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Injections: They're a popular topic and yet still shrouded in mystery and a veritable amount of secrecy. Most of us venture to a consultation or decide against them without actually knowing much information—how much they cost, what to expect during an appointment, or what the results will be. Because we're not willing to openly and freely discuss it (or have been taught not to), more often than not these conversations occur through a series of unanswered questions. Like sexual education, relying on abstinence is never going to be enough. We want to feel confident, look good, and make our own choices, and as such, that often leads to investing in modern skincare techniques.
So the question remains: Why do we still feel shame when discussing this topic? Figuring out an answer quite honestly has more to do with examining our sexist, ageist, and Photoshop-obsessed culture than that it does questioning the vanity (and validity) of those who partake.
So let's talk about it, shall we? And before we do, let's also get one thing out of the way—I've had Botox. And it was free. As a result, I've found myself trying to field questions about the price and popularity of certain treatments, and many times my knowledge on the subject comes up short. To remedy that fact, I decided to do some research into the real, unexaggerated pricing for injections and what each formula and technique will actually do to your face. Below find the answers you may have been looking for but didn't feel comfortable asking.
What Is Botox?
A neurotoxin used in cosmetic procedures to treat signs of aging. When injected into facial muscles, it temporarily paralyzes them.
How Much Does Botox Cost?
"There is a difference in pricing based on the duration of the results," says L.A.-based injection specialist Lisa Goodman. (FYI: She's incredible, and I emphatically recommend seeing her if you're in L.A. or Dara Liotta, MD, if you're in NYC.) "The longer-lasting formulas cost more upfront."
Robert Anolik, a board-certified, cosmetic dermatologist explains, "The cost for these types of treatments is widely variable, as every patient needs different amounts and in different areas. It could be a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. For example, a patient may have deepened nasolabial folds (smile lines) requiring multiple syringes of Restylane Defyne. Or a patient could need a subtle lift with a small amount of Restylane-Lyft in the cheeks and mid-face. I find many of my patients will come in consistently for Dysport (Dysport spreads out a bit more, so you're able to get a better global balancing, whereas Botox has a little more of an isolated effect) every three to four months on average, and then we will review what might be needed among the fillers. Often more syringes of filler may be needed at first and then we can maintain over time."
How Many Units Are Used Per Treatment?
Units required may vary depending on the treatment selected, but frown lines, for example, can require up to five units. Forehead botox may require up to 20 units.
He continues, "The price per vial or for entire treatment varies based on practice style. At my practice, we do charge a fee per unit of Dysport and per syringe of Restylane. Some respectable cosmetic dermatology practices around the country may have a fee per treatment instead."
How is Cost Determined?
"The cost for a procedure depends on two main factors," explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. "First, different products cost different amounts because of the technology that goes into their manufacturing. In addition, the cost depends on the fee of the injector. If you are seeing a sought-after, skilled injector, you may be paying a premium for that treatment. Especially when getting injectable fillers, your treatment is dependent on the skill and aesthetic of your injector. I do not recommend compromising here or purchasing a deal on websites like Groupon."
"The difference between using a cannula and a 'needle injection' technique is cannulas are a blunt tip needle that lets us place filler on a plane that allows it to last longer," explains Goodman. "They look better and preserve the 'untouched look' we're known for. Also, it's a more advanced technique that ensures the patient will not leave the office bruised."
"Neurotoxins and facial fillers are my most popular injectable treatments," notes Zeichner. "Neurotoxins like Botox and Dysport relax muscles under the skin that can lead to folding and lines, specifically frown lines between the eyebrows. Facial fillers are my favorite cosmetic procedure in the office—there's really an art to it. I exclusively use hyaluronic acid fillers because they are safe and long-lasting."
How Long Does It Last?
Goodman explains, "Shorter-term fillers can last from six to 11 months based on the patient's rate of aging (i.e., smoking, drinking, sun exposure, genetics), while the longer-term fillers last about one to two years."