Botox is still one of the most widely used and effective treatments for smoothing wrinkles. Unfortunately, it can’t treat all wrinkles, but you may be surprised to learn it can help much more than frown lines.
FDA Approved Areas for Botox
Botox first received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for treating frown lines. These are the “11’s” in between the eyebrows. More recently, it received approval to treat horizontal forehead lines and crow’s feet around the eyes too.
It’s no wonder Allergan, the maker of Botox, sought approval for these areas since these are the most commonly treated ones. Having FDA approval means that Botox was rigorously studied in these areas and showed that it works without a doubt.
You may be interested to know that FDA approval also allows the company to advertise treatment in those areas. Botox was used all the time to treat forehead lines before its FDA approval to treat them in October 2017, but the company could not run ads or promote this use to treating physicians before this time.
Other Facial Areas Where Botox is Used
As I mentioned, physicians injected Botox into forehead lines long before it was officially approved. Similarly, many other “off-label” areas of the face can be injected with great results.
Working from the top down, injecting Botox into the tail ends of the eyebrows lifts and arches them. While this is technically part of the crow’s feet area, it is a specialized approach.
When injected under the eyes, Botox opens and widens them.
A few drops on the sides of the nose softens bunny lines (the lines on the sides of your nose that appear when you scrunch), and when injected at the base of the nose, Botox actually raises the tip.
Botox around the mouth softens vertical lip lines and creates the lip flip.
We can even turn the corners of the mouth up with Botox using it to release downward muscle tension.
One of my favorite uses for Botox is to inject it in the chin to reduce the pebbled appearance that can develop with time.
Botox helps define the jawline in a procedure called the Nefertiti lift.
Botox is also great for reshaping the jawline in those who have a square face due to enlarged chewing muscles. Treatment changes the shape from square to oval. It may also help relieve symptoms of TMJ disorders.
Lastly, Botox can also lessen vertical bands and horizontal lines on the neck. While this is not technically the face, I think it counts 🙂
How Can Botox Help So Many Areas?
To understand why Botox benefits so many areas, we have to briefly review how Botox works. Botox blocks muscle activation and reduces the intensity of contraction of small facial muscles.
All of the areas listed above benefit from Botox because the wrinkles in those areas are due to underlying muscle contraction. For example, the “11 lines” in the frown form when the three muscles in that area contract. Similarly, the crow’s feet appear when the eye muscles are squeezed.
Areas Where Botox Cannot Be Injected
With all these areas that benefit from Botox, you may wonder if there is anything Botox can’t do!
Unfortunately, Botox cannot improve the “parentheses” or “marionette lines” (the nasolabial folds and melomental folds). These are the wrinkles that go from the corner of the nose and the corner of the mouth.
Sometimes, too, Botox is not enough to reduce a line all by itself. For example, if a frown line is really deep and etched into the skin, a filler like Juvederm may need to be used in combination with Botox.
Lastly, if placed incorrectly, Botox can lead to an odd appearance. If not injected carefully in treating the crow’s feet, for example, an eyebrow may arch quizzically or the smile may become asymmetrical. Smiles can also be affected when turning up the corners of the mouth.
For these reasons, start conservatively, especially if you’re getting these areas treated for the first time. You can always add more.