Cosmetic surgery may seem everywhere in modern society, but this has not always been the case. In the year 2000, botulinum toxin injections, or Botox, were the fourth most popular minor procedure in North America. Throughout the year, there were only 786,911 procedures done. In 2018, though, Botox has skyrocketed to the top spot with nearly 7.5 million procedures done. The increasingly affordable injection continues to interest the aging population with 5,599,565 Botox patients between 30 and 54. Of that number, 4,228,531 were between 40 and 54.
Does this mean Botox is only for patients with wrinkles, though? Absolutely not. “Preventative cosmetic surgery” is a trend stemming from the 18 to 30 age group. Many believe that botox is saved for when a patient already has deep wrinkles and sagging skin. This emerging 18 to 30 age group, though, is using botox to prevent these signs of aging from ever appearing.
What is preventative Botox?
Botox, or botulinum toxin, is a type of neurotoxin that mildly paralyzes the muscles injected. While this may sound intimidating, Botox is an incredibly safe procedure in the hands of a trained surgeon. This toxin restricts the intended muscle from contracting, allowing it to relax and smooth wrinkles on the overlying skin. Botox is approved for use by patients 18 or older, a quality that is now being taken advantage of.
When used as preventative cosmetic surgery, Botox’s job is a little different. Preventative Botox specifically targets the muscles that move most often and cause wrinkles. This includes the muscles around the eyes, across the forehead, and at the sides of the mouth. Botox can “retrain [these] facial muscles”, according to dermatologist Doris Day. By restricting movement of certain muscles, Botox prevents muscles from moving in wrinkle-causing ways. This gives antagonizing muscles a chance to strengthen, allowing for facial structure to develop in wrinkle-free ways. Day comments that this leads to a better facial posture, or the natural resting position of the face. Overall, this preventative cosmetic surgery stops wrinkles from forming in the first place.
Can fillers be used in preventative cosmetic surgery?
Dermal fillers, often used to plump the look of lips or sunken cheeks, can also be used in preventative ways. The surprising part, though, is that they are most effective in an unintended way.
Brands like Juvederm are based around the injection of hyaluronic acid, a natural lubricant. The body naturally produces and uses hyaluronic acid in the joints, but fillers work in a different way. Hyaluronic acid as an injectable is prized for its ability to absorb large volumes of moisture, giving a plump look. It also produces a natural soft feeling, giving fillers a more authentic feel. It can be broken down with the enzyme hyaluronidase and then metabolized by the body, making it a convenient procedure. When used as preventative cosmetic surgery, though, Juvederm is prized for its ability to stimulate collagen production.
With age, skin begins to lose its natural elasticity. This is due to the weakening of fibroblasts in skin. Fibroblasts are the cells responsible for producing collagen, the substance that gives youthful skin a natural elasticity. When young, these cells are stretched into a long splat-like shape. With age, though, these cells begin to slacken and lose their form which reduces their ability to produce collagen. This is when skin begins to show fine lines and wrinkles, or even sag. Juvederm has been observed to stretch fibroblasts out into their original shapes, increasing natural collagen production. This maintains optimal collagen levels regardless of the patient’s age.
Can preventative cosmetic surgery completely stop wrinkles?
While preventative cosmetic surgery can prevent wrinkles, it can never truly stop wrinkles. Skin naturally wrinkles with exposure to UV rays, pollution in the air, and biological changes. Preventative cosmetic procedures are intended to prolong, rather than preserve, the look of youthful skin. The best way to prolong youthful skin in addition to preventative cosmetic procedures is to care for your skin.
Should you get preventative cosmetic surgery?
One of the most important things to remember is that not everyone needs preventative cosmetic surgery. For most individuals, wrinkles begin to take form in the mid-20s when fine lines start to appear. Depending on your lifestyle, though, you may find that fine lines or sagging skin begin later in life. Any procedures done before this point are unnecessary and are unlikely to provide the desired results.
If you’re interested and would like a professional opinion, feel free to book a consult with Lakeview Surgery Center. Between Dr. Guirguis and cosmetic nurse Ashley, the Lakeview team has well over a decade of experience with injectables. If you book a consult and find that preventative Botox or Juvederm is for you, then you’re in luck. Many of our minimally-invasive procedures are done in-office, here in beautiful Downtown Barrie.