5 Long-Term Effects of Botox You Didn't Know About

Amanda Montell
PHOTO:

Win McNamee/Getty

The Short of It:

  • Dermatologists agree that when used "appropriately and timely," there should be no negative long-term effects of Botox use.
  • In some cases, though, visible thinning of the skin, discolouration, or a "wavy" skin texture can occur.
  • There are also benefits to long-term Botox use, such as training of the muscles not to contract in wrinkle-forming ways and an overall brightening of the skin.

The Long of It:

Ever since the invention of Botox in the 1980s, women (and dudes) everywhere have been dabbling in the magic elixir to cheat the ageing process—aesthetically, at least. Of course, Botox is not literally a magic elixir, but instead a neurotoxin that temporarily "prevents the communication between your nerves and your muscle," explains Mara Weinstein, MD, a dermatologist at the Schweiger Dermatology Group. In other words, Botox paralyses the injected muscle, usually for a period of three to six months. "Therefore, if you try to frown, you won’t be able to, which is not a bad thing," says Weinstein, who adds that some studies have actually shown that regular treatments with the neurotoxin can enhance mood and fight depression.

For anti-ageing purposes specifically, doctors use Botox to treat two types of wrinkles: static and dynamic. Static lines are the deep wrinkles that are etched into people's faces after several decades of frowning, smiling, and raising their eyebrows, while dynamic wrinkles are only visible as you're making a facial expression. "The goal of treatment is to prevent the formation of static lines altogether," Weinstein says. "However, if you already have static lines, regular treatments with neurotoxin (and filler) can certainly soften the appearance and in some cases, eliminate them in the long run."

Here's the thing, though: Because the drug has only been around for 30 years, there aren't a lot of stories about the long-term effects of Botox. Which are legitimate concerns. To find answers, we consulted Weinstein, as well as the legendary dermatological surgeon Patricia Wexler, MD. Curious about the effects that Botox can have on your skin after 10 or more years of use? Just keep scrolling.

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