are undeniable—that is, when it’s done correctly. And if you’re worried about looking like you got Botox, you don’t need to. “The goal is to relax facial muscles without over-freezing, so that one maintains a soft expression, thereby giving results that look natural,” Halim says.
Do Men Require More Botox Than Women?
While gendered skincare has no real credence, Vasyukevich explains that men typically require more Botox than women to achieve the same result. In men, the tissue of the face is usually heavier, which causes the muscles used to make facial expressions to become stronger. Strong muscles, in turn, lead to deeper, more pronounced wrinkles, and both of these factors can affect the amount of Botox needed for a treatment. Bigger and stronger muscles require a larger amount of Botox to achieve the same muscle-relaxing effect. The treatment of deeper lines also takes more Botox because it requires the muscles to be completely paralyzed, rather than partially, in order to achieve the desired smoothing effect.
Where Is Botox Injected?
Both doctors say the most common area guys seeking Botox wanted to address was the glabellar forehead lines, otherwise known as the “11” lines that form between the eyebrows. After that, it’s horizontal forehead lines and crow's feet. Halim mentions that even though Botox for men is typically kept to the top third of the face, she’s seeing more and more men seeking injections along the chin (for smoothing), jawline (for slimming), and perioral area (to lift and decrease fine lines).
How Much Does Botox for Men Hurt?
In theory, Botox shouldn’t really hurt that much, because you’re not actually injecting very much into the skin, as you would with an injectable filler. “The truth of the matter is that Botox injections are virtually painless, especially when using a very fine needle, and the procedure is relatively quick," Halim says. “However, we will often offer topical numbing or ice to the area beforehand."
In practice, as someone who’s had his fair share of Botox injections, I agree, for the most part, with Halim. Numbing cream makes a huge difference, and the pain amounts to little more than a quick prick. If it’s your first time, you’ll probably find that your senses are a bit heightened as a syringe repeatedly comes at your face, but the more you relax and let the doctor do their work, the faster and easier it’ll pass.
What Are the Side Effects?
The bulk of the side effects of Botox for men comes down to the care and technique of the injector, Halim says. Side effects can include lid ptosis (eye dropping), heavy eyebrows, and drooling (after cases in which Botox has been injected around the lips), all of which are not typical and can result from over-treatment or having been injected by someone without a proper understanding of facial anatomy. She also said allergic reactions are highly uncommon. The moral of the story is: Always seek out treatment from an experienced professional and discuss your concerns beforehand.
Who Should Be Injecting Botox?
Both doctors are adamant about credentials. Vasyukevich recommends seeking out a practitioner with either a medical degree, or an RN or PA that’s closely supervised by a physician. “Getting your Botox injections with a person of questionable credentials could not only lead to poor results but might also endanger your health,” he says. He also advises considering a practitioner whose practice is solely dedicated to plastic surgery and cosmetic injections. And with Botox for Men signs going up at barber shops all over the country lately, this means avoiding backroom Botox at all costs.
How Much Does Botox Cost?
The price of Botox varies, and often depends on the region you’re in as well as the experience and qualifications of the practitioner. Using New York City as a standard, Vasyukevich says the cost of Botox for men could run anywhere from $500 to $1,000 a treatment. However, some practitioners offer Botox by the unit, priced at around $15–$18 per unit.
What Kind of Maintenance Is Involved?
While Botox can deliver amazing results in a relatively short time, it’s not a one-stop shop, as results usually last between 3–4 months. The good news is that Botox used regularly can have long-term effects. Vasyukevich explains that once the muscle is relaxed, the overlying skin will regenerate, smoothing the wrinkle out. However, Halim advises reevaluating your situation with each appointment to ensure your injections are properly positioned. “When you weaken one muscle, then the unopposed muscle takes over, hence the need to balance the muscles properly to avoid undesirable results and also to determine which muscles truly need to be injected.”
The Bottom Line
If you’re a skincare junkie who’s ticking off all the right boxes when it comes to skin health (we’re talking about sunscreen here) and looking to take on those bothersome wrinkles with a little more gusto, Botox might be right up your alley. Just remember, even though Botox for men is considered non-invasive, this is still an area in which you definitely don’t want to cut any corners.
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Botulinum Toxin.