How a Botox Brow Lift Can Change Your Face

If Botox brow lift before and after posts have you curious about the treatment, here are the answers to all your questions.

These days, declaring that you're going to get Botox is kind of like saying you're running to the grocery store. The injectable treatment has made a name for itself over the past two decades as a solution for reducing the appearance of existing wrinkles and preventing new ones from forming as well as various medical uses such as excessing sweating. It's so widespread, in fact, that botulinum toxin injections (which include the brand name Botox as well as injectables such as Dysport and Xeomin) were the most commonly administered cosmetic treatment of 2019 and 2020, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The versatility of Botox is probably a major reason it's so popular. When it comes to cosmetic uses alone, people rely on Botox for reducing forehead wrinkles, lifting the upper lip, or even creating a temporary brow lift. But what exactly is a Botox brow lift and what can one do for your face? Keep scrolling to find out more about the popular procedure.

First, What Is Botox, and How Does It Work?

You probably already know Botox can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It does this thanks to a protein called botulinum toxin, says John Layke, D.O., plastic surgeon and co-founder of Beverly Hills MD. When a provider injects small amounts into a muscle, the botulinum toxin temporarily prohibits muscle contraction. "These proteins work by blocking receptors that allow for muscle contraction to occur," explains Dr. Layke. That temporary paralysis of the muscle can prevent movement that causes the skin to crease, and as a result, Botox can contribute to the look of smoother skin and fewer or less pronounced wrinkles.

Botox treatments are not permanent, and results typically last three to four months. Since 2002, Botox has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cosmetic use for treating "crow's feet" (on the sides of eyes), forehead lines, or "11 lines" between the eyebrows. (That said, additional off-label uses are common, and many experts believe they're also safe.) Common side effects of Botox include bruising or swelling at the injection site, while rare side effects include temporary headaches or eyelid drooping that can last a few months.

So What Is a Botox Brow Lift?

Since Botox can temporarily pause your ability to contract a muscle, when injected into the forehead, it can slightly raise your eyebrows. For a Botox brow lift, "Botox is used to rebalance the forehead muscles to create a lifting effect to the brow," explains Dr. Layke. To create this effect, the doctor will use "a range of 20 to 30 units, which are placed in the central part (Glabella) between the eyes and along the brow in a specific pattern to get at least a 5 mm lift." Using Botox for the purpose of a brow lift is considered an "off-label" use of the injection, but is still a common practice among many credentialed injectors.

Lifting the brow is a common strategy for creating a youthful look, since the eyebrow can drift downward with age, as muscles stretch and skin loses some elasticity, according to Mount Sinai. At the same time, a brow lift can smoothen forehead wrinkles and make the eyes seem more awake. Injectors can use Botox or other botulinum toxin injections to create a temporary brow lift.

The Botox brow lift is less invasive than a surgical brow lift, which requires incisions and a week or more of downtime, according to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. On the other hand, a surgical brow lift can have a more dramatic effect because the surgeon can remove excess muscle and skin from the forehead area, which can ultimately make the skin on the forehead look tauter.

Can a Botox Brow Lift Go Wrong?

You may have seen someone online or on TV with an extremely lifted brow that creates a perpetually surprised look. If you're thinking of getting a brow lift but want to avoid that, make sure to check out before and after photos of clients your doctor has treated to get a sense of their work. "Typically, if placed incorrectly a common result leads to peaking of the outer brow, creating a 'Spock-like' look," says Dr. Layke.

If it's already too late for that, you're not necessarily out of luck. Injectors can remedy a Botox brow lift gone wrong by injecting "small amounts of additional Botox in the correct areas," says Dr. Layke. If the entire eyebrow is already lifted too high for your liking, there's unfortunately not much you can do. You'll just have to wait 10 to 12 weeks for the Botox to wear off and the eyebrows to fall back down again.

What Else You Should Know Before a Botox Brow Lift

If you're interested in the treatment, the best way to find out whether a Botox brow lift is right for you is to meet with an experienced, qualified injector. (A board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist are your best options, though other physicians can administer Botox after receiving training and so can registered nurses and physician's assistants in some states.) They can assess your brow shape in-office and let you know their predictions for how the injections will alter the appearance of your brows. Note the word "predictions," as even seasoned injectors can't say for certain how the results will show on your face.

Typically a brow lift with 20-30 units of Botox will cost about $350 to $500, says Dr. Layke. After you've been injected, you should start to notice the effects of Botox within the first 48 hours of treatment.

Whether you want to smooth forehead wrinkles, create more space between your eyebrows and your eyelids, or just want to look more awake, a Botox eyebrow lift might help you achieve your desired look. Just make sure to do your research and go to a provider who you trust.

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