Your Guide To Baby Botox

When the FDA approved Botox in 2002, it was a game changer (via Botox). People who once had to turn to facelifts and other invasive cosmetic surgeries had a simpler option for getting rid of wrinkles that just involved a couple of little injections. In time, Botox (Botulinum toxin) was also found to have medical properties as well, including helping with migraines and tension headaches, and it's even able to stop excessive sweating. For many, it was — and is — a miracle solution to the effects of time and debilitating headaches.


But while Botox garnered fans all over the world, not everyone was into the look in which their face didn't move at all, essentially making them expressionless. It was then that plastic surgeons realized there was an alternative to the usual Botox treatment, which they've dubbed "baby Botox."

"When most people say 'Baby Botox,' they are referring to lower doses than typically administered, almost like a starter dose for someone who is not sure if they want it yet or need it or for someone who is looking to start preventive treatments," double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Shafer, MD, FACS, tells Women's Health. "Essentially, 'Baby Botox' is a lower dose than standard, and there are some preventive effects but also positive effects on the skin — just not full effect with standard dosing."


If you love the look of Botox but wish it weren't so intense, here's your guide to baby Botox.

Baby Botox is more natural looking

Despite the fact that celebrities continue to go under the knife to look as though they're made of plastic instead of flesh and blood, a lot of us non-celebrities who aren't in the public eye would rather opt for a more realistic look. This is especially relevant as the "au natural" trend, like women not shaving their armpits or legs, has come into the fold in recent years.


"I think the trend within the aesthetics industry has shifted towards a more natural look," plastic surgeon Dr. Ashwin Soni tells Harper's Bazaar UK. "Patients come to me for natural-looking results, and so 'baby Botox' is the way I do Botox in most patients, depending on their aesthetic goals."

Not everyone wants to be expressionless, so for those people, baby Botox is a great alternative to that Hollywood-approved look that will leave you looking and feeling a little plastic.

It has fewer side effects

According to the Mayo Clinic, possible side effects of Botox include pain around the injection site, burning and tearing of the eyes, flu-like symptoms, drooping eyelids and/or eyebrows, and even a crooked smile that can lead to drooling — the latter two of which can be blamed on people injecting Botox without a real understanding of how the muscles work, where they are, and how they affect each other. In rare cases, Botox side effects can also result in vision and breathing problems, difficulty speaking or swallowing, muscle weakness, and an effect on bladder control.


But with baby Botox, because the dose is so much lower, the possibility of side effects and the extent of the side effects themselves are decreased. As a result, those who have had adverse effects to a full dose of Botox in the past now have an option that will minimize any side effects, putting fears of those side effects to bed. 

It's best for younger patients

Unfortunately, we live in a very youth-obsessed culture. If you look at Hollywood, once a woman turns 30 the only role left for her to play is the mother to someone in their 20s. Once a woman is 40? Well, she might as well leave town or get ready to play a grandmother in every movie she does going forward. It's because of this obsession with youth that people are getting Botox younger and younger. For some, it helps with migraines and tension headaches, while for others they just want to get on the Botox bandwagon. 


"[Baby Botox] works best for younger patients, or patients who have less defined/etched lines," board-certified dermatologist Jennifer Chwalek, MD, tells Byrdie.

Although people can get Botox once they're 18, most experts agree that if it's to be used for preventative measures, late 20s to early 30s is a good time to start, per Pure Aesthetics.

You can still move your face

If you've ever been out with a friend who, when angry or surprised or even sad, couldn't show the expressions on their face, then you know that too much Botox can look strange. While the point of Botox is to numb the muscles to prevent fine lines and wrinkles, when it's overdone, someone can seem almost lifeless — we have emotions and facial expressions for a reason, after all.


"The secret to effective 'baby Botox' is to inject smaller doses in each treatment area, and to distribute the doses more widely with additional injection points," Dr. Ashwin Soni tells Harper's Bazaar UK. "Administering a larger dose in fewer areas can 'freeze' the forehead by blocking the muscle in a heavier way."

While there are people who like the "frozen" look, for others who would like those around them to know when they're upset or confused, or a whole other list of emotions, baby Botox might be the solution. 

It keeps new wrinkles away

One of the best things about Botox is that not only does it get rid of current wrinkles, but it's preventative in keeping new wrinkles from popping up. Although the doses are smaller with baby Botox (usually 10 units instead of 25, for example), it can keep wrinkles from ever appearing if injected in the right spots. 


"Baby Botox is designed for patients who are on the younger end of the spectrum of Botox users who wish to prevent the formation of wrinkles," board-certified plastic surgeon Melissa Doft tells Allure

Although laugh lines and crow's feet can have their charm, as they're proof of a well-lived life with lots of laughter, they can take a toll on the face over time. That's why baby Botox is especially geared toward younger patients to help them get ahead of any impending wrinkles. However, older patients who don't have a lot of wrinkles — yet — can also benefit from baby Botox. 

It's good for jaw tension

Because Botox numbs the muscles to prevent wrinkles, in doing so, it allows the muscles to relax — that's why it's so great for tension headaches. It just puts at ease all those muscles that we tend to tense up when we're stressed or even just staring at the computer.


"As a side effect of this, we noticed that these muscles relaxing gives the jawline a V-shape and actually slims the face," facial aesthetics specialist Pamela Benito, DDS, MSc, tells Byrdie.

Although this is a great side effect for aesthetic reasons, if you're someone who grinds their teeth at night or clenches their jaw throughout the day, especially when you're stressed out, this can do wonders for your teeth. Excessive grinding not only damages the enamel and flattens molars, but can also lead to chipping and fracturing of the teeth, as well as tooth and jaw pain, according to the Mayo Clinic.

It's not for everyone

Like all procedures, as much as there are so many advantages to baby Botox, it's not a fit for everyone. For example, those who already have a lot of wrinkles — no matter their age — aren't very likely to reap the benefits of baby Botox.


"The lower dose of Botox may not remove all of the lines," Melissa Doft tells Allure. "Sometimes patients will try the lower dose first, and if in two weeks they do not see enough improvement, we will invite them back to have the full dose."

While there will always be those who say that getting old is a privilege — and it is! — there will also be those who, although they agree, just don't want the proof of it on their face. That's the cool thing about autonomy: You can do you, while other people can do their own thing, too. If you want to get baby Botox to minimize your wrinkles or even get the full dose so your face ceases to move, that's your decision and anyone who tries to talk you out of it might need to learn the lovely proverb: "Live and let live."